Farewell, First Students!

by Rachel

About 25 months ago, we started work at Kibuye Hope Hospital for the first time.  Looking back, I’m pretty sure I didn’t have much of a clue what I was doing.  I didn’t know where to find things, how to get things done, who anyone was...and certainly not how to educate medical students in French.  But, despite that, one week after our start date at Kibuye, our first medical students arrived.  This was their very first clinical rotation.  Many didn’t know how to use a stethoscope, and when I asked if they had questions they wondered if I could teach them how to take a blood pressure.  I didn’t know how to say 50% of what I needed to say and when I’d try out a new medical term, they had no idea if it was a real word or not!  It was so, so basic.  I think those first three months we learned a lot from each other.  And at the end of their time with us, it was fun to see how much they had grown and learned.  I guess I had grown and learned a lot as well.

Fast forward two years, and this past week the same class was saying goodbye to Kibuye.  They came up once in 2015 as well (Eric and I were in the US though and missed seeing them) and now were spending their last 3 month block at Kibuye.  It was a pleasure to see students again and remember names.  It was nice to watch them care for patients in a competent manner and complete tasks they couldn’t have 2 years ago.  The longitudinal education we can provide here is actually really encouraging for me.  

The students threw us a goodbye/thank you party as they got ready to leave on Wednesday night.  They’re heading back to Bujumbura for the last 11 months before graduation, finishing classes and rotations, developing research projects, writing and defending theses, before hopefully graduating this December.  We enjoyed a delicious meal, kind speeches, lots of pictures, and several fun musical numbers performed by the class.  In my experience, Africans seem to do a good job “appreciating” people, and we felt very appreciated.

I am excited to see where this class goes in the next years.  It would be great to welcome some back to Kibuye as interns or doctors.  They will always have a special place in my heart as our very first HAU class.

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