6 months later

(By Alyssa)

I returned to Burundi this month after six months of "home assignment." I'm thankful for the sweet times with family and friends, the continuing education opportunities, the fundraising God enabled me to do, and the creature comforts of life in a more developed place. But I was definitely happy to return to my Burundi home! And I was enthusiastically welcomed back by the team:

Six months is a time period that feels both short and long. I wondered what Burundi would look like on my return. Well, except for some new traffic lights (!) in Bujumbura, things looked about the same - until I got to Kibuye! I thought you might be interested in what has changed here in just 6 months (lots of pictures to follow):
 The biggest change is the beautiful new surgical building which opened shortly after I left in July.

New minor OR for wound care, etc. - a huge improvement over the old space! 
Surgical ward with unique new bed design with privacy curtains
Surgical ward nursing station

And as we enter the season of respiratory infections, it makes such a difference to have this new oxygen concentrator. For the first time we have wall oxygen in the NICU and in other key places in the hospital - life saving treatment!
We're not quite ready to begin construction on this new 80 bed pediatric ward, but in the meantime, renovations of existing space have increased our bed count just in time for the rainy (malaria) season.
New temporary pediatric ward
Renovated pediatric room to open soon
 Now that surgery patients have a new building, internal medicine has renovated their old space - new ceiling, beds, windows, etc. Previously one of their patient rooms (for 5 patients) had no windows at all - which meant it was pitch black even in the middle of the day when the power was out! So this is a great improvement!
New internal medicine call room
New internal medicine work space and nursing office
 Physical therapy has a newly renovated space, too, complete with equipment for helping patient rehabilitation. 

And new patient showers and toilets
There are lots of solar panels around now including this one for heating water in the laundry. And more solar panels will be coming soon to improve our electricity! 
Infrastructure is absolutely essential! Here's our new water reservoirs hooked up to the second well  providing water for the hospital. These tanks hold 100,000 liters of water! 
Even the emergency department got a makeover with new curtains, paint, cupboards, etc. 
New isolation ward mostly for tuberculosis patients
Isolation ward
New landscaping by our second ophthalmology building which opened shortly before I left
 And the residential area is expanding, too. Above is Caleb and Krista Fader's newly completed house and below is Logan and Julie Banks' house under construction. 

But six months doesn't just bring many new buildings/renovations, but also brings new babies like these sweet boys. Francine (left) helps clean and cook for me 3 days per week, so I now have a pack n' play set up for her baby in my dining room - not that I've figured out how to assemble the pack n' play (I think you need an engineering degree for that!) 

 And all the kids have definitely grown - above the middle schoolers have kindly volunteered to teach preschool in the afternoons to these 4 year olds
And the guinea pigs have grown, too ;) 
It's fun to participate in chapel again at Kibuye Hope Academy on Fridays - though we're missing friends from last year and paradoxically also thankful to have new kids here this year
Medical students have definitely made progress. Above are four successful thesis presentations from last week. These students have come a long way as we've seen them from the beginning of their clinical years until now. They'll graduate next month! And in general, the quality of theses has improved over the last couple years. 

And finally, team life is both different and the same each season. As I said above, we both miss teammates who are now in the States and are thankful for new and returning ones. There's a new book for book study and different special imported treats (thanks, Miller family, for the cheese and crackers!), but the general rhythms remain the same. It's a joy to walk through the ups and downs of this Burundi life together! 


Phyllis said...

God bless you all! What wonders God is enabling you to do for people He loves.

Phyllis said...

You are in my prayers and I love you like family!

Rebekah said...

This was exciting to see! Praise God for the growth seen in the six months you were gone!

Cindy said...

Wow! What wonderful growth!! Loved all our HMA fun and am so grateful for your Burundi family, ministry and supports.

Heidi said...

Wow! 6 months brought lots of changes. Praying for your smooth transition back to Burundi!

DrsMyhre said...

Alyssa love the perspective, very similar to what I've been seeing the last couple days, the day to day can be so hard but if you can get a 6-month arc it's amazing. Your team has really brought Kibuye a long way. Well, I know God has done it all, but your team has been God's hands. Thanks.