Something happened recently at Kibuye, and it occurs to me that while there has likely been passing mention of it here and there, we have yet to celebrate it here on our blog. It is a big deal. Our team settled here in Kibuye with the goal to replace themselves with competent and compassionate African specialists. In summary, the team goal is to work themselves out of a job. While this may seem easy enough to a person reading this from the US, it is in fact an enormous challenge. Burundi has not had in recent years residency programs to train specialists. This translates into a country with far too few specialist physicians in all fields. On top of that, for those few specialists, there is a great deal of pressure to remain in the capital, Bujumbura. A small percentage of our graduating medical students are able to get into residency programs in other African countries. But the next questions is, would any of them return to to work in rural Burundi?
A few months ago, two of our former medical students who had gone abroad for specialty training returned to work full time at Kibuye. That means that for the first time since this hospital opened in the 1930s, we have hired our very first Burundian specialists. It has been a great joy to work alongside Dr. Alliance Niyukuri, our newest general surgeon, and Dr. Tony Van Mugisha, our second ophthalmologist. To take the enormity of this news one step further, Dr. Tony was born at Kibuye!
It is difficult to express in words how important this was for our team, and for the future of the hospital. Both of these men are outstanding physicians, who are able to connect with our patients in a way that none of us are able to. They are compassionate, intelligent, diligent and an absolute pleasure to work alongside day after day. It has also been a joy to welcome Alliance’s family, his wife Cynthia and his two daughters to live alongside our team.
While we hope and pray that this trend continues, and that in the coming years we are able to welcome more African specialists from various fields, for now we are simply celebrating God’s faithfulness. He has done and is doing a good work here at Kibuye. Some days I forget that this is true, but then I look across the drape in the OR and see Alliance operating, and I am reminded of just how good He is.