Dating Dictionary for Kibuye Couples

by Krista

1)  “Home Date” – You feed and put the kids to bed early, dress up, light some candles, turn on some music, and eat dinner and dessert together - just the two of you. I would say this is, by far, the most common form of dating in Kibuye. Even though you have to make the meal yourself, it usually is at least an attempt at something fancy. Personally, I have learned how to make all kinds of different food (albeit, with some serious failures) that I would have never learned how to make if take-out from a restaurant was an option! “Home dates” have definitely helped me to expand my cooking skillZ. Caleb and I have a reoccurring home date every Thursday night where he destroys me in darts. 

McLaughlins at Home

Rachel's homemade Mango Sticky Rice in homemade Carved Bamboo Bowls (by teammate Carlan)

Watts at home (don't worry, Susan is taking the picture)

Us at Home

Sample Meal #1: Fresh Spring Rolls, Crab(less) Rangoon, Dumplings

Sample Meal #2: Ethiopian: one of our favorites

Sample Meal #3: Vietnamese Banh Mi Sanwiches

Thursday Darts: Bullseye!

Caleb Wins (Again)

2)  “Date Run” – I need to include this in here because it is a thing. Even though Jason and Heather are the only ones I’ve ever heard of taking a date run, it does happen – for them. While running might be torture for some of us, these two runners love it! They chat the whole way through a 5K in #beautifulBurundi. Impressive. Also, fun fact: Jason actually proposed to Heather on a run!


Heather and Jason (stock photo) :) 

3)  “Date Walk” – several couples on our team enjoy this activity, including us. The Sunds actually take one every Sunday, and occasionally they stop at the local village “duka” (shop) for some take-out goat brochettes. Brave.

Goat brochettes, anyone?


4)  “Piki Date” – you and your spouse on a single dirt bike exploring #beautifulBurundi together. It’s like the date run, except you don’t have to run. Caleb took me on one of these piki dates for my birthday last year. Breathtakingly beautiful.




5)  “Canteen Date” – put the kids down, find a sitter, and walk up to the one and only sit-down restaurant in the area: The Hospital Canteen! Have a Fanta! They also serve delicious rice and beans, chips (French fries) and lenga-lenga (greens). Yum! And you don’t have to cook!

The Hospital Canteen

6)  “Wednesday 8pm Team Meeting” – I know this doesn’t sound like a date. But for those of us with little kids at home, there is usually a standing order for a middle-school babysitter to come to your house on Wednesdays at 8pm so that the adults can go to a team meeting. Caleb and I try to sit together at these meetings on the couch. Sometimes we hold hands. No kids!! Woot!

(I don't have a picture of this. Who takes pictures at a team business meeting, anyway?)

7)  “Date Night by Elise and Anna” – this is a pretty sweet deal, but it’ll cost you $$. The middle-school youth on our team are trying to earn some money, so for $20 you can get dinner and babysitting. They set up a table for you in one of the empty guest apartments on campus (if there is one available). You go “out” to the “restaurant” and they cater Calzones, salad, brownies and homemade ice cream to you. They also feed your kids at your house and put them to bed. Score!

The beautifully set table - with a tablecloth and everything


Brownies and homemade ice-cream

The chefs AND babysitters

8)  “Date Night from the White Elephant Gift Exchange at the Team Christmas Party” – now this is, by far, the most coveted date night of all (babysitting included). Someone else cooks an incredible gourmet meal for you and your spouse at their house. They also cook a second meal for your kids that they take over to your house, where they feed and watch your kids, while you dine out fancy and –ALONE– in their home. It. Is. Awesome. And if you’re lucky enough, your host will be Susan Watts: our Team’s very own Michelin-Star-Equivalent-Chef. We won date night at her house this past Christmas. I don’t think there’s a restaurant in the world that could measure up to that memorable night!

Sunds date night on the Bank's porch

Banks date night at our house

Watts date night at the Bank's house

Our date night at the Watts house


#IWantToGoBack (and, it's just juice, don't worry)

Carrot Cake with homemade Cream Cheese Icing

So, yes. We take dating SERIOUSLY here in Burundi. 


My Pain Obsession

(by Greg)

It is hard for me to watch people suffering in physical pain.  That is not to say that it is easy for others.  But as an anesthesiologist, part of our work is to control pain, before, during and after surgery.  There are even “pain specialists” now in the US and other countries, anesthesiologists who go on to do further sub-speciality training in pain management.  Unfortunately, in most hospitals in low and middle income countries, pain, and especially post-op pain, is often ignored.  Most patients with fractured legs or perforated intestines, receive Tylenol, and nothing more.

There are a multitude of barriers to providing people with effective pain control at Kibuye.  For one thing, our patients rarely complain of pain.  Africans in general are extremely stoic.  On top of this, our physicians are swamped with patients, and so pain evaluation and treatment takes a back seat to things like fluids and oxygen and antibiotics.  And I understand all this.  But last fall, I decided that perhaps the Lord was calling ME to try to tackle this problem.  And so I started with the advice of Atul Gawande, in his book Better, who suggests that one of the steps in becoming a “better” physician is to mesure something … anything.  I found two eager medical students who were willing to spend an hour every day for two months, measuring pain scores and vital signs on all of our post-operative patients.  I was grateful to have found a facial pain scale that had been translated into Kinyarwanda, and so could be easily understood by our patients who speak Kirundi.

At the end of this 2 month period, I began to do pain rounds everyday with my students, implementing the World Health Organization 3 level pain scale to guide our treatment,  and we continued collecting data.  This data will now provide the material for the theses presentations of 4 of our medical students.  But, what brings me the most joy is that we have been able to prove that providing adequate pain control is possible even in a rural African hospital.

Now I am not one to celebrate victories, much to my shame.  And while this all sounds good, on a daily basis I am much more prone to melancholy, frustration that more cannot be done, worry that when I leave for home assignment all of this will come to a halt and wishing I could find a way to put a sustainable system in place to continue this project, which admittedly has become a bit of an obsession for me.

Despite my negative attitude, one evening while at dinner, Jesh sent me a photo.  It was of one of the medical students rotating on his surgery service. She was using her phone to show the above mentioned pain scale to a patient.  Now this was a student who was not involved in this pain project and who had not yet rotated on my service.  But she had heard from others about what we were doing and she took it upon herself to find a copy of this pain scale and start evaluating the pain level of her patients.  I am so grateful to Jesh for taking the time to send me this photo, because it was a reminder that God is often doing things that I am completely unaware of.  I am completely insufficient for this work.  But His grace is made perfect in my weakness, and He is continuing to bring transformation, beyond what we are capable of, for His glory and for His love of people who are suffering.  Please pray that this work will continue, even in my absence, and pray for our patients.  Please pray for me to have opportunities to share this work with others.  I would love for other hospitals around Burundi and around Africa to invest in this work.  But I am confident that God will continue this work, with or without me.


Picture Post

By Alyssa

Enjoy these pictures some recent visitors took that hopefully give you an idea of life at Kibuye these days!

 Tea fields
 Construction on the new pediatric ward

 Rachel doing a C-section
 John operating
 Nursing students
 Eric teaching

 Dr. Alliance
 OB team

 Kibuye Hope Academy
 Local primary school
 Kids teaching kids - love it! 
 Beautiful Burundi
The above pictures are all courtesy of Jenni Keiter who works with eMi (Engineering Ministries International)

The below pics were taken by Scott Myhre. We had such an encouraging visit with our Area Directors Scott and Jennifer and are so thankful for their leadership and wisdom over the years!
 Surgery rounds with Ted

 Amazingly this little girl went home today after 98 days in the hospital! This pic was taken a few weeks ago. 

 Kayla teaching the fourth graders at KHA
 Malnutrition program

Twins who are thriving with their happy mother

And finally this last picture was taken just a few days ago by Dr. Alliance's brother as we celebrated Keren's first birthday. We're so happy to have Burundian families living here at Kibuye with us!