A View from the Construction Sites

Hello! My name is Jessica Lembelembe. My husband, Mathieu (Matt) and I are here in Kibuye for a 6 month season supporting construction at the hospital...and on a few other building sites nearby! We are happy to be here and share a bit about what's going on in our corner of Kibuye.

First a little more about us: Matt is an architect with Engineering Ministries International (EMI). Because we are based in East Africa, he had the chance to visit Kibuye on several short term project trips, when a team of engineers and architects have come to develop and flesh out the hospital masterplan. Since we met in 2016, Matt's been telling me about the project, and when we got married last year, he promised to bring me along to see this special community. We were happy when the position for a temporary construction manager in Kibuye opened up at a time when we were also available for a new assignment. So here we are!

Taking a tour through the blog archives, I found several posts that tell the story of how the hospital has expanded and already fulfilled parts of the 20 year growth plan. One of the earliest steps in the process was the development of a physical masterplan with the help of a team from EMI in 2013 (see post here). If you look at the Vision tab on the blog you'll see the picture below, showing how the hospital looked when the Serge team first arrived. It had about 100 beds and many medical students - but not many doctors.

Fast forward to 2019, and this is the view we saw when we arrived:

All of those new blue and red roofs represent growth in this community. And recently, the team celebrated the fact that there are now over 20 Burundian doctors serving alongside international doctors. God has been moving in this place!

From our vantage point, getting to dive into this movement of God midstream, it is so encouraging to look back and to look ahead with hope. Often, the daily work of building up institutions, and hospital wards, is slow and tedious. Transformation is hard to put your finger on. So we hope that this little tour of construction sites around Kibuye gives you a taste of the new life that is unfolding here.

Looking back, I found a post about the impact that new ORs have made on the hospital - allowing the staff to multiply the number of surgeries offered each month. Medical staff and patients are also benefitting from the new surgery patient ward (photo below), which Matt helped design on a previous project trip to Kibuye. Seeing it completed now is gratifying for the whole Kibuye team, and the EMI team, too!

Just next to the surgery patient ward is the future paediatric ward - which will soon be the biggest structure on campus.

The roof trusses are already installed, and soon, there will be more blue roofing sheets covering this three story building. We hope it will be open to serve kids by June next year. This will add 130 more beds to the hospital's capacity, bumping the total to 359! Why do we need so many beds? At the height of malaria season this year, there were 130 kids admitted to receive treatment by Alyssa and her team, but many were sharing beds with other patients, because the current ward is too small.

The muddy site above might not look like much now, but in a matter of months, it will be home to more doctors and their families who come to live and work in Kibuye. Part of the long term vision for the hospital, of course, is to ensure that Burundian medical staff, including specialists, are equipped to lead here. See the digital render of the future 8-unit residential building below.

Another fun ongoing project is the construction of a basketball court (below) in the nearby town of Bukirasazi. Clearly, Kibuye hospital provides essential services that are appreciated by families in the region, but recreation space for youth is also important to the community. So the Kibuye team is sponsoring this project to build stronger ties with our neighbors.

It's not only physical transformation of this village that encourages us. We can see God moving in the lives of the construction crew, too. Meet Quinzaine (red hat next to Matt below), the foreman of all the construction workers. He has served here faithfully for years, and is an expert brick layer. He is also a respected leader, and he coordinated the crew under him to contribute part of their salaries to purchase a drum set for our local church worship team. He traveled to Bujumbura himself to pick it up, and the gift was received by the congregation with much jubilation when it was unveiled for the first time on a Sunday morning.

I am encouraged to see such clear evidence of God's creativity and generosity in the crew of masons, welders and plumbers who work long hours to build this place, brick by brick. Their ownership of the hospital and the church assures me that the good work going on today will continue for generations to come.

Matt and I taking in the view of Kibuye from above.

1 comment:

Rebekah said...

Always am blessed by hearing of the work God is doing at Kibuye. Thanks for sharing!