A few months ago, we shared with you a video created to celebrate the new pediatrics building here at Kibuye Hope Hospital. The video was put together by friends of ours at SEAM (Serge East Africa Media). While they were here, the guys also took extra footage to be able to create a new team video for Serge Kibuye. Our old one, while fantastic, is now about 7 years old and is starting to look a bit outdated. So, we are happy to announce the release of said video, finished just in time for the holidays. Enjoy. And we are grateful that so many of you have been a part of our work at Kibuye this past decade. You are truly partners and friends on the journey.
Or click here to watch the video on Vimeo.
I was just getting ready for bed last night when my phone started ringing. I only ever get calls these days from the hospital, so my phone starting to ring produces a bit of a Pavlovian panic response akin to the code pager, for those who understand that analogy. I wish I could say that every time I get called up to the hospital I respond with joy at the opportunity to go up and save some poor woman's life, but if I'm honest I'd almost always rather stay in my pajamas and climb under my blanket and stay warm and cozy. Last night was no different, but it was clear after talking to the doctor on call that the transfer patient needed an urgent hysterectomy, so I changed into my scrubs and headed up.
It's not a long walk to the hospital from my house, but at 9:30pm it's dark and deserted. The guard at the front gate walked up with me and we stumbled together over the bumpy dirt road, illuminated only by 2 fluorescent lights on the local school building. It's hard to imagine a darker place than the rural part of a country with minimal electricity. In the OR, the patient was unconscious. My team did well and we were able to stop her bleeding and transfuse 3 units of blood. But she never regained consciousness and died not long after we sewed up the skin. We had done what we could, but she arrived too late for us to save.
I walked out the back gate of the hospital and looked up at the sky. It was a brilliant sky last night...perfectly cloudless and cool and the stars were definitely twinkling. Ahead of me I could see the reddish glow of Mars sitting next to Orion, and Jupiter shone brightly right overhead. The idea that I can look up in the sky and see actual planets never ceases to thrill me, and I found my imagination wandering down the path of what the Christmas star must have looked like. What an amazing sight that must have been. The guard walking me home must have wondered why I kept staring up, tripping along, instead of down at my feet. Isaiah 9 kept playing over and over in my head as I walked. "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." It's a verse as true today as it was then and I was struck by the literalness and figurativeness of it at the same time. My friend Jennifer posted a blog this past week and she wrote that the light shone on the people IN the darkness. In other words, you have to be in the dark in order to appreciate the light. "The darkness is not a sign that the light has been defeated. It's a sign we're in the right place to wait for it."
I can't see the stars and the planets and the immensity of the universe unless the night is dark. I can't appreciate the light and the promise of hope to come nearly as much if I'm not face to face with the brutal reality of death and limitations and sorrow and grief. Isaiah wrote in the present perfect tense: have seen, has dawned. A verb whose action starts in the past but continues into the present. The Light has come and is here and is coming again, and it shines precisely where I need to see it most.
I walked back into the gate and said good night to the guard. Turning down the path to my house, I saw that the Christmas lights on our tree had been left on to welcome me home, although everyone else in my house was asleep. And again, the lights shone all the more brilliantly for the dark night and the absence of lights in the rest of the house. This Advent season, I want to wait for that light and remember.
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
by Julie Banks
Here is a little glimpse of our “field trips” to different houses around our missionary compound and our musical guests who are generous to let the students see first-hand several musical instruments.
We made our own paper ACCORDIONS so that we could “play along” with Uncle Eric (McLaughlin) as he demonstrated this oh-so-complicated instrument!
Who knew Uncle Michael (Harling) played the FRENCH HORN? This is one he actually found in Burundi, and he is replacing parts and fixing it up!
Uncle Eric showed us why the PIANO is considered a percussion instrument. The kids loved watching the hammers inside.
One time we had a British nurse visit us for a few days, and she just happened to bring her VIOLIN!
They even got to rock out while Liam Banks showed them how cool the ELECTRIC GUITAR is! (video)
So fun for these kids to grow up surrounded by musicians!
by Logan Banks
At the end of October, our community celebrated the graduation of 8 stage professionnels. These are new medical graduates who spend a year at Kibuye Hope Hospital in a traditional rotating internship, where they spend three months on each of the four main hospital services (Pediatrics, Internal medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, and Surgery). We are especially grateful for our partnership with African Mission Healthcare which supports this program.
This is the sixth class of graduates of the program since it started. With 8 interns, this was our largest class to date. They came from all three medical schools in Burundi: Hope Africa University, as well as the University of Burundi, and the University of Ngozi. Over 30 stagiaires have now graduated from this program.
As they spent time on each service, it was encouraging to me to see how much they learned over this period. They also noticed this, and remarked during their graduation ceremony how much they had grown as physicians and people over this internship period.
They lived together in an intern dorm on campus, and really bonded over the 12 months that they were here. It was great to see them form friendships with each other. And we had a great time celebrating the end of their studies. Here are some pictures from the event. It was a wonderful evening, and we're proud of all the graduates.
By Michelle Wendler
I wanted to share with you the updated map of Kibuye that I just finished watercoloring.
The houses are in red, and the hospital buildings are in blue. You can see directly in the middle in-between the housing compound and the hospital is the village church. The buildings to the right of the church (in light brown) is the Kibuye school, and to the left is doctor housing, storage, student dorms and at the top left the new student center.
Below is the map of Kibuye I did in 2018. A lot has been added since then!
One of the hardest parts about living in Burundi is learning to hold the hardness of life together with the beauty, joy, and love that is found here. 1 John 3:2 says, "Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is." Basically, while Christ did come and bring us Heaven after death, we are still waiting for when he comes again and brings the new heaven and new earth that will be without pain and suffering. It is the already, and the not yet and is our reality, whether we see it or not. But in this part of the world, it is unavoidable.
This past year I taught writing to an American boy who lives in Congo, and he expresses it well in a poem he wrote about his country:
Fleeing, Praying, Helping
Sad and beautiful country
This poem shows the understanding of a child that the world is not good nor bad. It is both at the same time. There is fleeing, praying and helping that exist together. There is sadness and beauty alongside each other. There is violence and peace in the same places. This 10-year-old boy encourages me to follow him in his acceptance that this is how the world is and to see both as equal realities.
A place that our team experiences this dichotomy most acutely is in the Hospital. I want to spend a little time sharing a little of what happens at the hospital where our team serves.
When the team arrived in Kibuye in 2013, there was already an eighty-bed hospital with about ten houses for staff. Now, the hospital has around 350 beds and there are about thirty houses for doctors This is a large change and has created more chances for doctors to be trained, to be given jobs, and for care of patients in and around Burundi. The hospital is connected to a university in Bujumbura, the largest city in Burundi. Therefore, many medical students come to Kibuye to do their internships needed for school. The services include OB GYN, pediatrics, urgent Care, Family medicine, ophthalmology, and surgery, along with food distribution, and courses for medical students taught by the doctors, discipleship and prayer. So far Kibuye has graduated around 310 African doctors since 2014. It is quite a large operation happening!
Below are some pictures of graduation celebrations, our team (+some visitors) moments of teaching and surgery. Everyone hard at work!
I asked several doctors here what the hardest and best parts are about the hospital. Overall, their responses reflected the simultaneous hope and suffering that I have come to understand over my year and a half here. One med student said that the best part is “when I get to see a patient happy because she was able to help them. But the hardest part is to see patients get worse and worse and to be unable to help them.” This is the already and not yet. Yes, there are some amazing things happening here, and people are healed who would never have had a chance without this hospital. And there are still people that die because the world is what it is.
One doctor told me that the best part is "watching a lady hold her first baby after multiple losses" and getting to be a part of that moment. The greatest challenge is seeing a patient whose illness you recognize, whose treatment you know, but also knowing the treatment isn't available in this country, and is too expensive. Yes, there is hope, but often it feels like there isn't enough.
I think the most notable line in the poem Congo is "Fleeing, Praying, Helping". Sometimes, the problems weigh so heavy that I do feel like fleeing, but really the answer is to pray. To pray that God would help us feel the sadness, see the beauty amidst it and move forward to help. This is an exhausting state to live in, but I wouldn't change it, because it reminds me how much I need to depend on God to help me live in the world we have been given.
I will leave you with an illustration. My roommate Jenny was an occupational therapist before she was a teacher. She has used this skill to love and work with the children in the hospital who needed help in that area. One child she worked with was an 8 year old girl who came in for malnutrition. When she arrived she could hardly sit up on her own, was very weak, and seemed to have some sort of mental and physical delay. Many people said that her situation was too hard and unknown, and that there was no way to help her. But God kept putting her on Jenny's heart, and every day she went to pick up this little girl, play with her, stretch and use her muscles, and try to make her laugh. Over the next few weeks, she started to walk on her own, to recognize Jenny, ask when she was coming, and get herself out of bed when she saw her walk into the room. She began to play, smile, and enjoy herself; all things no one ever thought she would be capable of. Jenny said a hard goodbye to this girl she had grown to love as she was releases from the hospital having made some improvements. Months later, this little girl came walking and smiling back into the hospital, all chubby and strutting like she owned the place. How good is our God!!
Telling you this story could go many ways, but what I want to highlight is how this miraculous story is an example of sadness and beauty, of already and not yet. It is representative of the healing that happened on this earth when Jesus brought the kingdom down. And yet, we are still not in the home we were made for. Just as this girl's healing happened in a hospital, which was not her home. We can only continue to pray that little Joy will grow knowing the Lord and eventually find her eternal home with our Lord and Savior.
Joy at the beginning of her stay doing some exercises with Jenny:
Joy when she came to visit a couple months later:
This picture has nothing to do with the hospital, I just love it a lot. These girls were SO EXCITED to have their pictures taken, they just couldn't control their giggles!
(It's also the only picture on this blog that I took, the others were taken by a number of different people in our community).
Please just pray for this place. For the people who live and work here, and for those who come to stay at the hospital! Thank you all for your ongoing support and care. Love to you all.
As a graduation present for finishing my surgical residency my in-laws bought me this printer:
It seems like there are always comings and goings here at Kibuye, with the comings of course being more fun that the goings! We wanted to take chance to introduce you to some of our new current/upcoming teammates.
First of all, we are really excited that after many years of prayer for an engineer to support Caleb Fader in his many crucial roles at the hospital, we were approached by an awesome couple that has been living in Bujumbura for the past few years. Craig is a mechanical engineer and Vanessa has a masters degree in sustainable development. They and their two young children, Wren and Bram, are currently raising support in the US and are hoping to arrive at Kibuye sometime in January. If you'd like to help support them, click here.
Secondly, as we've posted about many times before, teachers are essential to our team's health and longevity here at Kibuye because they shoulder the majority of the task of our kids' education. We have absolutely loved having our current three teachers here these past several years, and are thrilled to announce that one of them, Jenny Sorondo, has decided to stay on as a long term teammate and teacher. She'll be needing extra support as well as she transitions from short term to long term (if you're interested, click here).
Joining Jenny in fall of 2023 will be a new teacher, Meg Strickland. Meg is currently teaching elementary school in Georgia and will be coming to work at KHA for two years. You can support her here. And finally, speaking of teachers, we are still in need of one more teacher starting in the fall of 2023 for (preferable) middle school ages if you or anyone you know is interested in hanging out with some totally awesome, fun kids (not that I'm biased).
And, while I'm mentioning new teammates, I also wanted to introduce Dr. Selina Thomas. Selina arrived at Kibuye in June through the Samaritan's Purse Post Residency Program for two years (and hopefully longer!). While we have had, and even currently now have, post residents serving at Kibuye before, Selina is our first primary care/non-surgeon. She's residency trained in family practice, which means that she's very versatile. We've enjoyed getting a chance to have her rotate around on our different services and she has been a great asset.
|Kibuye Pediatrics Team|