The new pediatric building has started with retaining walls and foundations. Although we can't see the progress from above, the work being done is essential! Below are pictures of the tents temporarily housing patients during the construction project.
My head nurse in Neonatology came in this morning after her tea break with a puzzled look on her face. “I just got a call from DHL, telling me they have a package for Kibogora Hospital," she said. "I’m not sure if it's a scam trying to get my money or if there really is a package. But why would they call me?”
I knew a package of parts for repairing our washing machines was shipped from England last week and was expected to arrive today via DHL. But even though my cell number was on the package, I'd gotten no call. It's all in who you know here! The DHL person knew someone who knew my head nurse, so that's how they got her number and called her instead of me.
As I was leaving the hospital today, a man working with the crew paving the main road near us came up to me with a question. His left hand had two bandaged fingers because yesterday he’d fallen off a motorcycle. He was very concerned that they were broken, that the dressings were wrong, that the fingers wouldn’t bend well because of the swelling, and on and on. I kept giving him answers but it didn’t seem like he was convinced and that there was something else bothering him.
Finally he asked the question that I gathered was the real problem. “But isn’t there something they can do? I can’t smoke with my fingers bandaged in this position.”
“Well, sir, I’m afraid I can’t fix that problem for you.” I said. “Be thankful the injury is minor and maybe try smoking with your other hand for a few days!”
Usually when I write, it’s about how many babies we have and how few nurses. Well, this afternoon I sat and had some nice conversations with my nurses. Oh, yes, I checked a temperature or two and looked to see if a baby was having seizures or not. But mostly I got to hold babies and visit. What a nice change from the usual pace of having too much work and not enough time to get it done. And yet, by the end of the afternoon I was kind of wishing we’d get a new admission. I was tired of sitting and wanted something to do!
Guess I’d better learn to be thankful with what I have, not wishing for more or less patients, knowing the right number of patients are in the NICU that day. ☺
I heard someone call my name, then another and another. I was showing a group the temporary pediatrics ward when the three mothers called to me. Their children were graduates of the NICU. Two are two years old now, and the third is six months old.
It was fun to see them again, especially the two year olds. Both mothers had spent a long time in the NICU so were some of those special patients because you remember their faces, names, and story of their babies. I was glad to hear the children had a temporary problem, were doing well, and were growing and developing normally even though they’d been born quite premature.
I’m really out of the loop when it comes to new movies. This summer some young families visiting Kibogora caught me up on animated films. I watched Frozen and Tangled and found my reaction to be interesting, especially after being away from the “fairy tale world” for so long. Watching the story plot where boy meets girl, of crisis with good triumphing over evil, of living happily ever after, and with all the drama accompanied by emotion-stirring songs made me wonder how kids today can ever get the right picture of what life is really like.
I certainly don’t live in a fairy tale world, and yet watching those two films made me discontent, wishing my life was more like the movies. Don’t worry, I won’t be singing and dancing around the NICU any time soon. But it seems these fairy tale dreams could tempt one away from the life God has called us to live. I want to stay focused on the reality of life and how God promises to never leave us in the good times or the bad.
“Will you ‘Friend Me’?” a local boy of about ten or twelve asked a group of us. I doubted he had a Facebook account since most people here who do are adults. I wondered what he was asking. We kept walking, asking his name, where he was going, and so on. Amazingly, he understood English quite well and answered most of our questions. But he wasn’t getting the answer to his question.
“Will you friend me?” he asked again. “Will you friend me like Deste?” Ah, now I knew what he was asking. A co-worker family here recently adopted a boy named Deste from the Congo. This boy walking with us wanted to be adopted like Deste. Turns out he has a father and with the English he speaks, he comes from a family who cares for him and is investing in his education. He doesn’t need to be adopted, but I guess he thought he’d ask. It wasn’t hard to say no, and that’s the answer he got.
Certainly gives a new meaning to the phrase “Friend Me!”
Funds are partly raised for a new pediatric building. Enough so that we can tear down the old building and start constructing the new. It always amazes me how fast buildings can come down in this country! I guess because we Westerners do so much with machines, we don’t get the sense of what a lot of workers can accomplish. At 8:00 a.m. the pediatric building still had a bond beam, but by 4:00 p.m., some parts were down to the ground! Wow! Enough people working together can accomplish so much! I need to remember these pictures when I feel like I can’t accomplish anything.
While I was on vacation in Burundi, the Kibogora mission workers paid the mission income tax. Well, it turns out I’d calculated it wrong. Don’t worry, I won’t tell you all the details about the two hour meeting I had today at the tax office. The gist is I’d picked the pay bracket based on profit, not income. At the end of the meeting my head was spinning with all the facts, new steps and forms we have to complete. Yikes! We’re going to be busy filling out paperwork!
As we were going over the information, the tax guy asked me how much training I had on taxes in school. I had to admit my nursing classes were very focused compared to all the stuff I need to know working here. Today I needed an accounting/tax filing class. Another day I looked at a bridge to decide if it was safe or not and if it needed repairs. One day the mechanics wanted me to look under the hood of a car. Lots of times I’m asked to fix equipment. All those classes weren’t in my nursing course, for sure. Some days the variety of what I’m asked to do is frustrating; other days it’s interesting and a challenge.
And today? I felt like I should panic a bit at all the work I’d just learned I have to do, but instead I drove home with an overwhelming sense of...this is normal here in Rwanda.
I love beautiful places! Especially snow-covered mountains! Guess that’s because there aren’t any here in Rwanda. ☺ It isn’t just that I enjoy beauty, rather I stand in awe when looking at the beauty God has created. To see His creativity and to recognize the grandeur of creation is minuscule in comparison to all God is.