Friday, December 26, 2014


I realize yesterday was Christmas and right now I should be posting about our first Burundian Christmas, however it takes a few days for us to organize our thoughts and our photos.  So for now, I will post about last weekend.

Last weekend, the team from Kibuye drove down to Bujumbura for Hope Africa University’s graduation.  I would love to share stories from the day … however, I seem to have blacked out from heat exhaustion for most of the 7 hour ceremony.  Here are some photos that I apparently took with my camera.

All the “professors” with a doctorate degree were asked to wear this outfit … please try not to be jealous.

At least I wasn't the only one who looked ridiculous.

There were over 600 students graduating, about 30 from the school of medicine, pictured here.

 One highlight of the day was a visit by the Burundian drummers.  These guys rock hard ... and barefoot (on rocks).

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Scrubin' In

December at Kibuye has a very different feel because there are no students here.  The last group finished at the end of November, and the next group does not arrive until January.  In some ways this means more work for those of us who are not students, and in other ways, it means less.  The OR feels especially different, because for most of the year, there are about a dozen students observing or scrubbing in for each case.  So, being the opportunistic parasite that I am, I decided to take this time to ask Rachel (our OB/GYN) if I could scrub in with her for a C section.  She graciously said yes, and Thursday I got to do something I haven't gotten to do since my intern year ... scrub in to an operation.

It was great fun, and I am happy to report that both mom and baby survived the operation.  I asked Jacky, our anesthetist, to take a few photos.

I think this photo displays the confidence with which I carried out the operation.

I think this photo displays the regret that Rachel immediately felt in agreeing to let me "help her".

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Field

There is a large field that separates our house from the hospital.  Most days I cross this field 3 or 4 times going back and forth to the hospital.  The field has on it a church, a soccer field, and three large palm trees.  At anytime, this field may also be filled with children playing soccer, goats or cows grazing, farmers crossing with hoes slung over their shoulders, or a variety of other scenes of daily life in Burundi.  I have grown to love this field.  The field itself has paths dug across it, which from a birdseye perspective, transform it into the shape of the Burundian flag, with the three palm trees serving as the three stars at the center of the flag.  Rumor has it that the president of Burundi has visited Kibuye several times and has commented on his fondness for this field (a source of much pride for the people of Kibuye).

One thing I love about this field is the sky above it.  It is crystal blue, and as you turn around 360 degrees, you get a sense that you are truly in the heart of Africa, enjoying the splendor and majesty of this created landscape.  I realize that the sky here is no different than the sky I normally look at back home, however, it somehow looks different to me here.  I suppose it is a matter of perspective, as the same object can appear largely different when viewed from different angles.  And I am again filled with gratitude for the daily opportunity to see the beauty of this world, from a very different place and a very different perspective.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Weekend in Buja

This past weekend our family was able to get away to Bujumbura for 3 nights for a little rest and relaxation.  We stayed at a resort on the beach of Lake Tanganyika.  It was beautiful and it was refreshing and we got to eat hamburgers.

Here are some photos:

On the drive down the mountain to Buja

Because sometimes you just need to pack up your couch and go

The kids on the lake with the mountains of Congo behind them

Friday afternoon we drove down the road to another resort which had 2 chimpanzees, one of them free roaming, who greeted us all with hugs.  This photo is Greg playing with the chimp.  Greg is the one wearing the baseball hat.

While we were eating lunch, the chimp snuck up to our table and stole Mekdes' Fanta.  Ella tried to wrestle it out of his hands but apparently he REALLY wanted it.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Emotional Roller Coaster

Life here is filled with moments of encouragement as well as moments of discouragement.  I suppose my life was similar in this regard back home, however, here the lows seem to be a little bit lower and the highs seem to be a little higher.  Last week was one of those high moments.  The group of medical students rotating at Kibuye for the past 4 months finished their rotations and returned to Bujumbura.  Although it was sad to say goodbye to so many new friends, the week was filled with listening to students share about their experiences at Kibuye and the teaching they received, some of them sharing this with tears in their eyes.  They were all so grateful for the training they had received under our team, as well as the national doctors at Kibuye.  

Thursday night we had our final Bible study with the students.  At the end of the evening we sang worship songs together in French and Kirundi, and the students shared with us how much their time at Kibuye meant to them.  While at Kibuye, some of these students took time twice a week to gather their money, and visit the same patients they were caring for, sharing the gospel and paying for medications, food and even soap for some of the poorest patients in our hospital.  

Friday night the students threw a party at their dormitory and invited all the attending physicians and their families to join them for music, dancing and food.  It was a beautiful evening, filled with laughter and joy, and was yet another reminder for me of why God has called me here.  

Eric awarded stethoscopes to the 5 top scoring students.  

a video!