This past weekend I got the opportunity to return to Burundi. I am here for three weeks to help out with teaching and also to help Jason with a few more complicated surgeries. My route here took me through Dubai on Emirates. It was a very comfortable flight. It is my hope that by mentioning how comfortable this Emirates flight was, that they will somehow stumble across this blog post and be so flattered that they will upgrade me to business class on the way home (Emirates ... are you listening?).
At the airport I was greeted by Caleb Fader (Jason’s brother and our newest Kibuye team member and engineer) and my friend George Watts (PhD in business, teaching at the Hope Africa University campus in Bujumbura). It was great to catch up with them, their wives (Krista and Susan) as well as Randy and Carolyn Bond before heading up to Kibuye Saturday afternoon.
It has been great to be back here, to see the team again and to see the progress being made at the hospital. Monday we did 5 cases in the OR. For any of my nerdy anesthesia friends reading who might be curious, Jason performed the following surgeries:
- inguinal hernia repair on a 2 year old (under Ketamine)
- palmar cyst removal (under axillary block)
- epigastric hernia (also ketamine)
- intramedullary nailing of a femur fracture (under spinal) - yep, without intra-operative X ray
- urethroplasty (under spinal)
We do have a handful of cases lined up while I am here that will require general endotracheal anesthesia, and thankfully we have a few full cylinders of oxygen!
This morning, before morning report, I went for a 4 mile run with Jason, Caleb and Joel Miller. We ran on paths I had never explored during our previous time here which were beautiful. We were greeted at every turn by Burundian women with hoes over their shoulders and children with notebooks in hand for school, often staring at me, sometimes laughing, probably wondering why that pasty muzungu in the back is having so much trouble breathing.
Today, I was asked to sit on a board of 3 physicians for the thesis defense of one of the graduating medical students. I was chosen for this because I am a specialist ... and because I have a pulse. This was my first thesis defense, but I am told there will be many more in my future. The student presented his research on Burn Injuries at Kibuye hospital, a very common problem all over Africa due to cooking methods using open fires around small children (no, that is not some sort of advocacy for all you helicopter parents out there).
I am excited to see what the next 3 weeks will bring. As much as the pace of life here is slower than that in the US, it is never boring. Although to be honest, I actually enjoy boring once in a while.
Jason and Joel in our seats of judgement
A selfie of me with the church and hospital in the background ... and a chicken