I am spending the weekend in Kibogora, a small town about 6 hours south of where I live. The place where we are staying is right on Lake Kivu with beautiful views any direction you look. Yesterday Grace and I left on the 6am bus and ventured down through Nyungwe Forest National Park and then a car from the hospital came to pick us up to take us to Kibogora. We are staying at a guest house for the local Methodist hospital that is just a few minutes from both the lake and the hospital. Yesterday I went down to the hospital to see their NICU, which was a room the size of a large closet with a row of incubators and a row of bassinets and the mothers sleep on the floor at night. There are also no monitors for the babies so even the micro-preemies have pretty basic care and then they just hope they can catch signs of distress in time. A nice dose of reality for the quality of medical care here. There are currently triplets in the NICU and they were sleeping yesterday so I am excited to return again today to get some cuddle time in. The mother of the triplets also has a toddler and her husband left her for another woman so I can only imagine the struggles she will face in raising four young children alone. It was a nice reminder on Thanksgiving that I have a lot of things to be grateful for, even the smallest of privileges that I often take for granted.
The is a mixture of doctors and nurses staying on the compound who come from America and England and we all shared a fantastic Thanksgiving meal together. All twelve of us sat around a table and shared a feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, ham, green bean casserole, three different kinds of pies (lemon, pumpkin, and chocolate) and even homemade ice cream. It was hard to believe that I was still in Rwanda last night.
I am currently visiting a 5-star hotel, Nyungwe Forest Lodge. One of the nurses was teaching a CPR class for the staff so we tagged along to tour the place and use the internet. The hotel is surrounded on one side by tea fields and the lush rain forest on the other- amazingly beautiful and very swanky. As Grace put it, “The only thing we can afford is the free internet.” There are adorable stuffed animals in the gift shop that are $35 a piece. I think a room is somewhere around $200 a night- per person, and there is a helicopter landing pad for guests who don’t want to make the drive through the forest. It is a very different world than the one I live in. I don’t think I will be staying here anytime soon.
Well I think that is all for now, I hope everyone back home had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! I am so incredibly grateful for my amazing family and friends and all of the love and support you have shown me during the past 15 months.