Monday, May 01, 2006


I'd somehow forgotten how beautiful Rwanda is - being back in the countryside at the camps this past week reminded me - especially now that it is rainy season - everything is so green and alive. It makes the grey of London seem very very far away!

I've forgotten my cable to download pictures so those are coming next time I get in email range, I promise. Being back at Nyabiheke, with the nonstop greetings from the children and their choruses of "Doc-tor An-na" and the elders with their more restrained "Mahoro" and the hugs and kisses from my staff - it feels like home. The health center is running without a glitch - the atmosphere is so calm, so organized, none of the desperation that I had remembered. Malaria cases are down 50% since net distribution in December, daily educational lectures have continued and I wandered into a mass Vitamin A and Mebendazole distribution being done by the Community Health workers from tent to tent for all children under 5 (Vitamin A being one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in the world) as well as a new startup anti-AIDS club meeting.

The IGP groups started by Louise have definitely had a profound impact on the atmosphere of the camp - the sewing group in one area, the soap makers, the handbag weavers - people are joking and laughing together while they work. Makeshift school have been set up under the trees so the children are occupied during the day and many adults are volunteering as teachers in these schools. Classrooms are being built, a nursery school and K-3 to stay in the camp, grades 4 and above will be attending the local schools as soon as extensions to them are built. Meanwhile they are doing what they can (and I happen to think it is quite a lot!)

The nice thing about having been here near the beginning, then being away for a bit - is the ability to see significant change - in a good direction. I am so happy to be back - and realizing that my time is far to short. I really only have 3 weeks left before headed back to Boston. The HIV paperwork draft is finished - will be reviewing it this week and even though it all can't possibly get done in the next 3 weeks - what I have seen of the programs that have started and continued in my absence gives me much confidence that this will hold true with the HIV programs as well.


At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Deserie said...

Dear Ann,

I read about you in the Vancouver Report To The Community.

I want to thank you for the personal sacrifices that you have made to help the people in Rwanda. I've been seeing so much on the TV lately about them and have wondered why it is only now coming to my attention after all this time that there is so much suffering there. I am a mother of two small boys. When I see pictures or video of the babies and children that need help or protection it breaks my heart.

As an American woman with responsibilities here and no idea of what to do to help from afar, I was wondering if you could offer suggestions?

I think you are so brave to travel there and do as much as you have done. I'm sure they are very grateful to have had you.

You are an amazing woman. Be safe. I'm proud of you.

Deserie Thomas

At 3:12 AM, Anonymous Ted Li said...

Dear Ann,

I'm so proud of you. I really appreciate of you did in the pass and will be in the future.

I need to introduce myself. I am the son of your mum's friend (Lee Hon)in HK, and I call your mum "sister". I'm now living in Australia. Please give me your email address so we can keep in touch. My email address is

Ted Li


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