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.