This weekend we traveled to Kigali to enjoy a 4th of July celebration (on the 11th) hosted by the US embassy. It was nice being around a lot of Americans again and it was nice eating a burger. The next day I traveled to Musanze (i dont know if im spelling it right) to go caving with a small part of the group. In the city, there are big caves that people pay money in order to obtain guided tours through them. Otherwise you are not allowed to enter the caves. We purchased passes for the caves and while we were waiting we decided to go into some of the smaller caves located throughout the town. We had a friend in the area who knew where they were and was taking us to them. On our second cave to crawl through we noticed the entire village was standing at the entrance watching us. There were around 12 Rwandans in the cave with us showing us around and just having a fun time. After a little bit we noticed all the Rwandans in the cave climbed out of the entrance really fast, leaving the four of us in the cave with our friend and one other Rwandan who was in a small hole blocking on of our friends from getting out (I think unknowingly). We finally got him out and made it to the top of the entrance where we were met by armed guards and our friend was immediately taken into custody. At this point I was pretty freaked out wondering what they were going to do to us. A man dressed up in business professional (stands out a lot from village wear) walked up to us speaking broken English. in the time span of 15 minutes we figured out it was illegal to go into the caves, the caves were dangerous and that we weren't going to be in trouble. Lucky a tour guide arrived with he company we were supposed to tour with and we were able to explain how we had passes for the caves and just went into the wrong caves. The tour guide took us to the right caves and we began our exploration through the "correct" Rwandan caves. After our first cave we were stopped by some fancy man who I think was in charge of tourism for the town. This man was really upset with us and by this point I was really pissed off at the whole situation so I stayed out of this confrontation but he talked to the group for 30ish min(holding us up from caving). All I got from this guy was he was really pissed at us, but since we are Americans they cant do anything to us so we continued caving. At this point all of the group was pretty upset and we wanted to go spelunking but the big boss man said we couldnt and so I got in an argument with him and he ended up saying go spelunking in the next cave for all he cares but he wouldnt take us to the "official" spelunking cave.
So at the next cave we all broke I think every rule you can in the caves. We were climbing the walls diving into random holes and crevices going completely off the paved path designed for tourists. We had armed guards for whatever reason just laughing at us and the guide we had on our volcano hike and he was loving it. So in the end we had a really fun experience that I am really glad we were able to experience. I dont know what happened to Peter (our friend who I believe was arrested), but I will update if I figure out anything.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Bushenge is a small village town approximately 20min from where Adam and I are staying. The staff there is very friendly too us. Our BMET there is only 24 years old and his name is Mbonyimfura Welcome Ken Prosper, but we just call him Welcome. We started off the week making a game plan for the week. He listed out all the machines he wanted us to work on and when we would do it. As a result we touched every machine he listed -1. Monday we worked on two autoclaves. We had no initial success so we emailed the manufacturers asking questions. With no response on Tuesday we figured out the error on one of the autoclaves which left us empty handed since the "repair" requires ordering a new part from the manufacturer. We also worked on a refrigerator with the same outcome. It needs a new circuit board from the manufacturer. We got a technician to come out on Wednesday for the second autoclave. Same result, it needs a new piece from the manufacturer. Now if we had the time, Im sure we could of fixed one of the machines. However, given that we are only spending a week at this hospital, we moved on hoping to find some simple fixes. Wednesday we also traveled to a health center and installed two incubators. Which was a boost to our moral. The Bushenge hospital had the same incubator that needed to be installed so we went ahead and installed it in 16min (our first one took 3hrs to figure out how to install). We also installed a water purifying system. Towards the end of the day we were looking at their storage unit and saw the infamous Weyer incubators that were broken.
Backstory because I dont think I explained this before. There are around 200 broken Weyer incubators in the country of Rwanda all with the same problem that noone could figure out. Weyer is a German company so our German friend working in a different city called the company and figured out how to fix them. Boom 200 fixed machines.
Once we fixed the incubators they brought 8 pieces of similar equipment to our work station hoping to fix them. Only thing we did was turn on a Billiruben lamp that worked. They thought it was broken so I guess its a technical fix since its back in use now.
Next week we will be back in Gihundwe. Our focus will be working on our secondary project and our needs project. Our secondary project is a project which will benefit the hospital outside of fixing equipment. The needs project is looking for a specific need the hospital has and designing a report explaining why the need is important with our version of a device that would satisfy the need. Wish us luck!
Hopefully I will get photos up soon!
Week two in Gihundwe Hospital!
I found out the name of our town is actually Kimimbe. Our total number of equipment fixed is 11 pieces which we were told was the average for last years groups. Including our fixes at CHUCK and Kinombe Hospitals we are at 16 which I guess means we are doing pretty good. Also we made a friend. There is a fellow white person from America who stays at our hotel. He is a working on his masters in public health and is here on a water treatment program. We typically eat dinner with him every day. Its good company to have.
We celebrated two holidays with the Rwandans. July 1st was a holiday, I am not sure what holiday but it was one were we only worked in the morning. Also, July 4th is their celebration of the official end to the genocide. So we also didn’t work. On July 4th our BMET and the hospital director drove us to a ceremony that was taking place that day. We thought we were going to a soccer game but our BMET told us to change into nice clothes and when we arrived we sat in the “upper classs” “privileged” seating. I wish I brought my camera to document it but alas I thought I was going to a soccer game. There were senators there, the mayor of the city, two military men with the equivalent of our Special Forces hats and a lot of awards on them. Everyone around us was dressed in a suit and tie. Adam and I were in polos… The ceremony was nice, we didn’t understand anything but there was a parade, dancing, singing, chanting, cheering, speeches and a military display.
That afternoon we traveled to a nearby city (4hrs) via public transport named Butari. This was the official meet up town for the students. On Saturday, we traveled to Nyungwe National Park and partook on a canopy walk through the jungle. Similar to the safari, I felt very blessed to be in the position I am to be experiencing all these exciting adventures. On Sunday after church we encountered a family of monkeys. There were probably 20-30 of them. One came really close (6inches from my foot) but when I tried to touch it, it got in a very defensive position so I let it be.
This next week we work in Bushenge hospital. It is approximately 20min from where we live and they will send a car to pick us up. We are only supposed to work there for this next week. After that we will talk with our coordinator at Ginhundwe Hospital to see if he has more work for us there or if we should continue working in Bushenge. Bushenge is located in a small village town, meaning there are about 5 shops and the rest of the town is homes. The hospital is fairly new (2yrs old) with the hopes that it will be a province hospital. This means it will be the nicest hospital in the entire western province. This upcoming weekend we hope to travel to Kigali. The US Embassy will be holding a 4th of July party for all the Americans in Rwanda. We are also trying to make plans to go spelunking in some caves in the Northern Province.
*pics already on facebook, will update pics here soon*
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Alright...this ones going to be a long one...
The first set of photos are us at Kinombe Military Hospital. For the most part we are doing preventive maintenance (cleaning). This also took place two weeks ago.
Now we are going to switch over to our home in Kigali!
This is Adam (my partner) and Angle.
Now we are at Gihundwe Hospital... This next section will give you an idea of all the different types of machinery that has been given to us to fix.
This is the oven I talked about in the last blog.
We hav not fixed this yet. Its a fetal heart monitor.
This is a Weyer infant incubator. The purpose of this device is to act as a safe haven for a baby who was born with birth defects. It can be set to a certain temperature, monitor the babies temperature and heart beat, and it has adjustable humidity. We fixed three of these (the hospital only has 6).
Back to the oven.
This is the view from our hospital.
This is a nice field I like to read in. Also has a good view of the congo across the lake.
This is the operating room in the hospital. There are two rooms.
This is our BMET (Biomedical Engineering Technician). He speaks great English and helps us around the hospital.