Rwanda, Rwanda

And so it begins, the journey of a lifetime. I’m sitting in JFK airport waiting for my midnight flight to Istanbul where I’ll connect on my way to my final destination, Kigali Rwanda. My intention with this blog is to keep those that are interested updated on all of my experiences, related to work, travel, and anything else that might be of interest to my followers (sounds like I have a lot, probably will end up being like 5), we’ll see.

With my initial PULSE blog post, I want to provide some background on the project I’ll be working on in Rwanda. I, along with my PULSE teammate Colleen Kane (who I’m very lucky to have as a partner), will support the Ministry of Health to help establish a sustainability plan for the HRH Program’s medical equipment and supply investment.

Background: Rwanda is currently taking on a bold national initiative to increase the quality and quantity of highly skilled health professionals including physicians, nurses, midwives, health managers and oral health professionals. The Human Resources for Health (HRH) Program is a $150 million dollar initiative, funded by the US government and the Global Fund. Rwanda’s Ministry of Health is engaging 25 top US schools, including Harvard, Yale, Duke, and others to provide 100+, year-long, clinical professors to Rwanda to be located at four main referral hospitals and five district teaching sites. In tandem to building training capacity of the next 7 years to develop a generation of Rwandan faculty, nearly $20 million of medical equipment and supplies will be invested in Rwanda’s main teaching hospitals and schools.

In all honesty, when I applied to PULSE I wasn’t expecting Kigali, Rwanda. I knew it could be anywhere and that Africa was a likely location however I was thinking Kenya, Tanzania, or Ghana. I was a bit surprised when I first read my assignment detail and the only thing I could think of (like most people I’ve told) were the atrocities that took place in 1994. While this is etched in our memory, the Rwanda people have made unbelievable strides,in only 20 years, towards a united Rwanda, a true testament to their people.

Wyclef Jean wrote a song titled “A Million Voices” for the soundtrack of Hotel Rwanda, a movie based on real life events during the spring of 1994. The introduction to this song is below:

Ni ryari izuba, Rizagaruka, Hejuru yacu, Ni nd’ uzaricyeza ricyeza.

When will the sun return above us?, Who will reveal it once again to us?

The Rwanda people have come along way in 20 years and while they’ll never forget the genocide I for one believe the sun has returned above them and it shines bright and that the people of Rwanda have revealed it to themselves and the world. I will support them in any way I can because I know how hard they’ve worked and I believe I owe that much to the people of Rwanda who have made the impossible seem possible.

The picture I chose to attach to my initial post is the current flag of Rwanda. The blue band represents happiness and peace, the yellow band symbolizes economic development, and the green band symbolizes the hope of prosperity. The sun represents enlightenment.