December 19

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Last few days in Rwanda

It is December already and I’ve only a few days left in Rwanda!

Prior to this assignment I was unfamiliar with the Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) and Jhpiego. During the last six months I’ve seen and learnt so much about the amazing work the program does and the impact it has on maternal and child survival here in Rwanda and throughout the world.   Work has been busy finishing up on my last week with workshops to discuss progress to date and future plans for the programs:  Essential New Born Care/ Help Baby Breathe and Postpartum Family Planning. The workshops were very successful; they were well attended and a good forum for discussing challenges and successes and the way forward.

During my six months in Kigali I am happy to say I have had the opportunity to see most parts of Rwanda. It really is a beautiful country and I would encourage anyone considering a holiday here.   The scenery and wildlife is beautiful, my photos don’t really do it justice.  A few weeks ago I went on a gorilla trek in Musanze, a beautiful area.  There are five stunning volcanos in the area, we had a clear sunny morning with perfect views on our trek.  There are ten families of gorillas and the guided tours to each are limited to one tour daily with a maximum of eight people.  We were lucky enough to see two mothers with their babies sitting happily with their family, a wonderful once in a lifetime experience.

Chimp trekking in Nuyungwe Forest National Park in south western Rwanda was another great adventure. The trek was very fast moving and tough going in parts through the forest although the views were stunning.  We managed to see quite a chimpanzees swinging playfully through the trees although I was too busy watching in awe and often not quick enough with my camera!

Lake Kivu and its numerous nice spots are also worth visiting. If I was here for longer I would definitely go back to chill out by the lake at Gisenyi.  It was so peaceful. We stayed at a hotel on the shore of the lake, the hotel rooms are little huts in beautiful gardens, dinner is by a big open fire and breakfast by the lake in the sunshine, bliss.

 

Kigali has also got so much going for it, it is a thriving city with fabulous restaurants and hotels and more keep appearing! Even during my time here two five star hotels have opened along with numerous new cafes and restaurants.  Shopping for fabrics and having clothes made has been very fun, I have a few new outfits to wear next summer. There are also many women’s co-operatives making pretty crafts and other gifts which has been great for Christmas shopping.

So it is back to the winter in London and Ireland for me! It has been quite an experience and I’m extremely grateful to GSK for giving me this opportunity.