Last month, I (Joel) joined 9 Americans, 3 Burundian doctors, 1 English medical student, and a bunch of Burundian translators and helpers for a 5 day medical mission in the Muramvya District of Burundi. The campaign was organized on the U.S. side by PMI, a charitable organization planning a clinic in the city of Bugarama within the district. On the Burundian side, the organizing was done by GLO, Harvest for Christ and PTI.
This was not officially connected with Hope Africa University but I had the privilege of inviting and working alongside three of our 2012 HAU Medical graduates. Seeing their willingness to serve in this way and use the skills and knowledge they have gained at HAU was pure gift. Those hours and years invested in modeling and teaching are actually resulting in a cadre of young missional Burundian doctors! Thank you for your investment in them as well.
Although the Muramvya District is only an hour’s drive up the mountain from Bujumbura, the people there do not have easy access to medical services. We held clinics in two different local churches for two days each as well as a one day clinic in a Harvest school. Over 1200 patients were seen by 6 different providers. The team also included triage, pharmacy, and evangelism. Most of the patients had the physical complaints you would expect from a person who works all day cultivating a field, searching for firewood, hauling water from a well, etc. My neck and back hurt just listening to their stories!
Our medicines and minor treatments will not transform the rugged lifestyle that millions of Burundians endure. It is still hard to be a Burundian scratching out a living from the land. There was, however, genuine thankfulness on the faces of these patients as they were able to tell their stories to someone who listened, someone who touched them compassionately, someone who prayed for them.