Joel Miller and Dr. Eric stand in white coats in Van Norman Clinic

Joel and Dr. Eric in the Van Norman Clinic

Expanding Our Focus

Last week, I traveled with Dr. Eric and Dr. Innocente to Kibuye Hope Hospital (KHH). I am not a big fan of the 2.5 hour trip on twisting mountain roads, especially when I’m not driving, and when we are riding in a car whose steering wheel is on the “wrong” side (makes passing those trucks on the curves more interesting!). But with a little Dramamine and a lot of prayer, I agreed to accompany these two Burundian doctors on a daytrip to Kibuye. While my role is primarily focused on the clinical education of medical students at the Van Norman Clinic (VNC), I am also interested in evaluating and encouraging good education at our KHH. Dr. Innocente is the Dean of the Medical School and invited me to come along to check on the medical and nursing students rotating at KHH. We also wanted to continue building relationships with the national and expatriate doctors currently serving in Kibuye.

 It’s the Journey, not just the Destination

I’m glad that I didn’t miss this trip. I have been praying for ways to connect with my colleagues here. This trip allowed us to be together for several hours in the car with no cell phone service or other pressing matters. With a combination of French and English, I discovered that Eric had come to faith in Jesus at the national University mainly due to seeing Innocente and other students living out their faith in significant ways. He recounted that Innocente used to travel into the mountains with her husband to do evangelistic outreaches. (No surprise that her husband Onesephore is now directing a ministry here in Burundi.) What a gift it was to share our passion to see communities transformed by the Gospel. We each felt the call to more consistent private and corporate prayer. Would you pray with us that God will continue to guide the work at Hope Africa and that he would continue to do his work in us?

 Crowded But Content

When we arrived at Kibuye, we visited the student dorm. The dorm was designed to house 17 health science students with a common living area and kitchen. We want to maximize the students’ exposure to the good clinical experiences they can get at KHH and so we have put a few extra bunkbeds in the dorm. Now there are 33 students living in the dorm! And at least one of the nursing students has her infant baby living with her. One room had 8 students in 4 sets of bunk beds.  I was amazed at the positive attitudes that the students displayed. There are plans to build at least one more dorm on the Kibuye campus but we are waiting for funds for that project. We are hopeful that a short term solution can be found that will allow some of the students to stay in other houses around the hospital. The students all mentioned how glad they are for the good teaching that they are getting this month from doctors like Jerry Rusher and Patricia Rees. We’re thankful for these volunteers who are investing in the future of Burundi.

We’re On the Same Team

Dr. Desiré, the medical director of KHH, expressed his hope that we can continue to work together to see African medical students educated and health care improved in Burundi. There is a lot of work to do and we welcome the collaboration of Burundian professionals, expatriate workers, and you. We can learn from each other and with God’s guidance, can find a way forward for better health and transformed lives in Burundi.

There are many ways that we have been supported by our friends in North America. Your consistent prayers and faithful giving have allowed us to focus on this task and these relationships without fear that you’ll forget us. Thank you for that gift!