Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Return to Rwanda

On March 5, I will leave for Rwanda with Ariane, a fourth year anesthesia resident. We will be volunteering for a month teaching anesthesia to seven residents in Rwanda as part of a program with the Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society International Education Foundation (CASIEF).

This will be the first time in Rwanda for Ariane, but it's a return for me as I spent November 2008 doing the same program. I feel much more relaxed this time as I will be returning to friends and a familiar situation but there is still anxiety about difficult clinical situations that may arise and being ill prepared to handle them.

Ariane and I have been working for many months preparing our teaching program. I have been also working on a masters of education and have learned about effective curriculum and teaching methods so this will be a chance to apply some of the new skills. We have done our best to make our teaching program interactive, something I realized was essential during the last visit.

Going to Rwanda means leaving behind comforts, quiet space, privacy, good plumbing and an orderly environment. I am looking forward to a slower pace of life, the warmth of the people, my friends in Rwanda and the absolutely beautiful country. Oh, yes, and the weather.

In addition to my friends in anesthesia, I am looking forward to seeing Steven a young man who lost all his family except his younger sister and grandmother in the genocide. He is a delightful person – bright and thoughtful – who is working on a novel about the genocide. We have been corresponding regularly.

This trip will also be different because my husband, Brian, and son, Daniel, will join us for two weeks and they will be working on a film about the CASIEF program in Rwanda. It will be wonderful to experience Rwanda through their eyes.