For 2 weeks of our stay, we spend two days per week in Butare, the second largest city in Rwanda. It is the home of NUR, the National University of Rwanda, along with the medical school and CHUB, the local referral hospital. The pace of life in Butare is much more relaxed: not as many crazy cases in the OR, more staff available to the residents for teaching, and no nightclub across the street blaring music at all hours of the morning. It is also cooler in temperature, and much more rainy.
The drive to Butare takes around 2.5 hours, and is stunning. Terraced fields of pineapple, corn, sugar cane, rice paddies, avocado - you name it. The people are also less used to having mzungus around. Children with broken arms coming for orthopedic surgery are eitherhysterically frightened, or the opposite reaction, one saying "I know I will be okay because a mzungu is here". For better or for worse, we are quite the spectacle, 4 mzungus all in one place.
In Butare, we stay at the Credo Hotel: still no functioning toilets, but it had a pool (yay!). We had a chance to meet with Dr Theo (the anesthesia program director) and Dr Patrick (acting dean of medicine) to discuss future directions for the program. They are doing an amazing job with few resources and the existence and quality of the residency training program is a credit to their hard work.