Thursday, April 1, 2010

on the way home

This will not be the final blog entry as I know Ariane has more to add and I would like to include a final reflection. Ariane and I have just reached Brussels and said goodbye. She is on her way to Israel to spend a week with her brothers and I am on the way back to Halifax.

It has been an incredible month and far exceeded my expectations. Perhaps the overwhelming theme is how vivid everything is: intensely awful smells in the OR and PACU; spectacular green terraced hills; beaming children toughing our hands on the way to work; complete chaos and imminent disaster most of the time in the OR; the bliss of a warm shower at the Serena hotel; fruit salads with mangos, passion fruit, papayas, bananas and tree tomatoes; horrific toilets; joyous teaching situations such as with the nurse anesthesia students at KHI or academic day with the residents; immensely frustrating teaching situations with some of the weaker residents in the operating theatre; our huge success at bringing OB together with Anesthesia for M and M rounds; developing a lively morning report, which was a teaching situation for the nurse anesthetists; spending time with Emmy, our amazing guide; warm hugs with our dear friends; in short it has been rich and very vivid.

It has been a complete privilege to share this with Ariane who feels this has been the best experience of her residency. She rose to the occasion again and again and kept her humour and equanimity. She learned how to teach on any subject without any warning or preparation. We shed a few tears and many laughs (rabbit eating fish, for example).

As difficult as this experience can be at times ( and it really does have horrible moments), it was absolutely worthwhile. Our partners in Rwanda are so grateful and we see such huge improvements. I am thankful to everyone who made this possible.

Lots of love to all.

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