Posted on 15 May, 2013

This post is by Eleanor Mennie, Registered Nurse, Rwanda.

I have woken at 0500 – pity really as I am working all night tonight and will still be awake at 0500 tomorrow!
The 5am wake is an unwanted pattern – might be due to having a bit of Africa Bowel, Rwanda Bowel or perhaps just stewed, roasted, casseroled, mashed or sautéed Banana Bowel. Anyway, it’s odd, not bad, causes weight loss and manifests itself at 5am in the hotel toilet! I think I might start a B.B.B.B diet (Banana, Bowel, Body Beauty diet for summer, although I don’t think the ‘Beauty’ bit is working so well.

Rwandan cardiac patient AliceAnyway, onward from that it’s the little things that count, I have a fresh towel (this is not to be taken for granted) and have risen from my Chinese pretend bed. I have to admit a tiny bit of Bed envy – our Open Heart International neighbours have beds so soft a princess could sleep on them and with slight smugness agree our beds might have been in Rwanda since 1932. But you know actually this is not bad – some of our young ward charges have never slept on a bed let alone in sheets – which leads me to comment on the real stuff happening here, the small everyday occurrences that make you realise that it is a privilege to witness this and work amongst it – I got to ‘work’ yesterday and was greeted by ‘Alice’ a beautiful, tiny for her 15 years, Rwandan girl who has had very little materially and otherwise it seems in her life but has an immensely joyous disposition. Having had open heart surgery she is now so well and smiles heaps and gives so much of herself to us all with her happiness.

Rwandan cardiac patient EricThen we have Eric, who after a bit longer in ICU post cardiac op and a lot of sedation woke on the ward and asked (this was interpreted) ‘who are all these white people?’ I think he knew, but he’s very funny and maintains his comic outlook now despite a few setbacks. There’s also ‘Celestin’, tall, lanky and post cardiac surgery in ward who was laughing and laughing yesterday. Finally when asked via a Rwandan nurse interpreting, “what was so funny?”, he in fits of giggles pointed to the long stubby snout on the face of a ‘heritage type’ teddy bear he’d been given, then dissolved into laughter again.

Rwandan cardiac patient CelestineSo all in all, the ward is a very happy place and growing just in numbers we have nine patients post surgery recovering fast and more to come so I will see what tonight brings!

Am off this morning to the churches involved in the 1994 genocide which sounds interesting, but a bit harrowing, then a sleep (hopefully) in the afternoon before being off to work again.

x Ele

Tags:  East Africa,