It is July 11 and Ceshae Harding and I, Cherise Green, are a little over halfway through our stay in Rwanda. We live with a local Rwandan family that has been essential in helping us integrate into the culture here. They feed us traditional Rwandan meals and teach us useful words in Kinyarwanda such as “muraho” which means hello.
We have begun our research looking at breastfeeding practices and recommendations at the public hospital in Kigali, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali (CHUK). Our goal is to be able to assist mothers and physicians in supporting women as they seek to nourish their children. Because it is an original project, we worked diligently with the physicians at the hospital to have our project approved by the ethics committee so that we can begin handing out surveys. Today was an administrative day of printing and copying hundreds of pages of consent forms and surveys for mothers and healthcare providers. We look forward to what our surveys will be able to tell us about breastfeeding in Rwanda once we analyze the data.
While we have been working on our project, we have taken the opportunity to forge connections with surgeons at CHUK through a resident from UVA who is spending the next year here. We have been able to work with local surgery residents and senior physicians on neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, and general surgery cases, scrubbing in to assist in any way we can. As a medical student, this experience has enhanced my love for medicine and what it can do to improve the lives of those in need.
Apart from working, I have been able to travel throughout Rwanda. We have visited some local attractions such as the King’s Palace Museum and Gisenyi, Lake Kivu. Rwanda is such a beautiful country!