About to leave for home

This may be my last blog entry written from Rwanda. It has been a simply fabulous trip in every respect.

Will and I are the Hotel des Mille Collines, made famous by the film, Hotel Rwanda. It is a very nice upscale hotel. We stopped here because we are early for the airport, and we are using the WiFi connection here for a couple of hours.

For the past two days I have been in Butare, which is the home of the National University of Rwanda. It is a university town ? think the Chapel Hill of Rwanda.

It is also home for St. Paul's Cathedral, the main Anglican church in the diocese of Butare. It is the sister congregation for our church back in Chapel Hill.

I visited with Bishop Nathan Gasatura and his wife Florence ? whom I first met when they were visiting Chapel Hill about a year and a half ago. They are very warm and engaging people. He has long been a church and NGO leader, and she is a nurse. Florence got her masters in nursing in Scotland several years ago. When she was in Chapel Hill recently, she toured the North Carolina Cancer Hospital.

Florence took me around the medical school ? and I was also hosted by the vice dean. I had met the dean in Kigali last week. We saw the entire complex ? and I am quite impressed with what they do with limited resources.

We also visited the teaching hospital in Butare, which is known by its French acronym CHUB. It is about 500 beds ? and, again, I was very impressed with what they are doing. A major challenge for them is physician recruitment and retention, especially for specialists. For example, they told me there are no oncologists in the nation of Rwanda, and only a hand full of orthopedists, ophthalmologists, ENTs, etc.

Yesterday afternoon Will came back from his day at the Dufatanye Co-op, dirty, sweaty and tired, but very happy ? he has some great pictures that they took of him making bricks! He also made a clay pot ? like he learned to do in his ceramics class at Wingate University! He says they were fascinated with his making it.

Last evening we ate at Nathan and Florence's house ? it was a delicious meal of traditional Rwandese food. The dish I've grown to love is rice with what we would call English peas and carrots, with a sauce poured over it that looks like thin tomato soup. It is very tasty and filling.

I think I've lost a few pounds on this trip ? because I'm eating good food but not many snacks.

I really feel great.

Today I visited a bit with the leaders at St. Paul's Cathedral and then we started back to Kigali.

We stopped en route at Nyanza, to say thanks and farewell to Godfrey and Diane, his wife, at the Dufatanye Co-op. They gave us some gifts to take back, Rwandan crafts.

So … A few hours from now we hope to be on the plane headed home.

This has been a wonderful experience.

I will be able to post some pictures in a day or so.

Stay tuned.

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