Day 2

It’s so very late and I must get to bed, but I wanted to write a little. Today was a good day. We were able to see many more patients and the team began operating today. We will have 5 women to visit in the post-op area tomorrow. We will give them ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) so that they can treat their own pain, and we hope that they will all be well enough to move from a hospital room (which holds about 10 beds) back to the tent. I can only imagine that they prefer the hospital room, but I could be wrong.

There is such an interesting sisterhood that seems to develop among these women. Not being able to speak their language is very limiting in terms of knowing what they want or need, and the facial expressions can be hard to interpret. Disappointment is easier to see. One of the women we saw yesterday had a fistula and was leaking urine continuously, but she was also pregnant. Surgery is not generally done on pregnant women unless it’s necessary, even in the US. Her face fell when the medical student told her she would have to wait to have surgery.

Tonight we had dinner at a lovely restaurant, and Barbara had invited two Rwandan women to join us. These women found out about the mission through a midwife at Kibagabaga Hospital named Immmacule. She is the director of the program here, and is truly a force of nature. I spoke to these women to ask how and why they got involved, and they said that it just kind of fell into their lap. They raised money among their family and friends and donated some beautiful wool blankets that each patient has on her bed. It may seem odd to want a wool blanket in Africa, but it is cool here at night. I hope to speak to these women again as the week goes on, and hope to tell you more of their story.