Day 9: Headed home

The last day always has a way of both seeming far away and coming way too soon. I feel like I have been here for much longer than 9 days, but I am ready to be home. I never sleep very well here (despite being exhausted) and working in the heat is hard on my body.

I am happy with how things went this year–I felt like I have carved out a role for myself here, which is in contrast to prior years when I was not quite sure how I could be useful. I was the first NP to come, and I think even the doctors were not sure what I would do. There’s always something to do, but whether I would enjoy it or support the mission was not clear. I hope I have paved the way for another NP or PA to join the April and October missions, should the chance arise.

Today I spent the morning at the hospital, doing rounds and seeing a few patients who had been evaluated earlier in the mission. Two other women are also leaving tonight, so we went out to lunch at a beautiful restaurant called Heaven, which is always a highlight of this trip. The dining room is open air, surrounded by huge trees. The food is always delicious–I had pumpkin and peanut risotto with Parmesan. I have never had any reason to complain about the food on this trip (except for my first year, when I was a bit more adventurous than I should have been).

After lunch we took a taxi to a gift shop called Abraham Konga Collection. Abraham has one of the best assortment of high quality, mostly handmade gifts. Every year his shop is larger and the selection of gifts is better. If you happen to be in Kigali, I highly recommend visiting.

I am sitting in the airport, preparing for 24 hours of travel. I am hoping that I will sleep for most of the trip, but I have a good selection of books on my iPad and movies on the plane. I will check in again once I’m home, and will plan to share my collection of photos. Thanks to everyone who has supported me on this journey!