Project prep in Kigali

Wednesday, April 04, 2018
Kigali City, Rwanda
Wednesday morning I called Mr. Mundeli who said he was involved in preparations for the last holy day and the Sabbath and that it would be better if he didn’t come to the hotel until tomorrow. We had some work we needed to do in any event, in preparation for an FOI project I’ve been asked to oversee in Rwanda in June.
Dr. Greg Swartz, an elder in COGWA who lives in North Carolina, with his wife Jan came to Rwanda with a small group that paid their own way because they wanted to visit our brethren in Kenya and Rwanda. Dr. Swartz fell in love with Rwanda and wanted to help the members there. Since 2006 he has sponsored projects, sometimes co-sponsored by the Church to offer free dental care to our church brethren, as well as helping the small dental community in the country. The needs are great. The first time he and I visited the hospital dental department we heard loud screams from the chairs down the hall. Patients had to pay out of pocket and by the dose for anesthetics, which few could afford, so they had their teeth treated raw….
He’s provided thousands of dollars of equipment and supplies and has demonstrated the latest techniques to update the skill of local dentists. He is much loved in Rwanda, and is known to many people simply as “the American dentist” because there’s only one like him. He will again be offering such a project in June, financed the Foundation Outreach International, and assisted by Dr. Sharon Mundo a member dentist from Guatemala. Two other volunteers will teach a concurrent English program nearby to help participants develop their English skills.
The Rwandan members who participate in the English program will need to lodge for 5 days in Kigali. I needed to make contact with the Head of the dental department at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali (CHUK), whom I’ve known since 2006 (I almost stood in as a dental assistant myself once or twice….), and also visit the classroom and lodgings we plan to use during the programs.
After working in the morning, we took a taxi through a light rain to Camp Kigali, a memorial to 10 Belgian soldiers who were killed on the first day of the genocide. They had been detailed as protection to the moderate prime minister of the time. They all were captured; the prime minister and her family murdered. The soldiers were disarmed and taken to these barracks, where several soldiers were summarily shot. The rest managed to grab one pistol, and ran into a building where they held out for some time before grenades were thrown in to finish them off. This was all carefully calculated to frighten the western nations into pulling their peacekeeping troops out of Rwanda, which is what happened. The genocide could and did occur unimpeded.
We walked through a light rain to the Serena hotel, what used to be the Hotel Diplomat, that I mentioned yesterday. It has been very nicely refurbished, and is a luxury hotel now. We had a light lunch by the pool, before walking a few blocks to the CHUK, where the dental department is located. We walked in through the staff entrance and found Dr. Mukandoli’s office. She was delighted to see me again and to meet Marjolaine. The department head is a good friend and colleague of Greg Swartz, they have worked together on his projects in Rwanda. We caught up on news for a few minutes and then she walked us over a block or two to the conference center she has kindly reserved for us. 
We met the nun in charge, who showed us around the meeting hall, and several of the lodgings. They were all clean and functional; this will be a very good venue for our FOI project. Our visit took about an hour. I left a down payment to guarantee our reservation, and we took our leave.
It was still raining, so of course the taxi prices had risen sharply: supply and demand at work. We finally caught a taxi with Dr. Mukandoli who had another errand to run. She dropped us at the hotel and invited us for dinner Saturday night. We at first accepted with pleasure, but later, after thinking about what Saturday would be like, I sent an e-mail to ask if we could reschedule in June when circumstances will be better for us. She wrote back to express her understanding.
The rest of the day I spent getting caught up on office work. Tomorrow we will meet with Mr. Mundeli.

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2022-12-06