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A Semester in Rwanda

Bravado compromised

 I had sailed through the first set of firsts (first class, first moto ride, first wandering around at night, first grocery shopping) and was pretty proud of myself. I mean, I was negotiating taxi fares with the best of them. But there's a time when you need (the royal "you") a second wind or your bravado gets, well, less brave. I had started to hit that wall. I realized I was avoiding things, like motos, motos at night, motos at night in the rain (well, that last thing is just going to be avoided) and then I got sick. 

The interesting thing about being sick far from home is how small and aprehensive you can feel. The fact that I had not yet learned where to buy, say, pepto-bizmo or, perhaps worse, that I don't know where I picked up these little gastric visitors, just made me curl up inside. I stayed in bed, listening to re-runs of This American Life

I wanted to tough it out, or more to the truth, I wanted it to just go away. But,  I resorted to CiPro. Wonderful things, drugs. Now I'm in my office, planning to take my first unaccompanied bus ride out to KLab. I'm feeling, like, that wasn't so bad. Perhaps I can eat again. Someday. 

One other note about being sick: here, in the less resourced clinics, patients are expected to buy their meds (even IV) and have their families provide food, attendance, clean linen if available. If someone doesn't have a family available, they're just alone in a room where someone on the staff checks up on them once a day. No one is going to feed or clean them. My roomate's clinic is now terribly understaffed: one doctor for 30 (high risk) births / day. The rule is: 20 minutes of labor and then a C-section.

I am glad I am teaching Engineering classes ....  

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Associate Professor Nanette Veilleux has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to teach computer engineering at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in Rwanda. Follow along on her journey.


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This site is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of its author (Nanette Veilleux) and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.