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Sophie volonteer
Follow-up 2016
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Sophie volonteer

In August 2016 Sophie left as volunteer to Rwanda to give the best of herself in the eye-clinic of doctor Noë and in the hospital of Kabgayi.

In her story she shares her experiences with you. Enjoy reading !                        

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Follow-up of the project

Mwiriwe
Rwanda, a small country mainly known and overshadowed by the genocide in 1994, but whoever takes the effort to visit is knows that it has to offer so much. Thanks to the connections of Bernadette and François Gacas I had the pleasure to get to know Rwanda, its people, its culture and its medical care. Each day I was positively surprised by a next experience.

The first week I stayed in the eye-clinic of Doctor Piet Noë who introduced me in the world of eye-surgery. I was surprised how dedicated the doctors and nurses are towards their patients, despite the limited means they have. Soon it became clear that the amount of materials and techniques of Belgium are not necessary for the local specialists to reach the same good results. The second week I spend in the general hospital of Kabgayi, where the equipment was less available compared to the eye-clinic.  I worked at the maternity where ten pregnant women shared a room and where patients had to wait for hours in the queue to consult a doctor but also in these circumstances the system worked. After that I rotated with at surgery where we sometimes heard sad story of people who had to sell their house to pay for the surgery. It broke our heart but despite the fact we always tried to help everybody there is one basic problem: too few financial means. During my 2 weeks of voluntary internship mainly 2 things took my attention. First of all there was sufficient medical care despite the limited means and there was a very low degree of infection. Secondly too many people were consulting the doctor too late with their problems, which I in a way expected, but it is a tough confrontation with poverty and alternative medical cures with medicine men.

After these 2 weeks of internship I got to know so many people, who were all so supported to me, that I decided to explore the country with their help. Sometimes it was a real search as not too many were speaking French or English but in the end everybody was willing to help me and meet me. I had the chance to visit some small villages where I got to know real life, which never would be possible on an organized trip. There I learned who people are really living, how many opportunity to improve there still are, but also how the people have already evolved positively. I visited on my own the lake Kivu and floated on the lake in the full peace the country has to offer. The last days I stayed at the very welcoming family of Jean, Xavérine and Natacha in Kigali, whom I got to know via François. Together with them I visited the Akagera National Park with all beautiful wild animals, the city of Kigali, who is in contrast with the countryside, and the museum of the genocide.  I also visited of the projects supported by the organization Vleugels van Hoop, a school for disabled children. A fantastic enterprise where children are hosted in a boarding school and go to school until their ready to go to a normal primary school in the neighbourhood. In the evening they come back to the boarding school. The school is still in construction phase but they already started to teach with the limited means they have, till new financial means are found for the next steps.
The best impression of my trip lays in the fact that the day I returned home in Belgium I already check for flight tickets to return in November. I was a fantastic experience with friends for life which I for sure meet again!  I’m grateful towards all the people I got to know and loved me. A big “thank you” to Bernadette and François of Vleugels van Hoop who opened my eyes towards a great world and to Piet Noë for his hospitality, kindness and passing through of medical knowledge.
Murakoze ciane
Sophie

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Images

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