Tag Archives: Clinic

Things I’ve Learned in Rwanda.

You can treat Scabies with a good rub down of permethrin. Scabies hangs out between fingers and toes and they love ankles. They. Yes. Scabies are bugs that burrow into your skin and colonize. I learned you can make a baby smile by rubbing their toes in Rwanda just like in the US and that permethrin is a lot like baby lotion. One treatment does the job and people no longer have the itchy, cracking skin caused by Scabies. I learned that a 39 year old woman can have scabies and that she can stand with dignity and grace while people who don’t know her and don’t speak her language help spread the goo. I learned that you can hand someone a new skirt and an old t-shirt and make their day. I learned why nurses smile while they are dealing with every possible body fluid. I learned why doctors study and why Jesus spent so much time healing. Great joy in the clinic today.

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The Little Guy

On Friday we had a little patient. His mama brought him in. He wears a black t-shirt with a batman logo on it. He is probably 18 months old. The little one was dehydrated, suffering from vomiting for 4 days according to his mom. He clearly needed help. His veins were so dry that it was extremely difficult to get an IV in. Plus, it was getting dark in the clinic. We don’t have lights. So picture Lori working to find a vein with the help of a head lamp and some twilight from the window. It took four pokes and Tracie K, Alexandra, Brittany, Mama and me all holding down his body, arms and legs to get it done but Lori is a confident nurse. The IV pumps would not drip and so we then all sat there while she hand pushed in saline, 300 ccs of it, 20 ccs at a time. Brittany sat and kept a log of each syringe to make sure we kept track. Lori also gave him some anti-nausea meds and he should be feeling much better. He is supposed to come back today for follow up. His mama is a strong woman because she did not flinch or cry. Perhaps it’s because life in Rwanda is so hard, there aren’t tears for just an IV. Perhaps it’s because she knew we were trying to help. Maybe she cried later. I hope it’s not that she has already given up. The nurses tell me that this little guy will be fine, that the fact that he was struggling was a really good sign. They say if the babies don’t cry or struggle that’s when you worry. Pray for this boy and his mom. Pray he’ll be healthy and that she will continue to struggle because it’s a sign of hope

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Relative Truth

I’m sure you have all been told that it is wrong to judge another culture through the lens of your own experience. The theory goes that truth is relative to any culture’s morals and history. I understand that but I have to say I think that sometimes gives us the easy way out when we see suffering in another culture. It’s easier to say “Oh, we don’t understand the culture, I’m sure that in their country that’s acceptable”.

I have a story to tell you.

Yesterday, the doctors and nurses were so busy inside the clinic that some of us (Deb, Hallie, me, Michelle, Sarah (she was great!)) were outside doing vitals.

Hallie and I looked at this sweet Rwandan woman who brought her 4 year old son and her 4 month old daughter to the clinic. We checked the temperature of mom and son and then lifted up the baby’s shirt to check her temperature under her arm. Both of us did a double take. This little one had pea size sores all over belly, she had them on her neck and both sides of her head.

We did what anyone would do.

We found the closest doctor.

Is this small pox? A severe reaction to something? Is it contagious? Pretty soon all five of our doctors were standing and checking out our little girl with more questions than answers.

Where is Dr. Manu???

He’s the Rwandan doctor who will be the lead when we leave. He gets the keys when we lock the door. He came over, took one look and said, “oh, that is traditional medicine. Whenever she gets a fever, her mother has no way to help her so they go to see the medicine man. He will heat the tip of a knife and then burn her so that the fever will leave”.

Oh.

Well.

Everything in us runs right up the brick wall that is the ultimate question.

Is there an absolute truth or not?

Dr. Manu said that the major problem is that the sores get infected and that infection will probably kill her. Dr. Manu said that he would talk with the mother and try to explain the problem.

This mother loves her baby. No question about it. She doesn’t have the tools to help her child and so she’s doing everything in her power to save the one she loves. Problem is that this solution is not good in any culture. The baby is in pain and she may die.

Pray that her mother hears Dr. Manu and continues to bring her daughter in for treatment. If she can get antibiotics and no more burns she’ll probably be fine.

So here is the question. Do you believe in relative truth or absolute?

There are a few things that I know are wrong. Child slavery is wrong. Genocide is wrong. Hatred is wrong.

There are a few things that I know are true. Forgiveness is true. Love is true.

Christ for me is true. What about you?

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