Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back in Rwanda

Team Heart members Ceeya Patton-Bolman, Suellen Breakey and Kayla Quinn are back in Rwanda this week, working alongside and learning from Australia's Operation Open Heart Team, which is performing life-saving heart surgery on Rwandan children at King Faisal Hospital.

Ceeya writes:Our small team of three arrived in Kigali last week to join Operation Open Heart. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to evaluate our educational goals for next April and synchronize with the Australian team. The supplies we left here are intact, and the unit looks great with Brigham-donated monitors. Many thanks to Kumar and his Kigali-based team of bio-meds.

We are having a wonderful time meeting up with old friends and colleagues, and we were delighted to see two of our patients doing well. A highlight was seeing Erneste reunite with his dad for the first time in six months upon our arrival at the airport. He was VERY happy, as he says! I visited a potential boarding school with him and was pleased with the emphasis on academics and good physical facilities. Both will be good for him.

How excited we were to seee Egidia's brother (above with Erneste)! No trouble trying to identify him. He looks just like Egidia and has that same wonderful personality. He cannot wait to see her in April when she joins us for Team Heart 2009.

Today, Kayla is working in the stepdown unit, and Suellen in the pediatric ICU. I think the Australians are very appreciative of this. Both are happy to pitch in and do what is necessary to help--a quality most valuable in Team Heart members.

Tomorrow we take Erneste home and, although I am sure I will be sad in many ways, I am very, very happy for him. He looks wonderful and is enjoying life. Who would know that he had a double valve in July after being so close to death? He is the answer to the question of why we do what we do. So many people played a large role throughout the Brigham community and Team Heart is so appreciative.

As we return him to his remote village, he has convinced Suellen and I that, since it is eight miles uphill from the nearest road, we must take a moto-bike on a single path dirt track. Of course Kayla is thrilled to do so--she cannot wait. She is also in her 20s! The vote is not in on the method of travel yet...