March 9th, 2019
This year’s Medical Missions For Children to Gitwe, Rwanda began with a good omen. Just moments after all twenty-one team members arrived at the hospital, a man with a smile as wide as his face came running up to Drs. Dhingra and Sebelik to embrace them. The man, a patient from last year’s successful mission, proudly showed us all his neck, which was goiter-less with just the faintest small scar visible above his clavicle. He wrung everyone’s hands and proudly told us all how he had spent the past nine months travelling around Rwanda spreading word of the prowess of the medical team from MMFC. His mission to spread the word seemed to be a success, as before even unloading the thirty plus bags we had brought from America into the hospital, there was already a long queue of individuals waiting to be screened. After nearly two days of travel, ending with a beautiful (but bumpy) bus ride from Kigali to Gitwe, there was no time to rest up. We began set up in the afternoon, unloading all the medical equipment to set up the pre-op, anesthesia, two operating rooms, and PAC-U. We simultaneously began screening and ultrasounding the patients that had already arrived, getting through nearly a dozen before the sun set. With seven patients lined up for operations tomorrow, and many more will be arriving in the next few days, our work is certainly cut out for us. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, there was an undeniable air of excitement over dinner, and it is clear that the team cannot wait to begin.