I was lucky to have travelled to Kijabe at an exciting time; there has been an increase in awareness in the medical community about the lack of access to safe anesthesia in low-middle income countries. The GE corporation has been prescient and magnanimous in their support of the efforts by anesthesiologists at Vanderbilt to create a sustainable program to educate Kenyan nurse anesthetists on how to provide a safe anesthetic.
The travel time was the most painstaking part of the process to return to Rwanda, not because it took me over 24 hours but because I was just so ready to be back. They say third time’s a charm so I guess we shall see. The first time I arrived was in 2009, I was as a freshly graduated young adult with hopes of changing the world. The Peace Corps was instrumental in curbing my idealism and provided a better picture of what development and progress looks like.
Data is important. Because of data collection and monitoring, UNICEF can report that, “On average, one out of every 11 children born in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of 5.” In this example, data demonstrates the magnitude of the problem and serves as a catalyst for people to come together to develop strategies and implement programs to improve child health. Then, with continued data collection and monitoring, progress towards reducing child mortality can be measured.
Humanitarian photographer Esther Havens tells the incredible story of photographing the mother and baby in Rwanda, that later became the cover photo for The Mother & Child Project. Six years later, Havens returned to Rwanda to see what had become of the mother and baby that had meant so much to her for all these years.
Our last clinic and teaching are back in Limbe! Clinic St. Jean is a large hospital that sees about 250-300 patients a day. The directors wanted the majority of their staff to receive the education, so we did training over two days and taught over 50 providers and nursing students.
A Kenyan nurse anesthetist asked me what it was like to work at Kijabe. After my first week here, I thought, it’s just like being at Vanderbilt, but with less resources and all African patients. The care provided at AIC Kijabe is likely the best in rural Kenya and likely the best care you can receive outside of Nairobi.
Today was a busy but productive and gratifying day! We started the day at Second Mile Haiti ministries. This is a wonderful organization started by two young Americans, one a nurse and the other with a business/engineering background who saw the need for family education with malnourished children. The ministry has several rooms that house malnourished and underdeveloped children, siblings and their moms (sometimes dads!).
The wonderful organization Hope Through Healing Hands Foundation graciously gave Belmont University a grant to offer a fellowship in global health with a focus on healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies to one of the students in the College of Health Sciences. With my calling to teach natural family planning and my passion for global health, I applied with hopes to expand my knowledge and create the beginnings of my life work, setting up a path for my future.
Open Door Haiti is a clinic in Limbe that is connected to Open Door Church of God in Cap Haitian. We provided the Standard Days Method of natural family planning training to the providers in both places to help accommodate them and their weekend schedule.

Subscribe to our newsletter to recieve the latest updates.