Futures Focused follows Gwynedd Mercy University Alumni Melissa Martelly on her travels in Africa.
The phone reads 330pm as I am people watching in Kigali’s largest bus park awaiting my departure to Kibungo. There are various buses both big and small cloistered in this area. Some are blasting music others brightly painted with photos of American pop stars as they wiz past the vendors, shopkeepers and passengers. It is currently dry season in Rwanda hence, the clay colored dust fill the air. As one of the buses cuts a short corner people take cover as the dust storm engulfs all in its way.
In some ways this past year has been a dust storm figuratively of course. Moving across the globe for a year and embarking on a new series of challenges, opportunites and uncertainties. I have tossed and turned and stretched myself both professionally and personally to get the job done. Often not knowing what the results would be but always having faith that things would work out for the best. Consequently it comes with the territory especially working in low resource settings. It has also been humbling to work in the nursing profession both educationally and clinically in Rwanda and living as a foreigner.
I want to leave you with two closing thoughts that have ultimately affected my time in Rwanda. The first is the story of relationships and how they sustained me this past year. They say its “not how many times you fall but how many times you get up.” My successes this year have been a testament of the people around me. I have been able to rekindle relationships and create new ones with both Rwandan and American colleagues. They have helped me to become a better practitioner by using my knowledge and resourcefulness to provide better care in addition to serving as an outlet of support when encountering frustrations and providing recommendations to improve nursing practice and education. Even on a day to day level they have helped me to navigate living in a new country and provided the kind of support and love that I can only hope to be able to reciprocate in gratitude and appreciation one day.
Secondly, I leave Rwanda optimistic that my colleagues are progressing in the right direction. I applaud the efforts taking place nationwide but in particular the work that I saw my Rwandan nursing colleagues doing in the ICU and NICU at Kanombe Military Hospital. They are raising the bar for Rwandan nursing and providing a shining example that against all odds, nursing can be and will be improved in the country to provide better care for its citizens.
Finally on a larger scale, Pan-Africanism is alive and well. I have been fortunate to have travelled to five other African countries while living in Rwanda and the continent is transforming rapidly in all sectors. The new global frontier is, and will continue to be the continent of Africa. However it is important to monitor how these changes work to improve the quality of life for all the continents citizens.