Saturday, May 18, 2013

May 17: Birthday Celebrations and Rwandan Healthcare

Today was a huge day. First of all, it is Jenna's birthday. They day started off with the exchange of handmade birthday cards -- written with pen on ruled paper -- and the usual vats of delicious Rwandan coffee.

Then, at work we finished plastering the walls of the entire innovation centre. We've been plastering pretty much every day since starting to work at Covaga, so it is a huge accomplishment. We also finished making the "portable scaffolding" that we started on yesterday. These will allow us to paint the welded seams between the poles that are now serving as the roof's skeleton.

Also, a big group of bird watchers came through Gashora today, so the women of Covaga brought out all their wares onto the lawn. It was an amazing sight to see, the dozens of women decked out in colourful clothes among the hundreds of woven baskets.

After work, the group went to see Gashora's health centre. Rwanda has made very impressive leaps in the past two decades with regards to social services. We learned earlier that eighty-five percent of Rwandans have health insurance, and that the least wealthy of the population do not pay for any health services. What stood out the most for me while visiting the health centre was the importance placed on family planning and maternal health. Almost half of the main building is dedicated to those services, and couples are encouraged to visit the family planning counsellor where they have access to free contraception.

As our time in Rwanda goes on, my admiration for this country grows. The dedication that it shows towards caring for its people is outstanding, and should serve as an example for other countries not only in Africa, but further abroad as well

Natasha John
DWC Student Team Leader
Rwanda, May 2013

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