A new arrival and more dental care given

Trip Start Apr 10, 2008
Trip End May 12, 2008

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Flag of Rwanda  ,
Saturday, May 3, 2008

We did have that early breakfast this morning after which, the dental team headed off to the center of Kigali. Mr. Mundeli met me at 9:00 so that we could drive together to the airport to pick up Dr. Tom Kirkpatrick who was to arrive at 9:35. He is visiting to see first hand some of what has and is being accomplished by two projects of the UCG Good Works Program which he has overseen since its inception several years ago. I had called Kenya Airways at 8:00 and found that the original flight had been cancelled, and that the new arrival time was to be 12:35. So Mr. Mundeli and I went our separate ways for a few hours to take care of various tasks. He needed to buy his gorilla permit. Dr. Swartz has invited him along with the two ladies, to accompany him Sunday up to the Volcanoes in the north where the mountain gorillas live and can be visited. (While they're all gone, I plan to take Dr. Kirkpatrick to see several genocide memorials in the Kigali region.) While Mr. Mundeli was doing that, I changed some money and ran a few other errands.  We met back at the hotel at 12:00 and drove to the airport in the hotel shuttle.
Dr. Swartz is providing some rather complicated dental care for the man who heads the civil aviation authority for Rwanda. He offered to facilitate Dr. Kirkpatrick's arrival. I called him when we arrived at the airport and was given a pass that allowed me to enter the arrival area and wait for Dr. Kirkpatrick's flight which was only 45 minutes late. We were happy to meet as he reached the terminal building, and we were able to facilitate his entry formalities, and baggage claim. He was driven by special vehicle around the terminal, and through a security gate right to the van in the parking lot, which made his arrival much easier.
He and Mr. Mundeli were introduced as we drove to the hotel. Dr. Kirkpatrick has spent two night in a row on different flights, the first crossing the Atlantic to London and the second from London to Nairobi. He was surprisingly fresh, and asked only time to take a quick shower and change clothes before we drove to the CHK, where we arrived about 3:15 pm. The Good Works dental team was already in high gear. It was a pleasure to see once again Dr. Immaculée Kamanzi, the Head of the Oral Medicine Department at the hospital. I had met her during the project in 2006, and we had visited with her briefly during our family visit to Rwanda in the summer later that year. She is a very talented and dedicated teacher and health-care provider very desirous of improving her knowledge and skills. She works closely with Dr. Swartz, often assisting him as he works so that she can observe first hand the techniques he uses. Dr. Kirkpatrick was introduced to everyone and expressed his joy that the UCG Good Works program was able to serve in such a way. Dr. Kamanzi expressed her thanks on behalf of the hospital for the very good work being accomplished through this project.
We observed several patients being treated. The first had a tumor in his mouth, that was going to be removed by an oral surgeon very soon, but he needed to have a root canal done in preparation for the other surgery. Several other root canals followed, challenging cases that had been "saved" for Dr. Swartz to treat when he could come. One beautiful young woman was in a great deal of pain from her two front teeth. She announced as she took the chair that they hurt so much she wanted just to have them pulled. Dr. Kamanzi told her to wait to see if they could be saved, since, she teased, if her two front teeth were gone she'd have a hard time finding a husband. The young woman replied that if the pain could stop, she'd be willing to do without a husband.
After looking at x-rays which are viewed instantly on his laptop computer thanks to some amazing technology, Dr. Swartz announced that they teeth could be saved. As the procedure neared completion, he jokingly asked if anyone knew the words to the Wedding March in Kinyarwanda. "Here comes the bride" he announced as he finished. I suggested with a smile that the patient should send Dr. Swartz a wedding photo whenever that happy day came around, and she smiled happily as she said she would.  They all worked until fairly near the setting of the sun. Since we're just south of the equator the sun always sets around 6:30 in the evening, hardly varying through the year.
Tomorrow we have agreed upon a 7:30 departure for a full day of activities in Giti, about 2 hours drive from Kigali.
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