My First Week in Kigali, Rwanda – Maddy

I’m having such a wonderful time in Kigali, Rwanda so far! It’s hard to know
where to start. I feel like I’ve been here forever, but it’s only been a week.

Kigali is a beautiful, beautiful city and I’ve felt very safe everywhere I have gone.

View of Kigali from the Kigali Genocide Memorial

View of Kigali from the Kigali Genocide Memorial

My homestay is within the grounds of a technical school where I am taking classes for the first month. I live with a house mom, house dad, and their adorable one year old son, Adore.


My house’s backyard, chickens, and the stove that they cook food on

The housekeepers speak little English and only a bit of French, so I am learning the native Kinyarwanda language quickly. Despite the language barrier, we laugh a lot together and I can tell we are going to be great friends.

There is electricity about 70% of the time, but there is rarely running water. The water comes on for a few minutes some nights and we rush to fill as many buckets as we can to use for showering and flushing the toilet. However, everyone I have met has a phone, many have smartphones. I was able to buy a USB Internet modem for my computer: 5GB of Internet cost 15000 Rwandan francs, or about $20. Hopefully it will last me a while.

So far, my days have been focused on settling in to Kigali, learning Kinyarwanda (and some French), and trying to get a better understanding of healthcare needs in the developing world. We visited a lab where Rwandan students are trained to become Biomedical Engineering Technicians (BMETS). There, we took apart some equipment to see how it works and the technicians talked about common problems and how to repair and test them.

In July, my partner and I will move to a city in the northern province, Musanze to work at Ruhengeri Hospital. This month, I just want to learn as much as I can so I can be as effective as possible during my month-long stay in Ruhengeri.

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About Maddy

I am a rising senior in Tulane's Department of Biomedical Engineering. This summer, I will be working in Rwanda with a program called Engineering World Health. My primary role will be repairing and installing medical equipment in a small village hospital, but I will also be working with local doctors and engineers to design new medical equipment with the constraints of a developing nation's health care system in mind.

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