This is what our hospice in Rwanda is all about

Rwanda

Rwanda is one of the smallest countries on the African continent, and the most densely populated one. There are around 463 inhabitants per 1km2 here! Due to its natural landscape, Rwanda is sometimes referred to as a land of a thousand hills, and due to its history, also a land of a thousand problems.

Overview:
  • around 12 million inhabitants
  • in 1994, it was a place of genocide – in 100 days, about 1 million people of the Tutsi tribe were murdered, 2 million escaped from the country
  • agricultural country – farming generates about 63% of income from export (including coffee, tea, bananas)
In 2021, we organized long-term palliative care for

31

persons in the country

24.01.2022

Mr Marcel is 85 years old. During the Rwandan genocide he lost everything he held most dear – his five children. He was left alone with his wife, and for several years now, since he has been fighting cancer, his constant visits to hospitals have forced him to part even with her.

Unfortunately, the treatment did not bring any improvements. Finally, already in a serious condition, Mr Marcel was brought to our hospice in Kabuga. With bedsores and breathing difficulties, he was unable to get out of bed. After several weeks under the care of our staff, Mr Marcel regained his strength. His illness continues to progress, but today he can move around on his own in his wheelchair. He makes daily trips around the hospice, looking for companions to talk to.

Our patient comes most alive when his equally elderly wife appears at the hospice door. You can see how much they miss each other. They love talking to each other and Marcel’s hearing loss doesn’t seem to bother them at all. When his wife asks her husband to come home with her because she misses him so much, Mr Marcel replies: “Do you want to stay here? There is already a man in my room and he occupies the bed next to me. But Sister Maria will certainly find you a place in another room and you can be close to me”. After a prolonged exchange of often amusing dialogue and compliments, the wife leaves and Mr Marcel shouts after her: “Come back as soon as possible darling. See you later.”

Yesterday, our hero put the whole hospice on edge by demanding that his former pupil Tom be called as soon as possible. “It is urgent! Let Sister Marysia find him as soon as possible,” he repeated. Immediately the sister came running with the phone. The conversation went like this:

“Come! I need you!” asked Mr. Marcel

“Today it is not possible. Visits to the hospice are limited, you know that. I will come in a few days” explained Tom.

“OK. You don’t have to come, but send me 3.000FRW (3$)”

– I’ll tell Sister Maria to give it to you and I’ll pay her back later” suggested Tomek.

After the conversation, Sister Maria gave Mr. Marcel the promised $3, curiously asking what he needed it for. With full calmness in his voice, he explained that the new nurse in the hospice lived in the same area as his wife. Taking advantage of the situation, he wanted him to buy 1 kg of sugar for her. He wanted to save the rest (1.8 $) to give her later.

Even age and illness have not dampened Mr Marcel’s more than sixty years of love and care for his wife, even in such a small thing as refilling the household sugar bowl.

And that is exactly what our hospice in Rwanda is all about. Here, despite the pain and suffering present every day, one lives fully to the end. The fact that such a place – the only one in the whole country – can exist is thanks to you. It is you who give our patients hope and strength when everything has lost  meaning for them. GoodWorks 24/7 today and fund at least one day of hospice care for Mr Marcel.

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