Monday, April 14, 2008

From Chip Bolman, MD, chief of Cardiac Surgery

I got back yesterday p.m. The trip was an unbelievable experience, probably the most intense and powerful of my life. We operated on 11 Rwandan patients, who came from the four corners of the country. Fortunately, despite extremely challenging conditions and various equipment shortages and breakdowns, they all survived and are doing well. Read the full post.

From Prem Shekar, MD, cardiac surgeon

Team Hearters:
It has been a singular honor and pleasure to work alongside all of you during this mission. It is very clear that it has been a great success. Hats off to Ceeya, Leslie and Chip for this.

It has been my dream that I would try and return to this world (at least in part) what it has given to me in plenty. This dream is now beginning to be realized. And what a great group of people to start doing this extraordinary work with. Barry Shopnick maintains that it takes a special gene to do this kind of work and I believe we have that gene.

I had never imagined that I would be sad leaving this place. But, as I sit in the Departure Lounge of the Kigali Airport (all alone – thanks to my visa adventures), there is a mixed feeling of happiness and sadness. Happy that I have finally started my "payback" journey and sad as I have seen one more time (as I have again and again) that there are people on this planet who lack the very basic necessities that we so easily take for granted. Humility is one lesson that I have learnt from this trip.

It certainly is a beautiful country and with its humble, grateful, happy, traumatized yet determined people. From my end, I thank you all once again for all your efforts in making this possible and I hope all of you will return on the next mission as I surely will.

God bless (and for the atheists, may the force be with you).