So 11 years of schooling and surgical training, 1 year of French language study and today I got to start my first day of work. I have been dreaming, training, praying for this day. It was right into the deep end for me with a ward of 30 surgical inpatients, clinic appointments, working 3 languages and seeing diseases that I have only read about and some I have not even read about. This is the work that I have dreamt of doing for most of my surgical education.
There is much to learn and plenty of room to demonstrate compassion. Like to the 3 year old I saw today with burns over a leg and both her feet, or the elderly lady with metastatic breast cancer and a necrotic breast. The 6 year old hit by a motorcycle with a fractured arm. I was saddened to learn today of a newborn who passed away from an illness with an over 90% survival in North America but a 0% survival here in Burundi. These are the realities of my new world. These are the battles my colleagues and I will be fighting.
It was also a day of smiles from old friends who remembered me during my visit as a surgical resident 3 years ago. It was was a day of excitement seeing all the new changes at the hospital. It was a day of hope as I look forward to the coming years serving here. What a privilege to serve in this capacity. Thank you to those who stand with my family and I in this work.