Cygera, Rwanda

beth HIV class beth dental class

(Above: Beth teaching HIV class, Beth with Dental class)

Final Update from Rwanda

Hand Washing and Safe Water Education

      I have continued visiting individual homes in the village to provide hand washing and safe water education.  Since my last update, I spent three more afternoons visiting homes and have succeeded in reaching all 261 homes in Cyegera  in addition to the previously taught students at Kiruhura Christian College and church in Ruyenzi village.  I am proud to report that total of 1,387 people here have received hand washing and safe water education.  We were initially told by village leadership that there were 256 homes in the village, so I also effectively updated their census information on both number of houses and number of people in Cyegera.

Health Education at Kiruhura Christian College

      Due to holidays and exams at the end of the trimester, my teaching schedule changed several times; however, I rearranged my lesson plans and we successfully completed our public health lessons. The students learned about malnutrition, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, and conjunctivitis, and then wrote a paper on one of these topics to include: definition, causes, consequences, prevention, and a story from related personal experience. They also completed quizzes for evaluation.  The papers and quizzes reflected good understanding of the topics by nearly all of the students.  I discussed mistakes with each student individually who did not receive a perfect score and they appreciated that.  On July 17th, I was honored to attend, by invitation, a meeting of the school administration and parents.

HIV/AIDS Education

On Saturday, July 17, and on Sunday, July 18, two HIV/AIDS classes were held at the church and were open to the public and a total of 110 people attended. Interestingly, many were not members of the school or church, so news had travelled well through the community.  The rapid spread of the disease in sub-Saharan Africa, need for prevention, and methods to prevent the spread were emphasized.   Participants were encouraged to ask questions and they asked many. They are so eager to learn.

Dental Health Education

      Continuing with dental health education I worked with the four employees of the Faith and Hope Children’s Home and also the local church congregation. I gave each of the employees supplies for themselves and their families which will impact twenty people. This is in addition to the students educated previously.  Eighty more participated in this dental education and received supplies at the church. 

Nutrition and Waste-Removal Professional Analysis

      You may recall that while analyzing environmental hazards at the Faith and Hope Children’s Home, I prepared a meal log along with information and pictures on the waste-removal system for analysis by professionals in those fields.   The meal log was sent to a registered dietician for nutrition analysis.  The waste-removal information was sent to a licensed plumber for analysis. I am waiting for their recommendations. I also have pursued information on building raised-bed gardens at the home to help alleviate nutritional gaps. This project is currently waiting for approval by my host organization. I intend to follow through on these unfinished projects even after my official internship experience is over. I feel a personal commitment to them and would like to see the children benefit from their potential.


      I am wrapping up the community and school health education programs and reflecting on my time in Cyegera, Rwanda. Every day has been busy and productive and I will depart knowing the health of the community has and will continue to benefit from my efforts.    I cannot thank Hope Through Healing Hands, the Niswonger Foundation and the ETSU College of Public Health enough for making this opportunity possible - we have definitely made a difference!