I have wanted to visit the Butaro hospital in Rwanda for several years, having heard a number of great things about its mission. What I didn’t realize is that its located within the region of the Shyira Diocese. So last Saturday Bishop Mbanda, Bishop-elect Sam and I drove several thousand feet up into the hills above Lake Berara for a visit. It turns out that day was also ground-breaking for a new global medical college, that will have a relationship with Harvard Medical School and several other outstanding institutions.
Butaro Hospital opened in 2011 and is regarded by many as the finest hospital in central Africa. With 150 beds, it also offers things not usually heard of here, such as a NICU, advanced surgical capabilities and the only cancer treatment center in rural East Africa. Partners in Health, led by well-known physician Dr. Paul Farmer, founded the hospital in conjunction with Rwanda Ministry of Health, with the Cancer Center receiving funding from the Clinton Foundation. In fact, Bill Clinton has visited the site several times.
There is a lot of information shared about the tremendous growth Rwanda has experienced in its economy over the last 10 years, especially, and you see that in many ways, particularly in the capitol city of Kigali. But there remains much need and poverty–even rumors of food shortages in certain areas of the country recently. And the rural areas, in particular, remain vulnerable to disease and deprivation. So a hospital like this serves the most needy. Its good to see people who face some of the most difficult life situations able to receive some of the best medical treatment, thanks to the vision of a person like Paul Farmer, who serves in Jesus’ name.
God gives us humans everything we need to flourish, but he’s not the one who’s supposed to divvy up the loot. . . You want to see where Christ crucified abides today? Go to where the poor are suffering and fighting back, and that’s where He is.—Dr. Paul Farmer