March 20, 2018
Thursday, March 15th was Patients’ Day in Rwanda. All over the country, hospitals and social services spent the day organizing events to lift up and deliver hope to people in need of healing. Agahozo-Shalom’s Healthy Living Group spent the week leading up to the event gathering donations from among the Village community to be delivered to the local Rwamagana Hospital.
ASYV social worker, Theophilia Ingabire described, "In each family we have one student who is in charge of health in the family and we organize this event to empower our students in healthy Tikkun Olam activities. We come here with a sketch and poem, which will display a message to the patients about how to prevent disease like malaria and how to buy health insurance on time. I think the donations we came with [will] help people who are suffering."
On the day of the event, the Healthy Living group piled into a bus with all of their collected donations and traveled to Rwamagana Hospital. The event was held in the courtyard of the hospital. Three large white tents hosted an audience of patients, doctors, nurses, and local officials who had gathered to honor the day. The Healthy Living Group arrived with bags of clothes and laundry detergent, and over 100,000 Rwandan Francs raised from the ASYV community.
When asked what it meant to be at Patients’ Day, student Ange Mukeshimana answered, "It's a pleasure to be here and to help the people who are sick. I'm giving something that they need, soap and clothing. I'm here to see how people react. To help them not be worried, to encourage them." Ange later performed in a sketch along with other Healthy Living Group members. "The sketch is to encourage," she said.
After the students’ sketch, student Anitha Niyomuhoza wrote and performed a poem titled, "Humura Nturi Wenyine - Do Not Worry, You Are Not Alone." Anitha said that, "The poem is about confronting sick people. Many people who are sick lose hope. We are here telling people that we think of them, that we care about them. I thought of doing something that can give hope, I didn't have money. But by using my hands I felt like I could write something that would help them feel that they are not alone."
When the performances and speeches had concluded, the students went to one of the hospital wards to deliver donated goods directly to the patients.
Submitted by Noah Wolf-Prusan, Village Fellow 2018