August 1, 2014

Obstinate Optimism—on the road to prosperity and meaning in Rwanda

Sanjeev Kumar, Assistant Professor of Health Management at the National University of Rwanda School of Public Health
I recently had the opportunity to go to Rwanda and teach a short course on health economics to the Master in Healthcare and Hospital Administration program at the University of Rwanda School of Public Health. It was my first trip to Africa, and I was eager to observe and grapple with the central challenges facing a growing economy. I entered Rwanda full of excitement with a smattering of anxiety stemming from the uncertainty of new surroundings. I left Rwanda with an intense yearning to return, inspired by the enormous possibilities for growth and the dedication and the openness of the population there to make these possibilities real. 
The change in my attitude was fostered by the obstinate optimism in the air of Rwanda: From the local commitment to the built environment, to the unusual discipline and dedication of the GHLI team strengthening and building Rwandan health sector, my experience rekindled my desire to provide people with the tools to improve the public health in their communities. My conversations with the faculty and students filled me with hope and enthusiasm to help find ways to combat poverty and disease. I had a tremendous time enjoying the local fruits and foods, engaging with the local culture and experiencing Rwanda’s enchanting natural beauty. Because my description can’t do it justice, I would encourage any reader with a sense of adventure to see it for themselves. As recent events have shown us and my experience has reminded me, we are all connected for better or for worse—I think for better. 

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