As the activities of the Burundi Clubfoot Program continue to increase, we had a blessing of a new worker who will be our Counseling Coordinator. Her name is Angelique Iribagiza, and she started in April. As it is the culture and the value in CURE International, after her recruitment, she benefited with a two week training in Rwanda. She did theory and on field practices, including supervision and counseling.
While in Rwanda, after her two weeks of training we had a discussion on her general view of the program and Rwanda.
What is your first impression of CURE Clubfoot work after your two weeks of training in Rwanda?
Angelique: My first impression was nice and full of curiosity about the clubfoot program in Rwanda. The team welcomed me warmly, and I felt that I was accepted. After the introduction of the team members and all the rooms of the office, we focused actively on the objectives of my presence in Rwanda.
They gave me the timetable of my two week training, and I was wondering if I would really be able to achieve it, but my trainers were very kind and cooperative, so I began learning my skills on clubfoot.
Pascal Kayishema, the program manager of Burundi Clubfoot Program, began by letting me know that the first thing I have to have in my mind is to be always connected and to respond promptly to any emails or other work issues, to respect deadlines, and especially to communicate.
He taught in general about clubfoot by giving many explanations; he let me ask as many questions as I had, and he responded. I appreciated the way he taught me simply and deeply, and I never felt bored. He tried to teach me slowly and surely, and he made sure by cleverly asking me to do a small summary of what I learned the last day in order to begin a new lesson by making sure that the subjects taught on were well caught.
I also liked the way I’ve been trained by each one of the team members by receiving some advice, learning skills, and asking questions in details. They were kind to me, which allow me to assimilate quickly, remember the lessons, and I was always free to ask them about one or another thing which was not clear to me.
What did you like in Rwanda and in the Rwanda clubfoot program team during your two weeks training?
Angelique: First I like the way there is a kind of fraternity, and I felt like I knew them before because they are really and truly kind. I did not have any problem expressing myself on what I thought or what I wanted to suggest. It was like I was used to being with them. I learned many things about clubfoot. Another thing I appreciate is the spirit of God which you always see and feel among the team and which is also seen among the patients.
A very large point of appreciation is also the mindset of working in teams. You feel like you’re just like brothers and sisters. They are soft, gentle, and helping in all levels. There is that spirit of mutual respect without many protocols and that made my two weeks working among the team amazing.
I can’t forget how the team taught me a lot about the Ponseti method and the Pirani scoring. At the end of the day, I think I learned many skills on the medical side of the CURE clubfoot program. The way they combine the medical, spiritual, and psychosocial sides touched my heart and taught me that we’re really created to work together in teams to build patient’s lives in and out.
I really appreciated the field visits which allowed me to see the differences between clinics and patients according to their places.
What is your plan regarding the Burundi Clubfoot Program?
Angelique: My plan is first to meet the Burundi team and to share experiences with them and to try to implement what I’ve learned here. A training is being planned to help them to begin using the new tools of counseling. Field visits are also planned to allow me to share experiences and improve from what I’ve seen in Rwanda and what is being done there.