Providing care in Lake Kivu, Rwanda.

Mugonero Hospital is a 104-bed general hospital nestled among the small villages overlooking the placid waters of Lake Kivu in western Rwanda. It is about four hours by car from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, and the international airport. The hospital provides services in internal medicine, general surgery, maternity and pediatrics, HIV-AIDS treatment and awareness programs, nutrition education, and mental health. The hospital strives to meet the needs of the 70,000 villagers who seek its services annually.

The medical mission project is to provide orthopaedic and maternity care for patients at Mugonero Hospital and primary care to people living in the villages surrounding the hospital.

In addition to its medical services, the medical mission program has teamed up with University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, the Center for Global Health at the University of Colorado and USAID to provide medical education and training in the region.

One of the special needs that GHI is addressing in Rwanda is the congenital deformity of clubfoot.

  • Time and Cost Requirements

    The project will last 9 days, including travel, with optional gorilla trekking, national park sightseeing, and/or a safari before or after.  Here is an outline of the trip schedule:

    • Depart Denver for Brussels
    • Arrive Brussels in the morning and connect to the next flight to Kigali, Rwanda; arrive Kigali in the evening 
    • Tour Kigali and visit genocide museum; afternoon transfer by car to Ruhengeri (to see the gorillas) or to Mugonero Hospital
    • Visit the mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park or rest at Mugonero Hospital
    • Transfer to Mugonero Hospital
    • Surgery at Mugonero Hospital and projects at L'Esperance orphanage
    • Transfer to Moriah Hill Resort on Lake Kivu
    • Transfer to Kigali; evening flight to Brussels
    • Arrive Brussels, connect to flight back to Denver

    This trip will be covered by a non-refundable, fully tax-deductible, all-inclusive trip donation of $3,300.

    For those interested, here are several optional tourist excursions:

    • Gorilla safaris in Rwanda's Parc National des Volcans (one or two days). For more information visit Rwanda Tourism website. 
    • Safaris in Kenya's national parks. One of the more famous is Masai Mara. For more information visit the Magical Kenya website.
  • What is not included in the project cost?

    Spending money should be brought for any souvenirs, personal items, or additional snacks that are desired. Tips for local porters or other service providers are greatly appreciated and can provide important financial assistance to needy individuals. An easy recommendation is to bring one-dollar bills that can be used for tips. Additional sightseeing activities organized at the end of the mission project are not included in the project cost. If there is an additional baggage charge for two bags, this cost will be added to the airfare cost for each participant.

  • Financial Assistance

    Currently, there is no financial assistance available for community health teams.

  • IRS Regulations

    The IRS allows you to claim a charitable contribution deduction for your personal travel expenses (including airfare, lodging, meals, and local transportation) for these international medical mission projects. Any additional expenses for optional sightseeing cannot be deducted.

  • Passport and Visa Information

    A valid passport is required for entry into Rwanda. Be sure your passport does not expire within six months of returning to the U.S. If you travel to Kenya after the mission week, Kenya requires a visa which costs $50 and is available at the airport in Nairobi.

    In case of emergency, a copy of each participant's passport is kept at the Centura Health administrative office during the length of the trip. It is also highly recommended that each participant carry a photocopy of his or her passport on the trip.

  • Lodging and Meals

    Lodging and meals for the entire mission project are included in the trip costs. We will be staying at guesthouses at Mugonero Hospital. The rooms have two or three beds each, are clean, and most have private bathrooms.

    Meals are also provided and will be eaten at the hospital. In honor of our sponsors' health principles, no alcohol will be served during meals that are provided. Alcohol is not permitted on the hospital campus or in the guest houses.

  • Insurance Waiver and Release Information

    Emergency medical evacuation insurance is provided for each participant of the trip. However, the insurance policy provided does not include cancellation coverage. Participants who wish to have this type of insurance are responsible to purchase their own trip cancellation insurance.

    participation in medical mission projects can expose participants to illness, accidents, or other dangerous situations. It is the responsibility of each participant to have adequate life, health, or other insurance that is necessary for the trip.

    Participants in the mission projects are volunteers and as such are required to sign a waiver and release form which verifies Centura Health, its hospitals, and/or the Rocky Mountain Healthcare Foundation are not responsible for any injuries, loss, and/or damage to personal property that may occur during this mission project or tourist excursions. If there is an additional baggage charge for two bags, this cost will be added to the airfare cost for each participant.

  • Travel Safety

    Rwanda has made impressive progress in establishing a safe and stable environment since the horrific genocide in 1994. Since then, the national government has been working hard to prevent any future human disasters from occurring. Government leaders are some of the most honest in Africa, and visitors to Rwanda should have no problems in touring the country. As in any foreign country, however, care should be taken to avoid pickpockets.

    For international travel safety, visit the US Passport & International Travelwebsite.

  • Climate Dress and Decorum

    The climate at Mugonero is relatively mild. The elevation is around 1500 meters (4500 feet). Buildings, however, are not well heated. Warmer clothing, especially at night, is recommended. It is best to layer clothes.

    As health care professionals and as representatives of Centura Health, dress and decorum should be appropriate. Further details about dress and decorum can be obtained from the Project Director.

  • Luggage

    International airlines allow for 50 lbs. per bag of checked luggage. Flights within Africa, however, have a maximum of 20 kg. (44 lbs). A small carry-on is allowed. Normally, you can check two bags. We recommend that one bag be filled with medical supplies; the second will be for your clothing and personal items.

  • Additional Reading and Information

    One of the most well-known accounts of the genocide in Rwanda is the book "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda" by Philip Gourevitch . This book includes some information about Mugonero Hospital.

    Immaculee Ilibagiza writes of the dramatic story of how she survived the genocide by hiding in a Hutu pastor's tiny bathroom with seven women for 91 days. The story takes place near Kibuye, which is the main city near Mugonero.

    Bishop John, a frequent visitor to Colorado, tells his story about the recent history of Rwanda as written by Thomas Nelson. He provides more insight into the Christian church's role in the genocide and how forgiveness can be found in the most desperate situations.

    Rosamund Carr provides an informative look into an ex-patriot's life in Rwanda. Her love of the country and it's people is heartwarming, and her description of how the country has evolved from colonialism to independence and the to genocide is very informative.

    To learn more about Rwanda, visit the following websites:

    Several films have been produced about the genocide, including:

    • Sometimes in April
    • Hotel Rwanda
    • Ghosts of Rwanda.

    For stories about individuals who have made an impact in the world, the following books are also good reads: 

    • "Mountains Beyond Mountains", the story of Dr. Paul Farmer's work in Haiti, Peru, Russia, and the WHO
    • "Three Cups of Tea", the story of Greg Mortenson and his work to establish schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan
    • "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World", the story of John Wood, founder of "Room to Read."