Who Can Participate?
The medical mission project in Rwanda is open to any health care professionals who are interested in going. Limited non-clinical activities are also available for spouses and teenage children of participants.
To apply, select an option below:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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."