Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Rwanda part I

3/22/15 Nikunj Chauhan

Rwanda, here I come

“Sir, come here please. What’s in all those bags?” the customs officer remarked to me. Ohhhh I was so close to the exit, I thought. I have three oversized suitcases completely filled with catheters, needle, surgical gowns, gloves, lidocaine, syringes, and numerous other supplies and had been worried about this exact situation the whole flight over. I should be okay with it because I had talked my way out of things a few times before in India. But I wasn’t.

“Just some medical supplies,” I remarked.

“Open, please” he said. I did what I was told. “Oh wow. Do you have approval from Ministry of Health?”

“No, but I have this letter from CHUK,” I said. Luckily, four days ago I had thought about this issue and asked Dr. Rosman, the expatriate radiologist who we would be working with, to send me this letter; but I was really unsure that this would actually work.
“You need approval from the Ministry. I think we need to keep the bags and call Ministry in the morning. If they are okay, you come back and take bags.”

Well at least they aren’t taking me to some back room, I thought. But on the other hand, I will probably never see this supplies again if I go with this. I had to think quickly.

“Okay, fine, but I cannot come back. So just throw them out right now.”

“Huh?” he looked a bit confused.

“Yes just throw them out.”

“I come back.” He went over to his colleague in the office across from where I was standing and they chatted a way for several minutes and finally he comes back over.

“Okay you go now. But we keep this letter,” he said, waving Dr. Rosman’s letter around.

“Sounds good. Thank you.” I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans and confidently (I hope) wheeled my cart filled with all of my suitcases out the door and into the ridiculously hot Rwandan night.

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