Why I’m moving to Rwanda

I’m posting two posts in parallel–the more asked for but abstract ‘why I’m moving to Rwanda’ and a post with a picture from Haiti and anecdote from New York.

Why I’m Moving to Rwanda
Many of you have asked me this or been on the receiving end of one of my abstract questions on your own dreams. Here is my answer and the categories in which I’m thinking.

The short version: I intend my life to be characterized by service, learning and love, while I take into account my need for challenge and community in seeking to follow God in using my gifts to make an impact on people’s true good with a particular ambition of using my current freedom to address great needs on the technical side of global health.

The rest of this post just explains what I mean by that 60 word run-on sentence.

Categories: I’ll separate this into four categories (you may have heard me ask you for these in your life, so I’ll include my definitions):

* What I want to Characterize my life: what I want to be true of me no matter what my life ends up looking like.
* My personal needs: traits true of me that I need to take into account when considering the structure of a phase in my life.
* What I’m optimizing: the trait to help decide between multiple possible good directions
* My particular ambitions and responsibilities: What is unique to my situation, past, and preferences. This helps limit the infinite possibilities of the optimization criteria.

What I want to Characterize my Future
These are three traits I came up with senior year of college looking towards what came next and they have only become more true of my desire
Serve: My time should be spent to contribute to something greater.
Learn: I want every stage of life to enable future stages.
Love: Though my bent is technical and abstract (cf. this blog) I intend to care for other individuals, become close friends, truly care for them, and act on it.

My Personal Needs
I’ve noted two major categories of needs I have in order to flourish in a given environment: Challenge and interpersonal interaction/community. These are the main two traits that energize me. Challenges have historically produced virtuous cycles in me requiring order, work, energy, and drive to address–and they are just fun.

I’m also extremely extroverted in the technical sense of being around people energizes me. Having a community to provide this input, play, and engage is a blessing I’ve enjoyed everywhere I’ve lived.

What I’m Optimizing
I follow God in using my aptitudes, skills, experiences, resources, and time to address the way I can have the greatest impact on people’s true good.

I follow God who forgives and gives direction and character to the rest of my life. I’ve lately been considering the following from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, “By grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand.”

Following God, i use what I’ve been given–from God, my parents, my community, the many who’ve invested in me and forgiven me–to contribute to others true good. There are lots of things this could look like–if I had the opportunity to make a systematic improvement to fatherhood in the united states, I’d do that. As it is, I see need that I can well address in the area of global health technologies.

My personal ambitions and responsibilities
Currently, I have few responsibilities (OK, really few as I’ve left most of them with various levels of handoff over the last few weeks in Wheaton) as I have no children or major sickness in my family. Given this freedom, my ambition is to contribute systematically to the technical side of global health.

This really attracted me while I was in Kenya and connected with me ever since as a location of great need, where great impact can be made systematically especially on the technical side of things. This could include engineering (some groups like PATH do great work in this space), in operations¬†process, or in IT where I’ve been working lately.

What I’m doing in Rwanda:
Partners in Health in Rwanda is Inshuti Mu Buzima. They have been working with the Rwandan Ministry of Health on developing their Electronic Medical Record system using the OpenMRS platform.

Business Analyst: My first role in Rwanda is as the business analyst. This is the IT concept of someone who helps clinicians or businesspeople understand, define, and approve the way a system could be designed that would help them solve problems. In Rwanda, I’ll be working with the Partners in Health associated health facilities to determine what makes the most sense to work on, how it will be designed, and translate this into what the developers can use.

Software Development Manager: I’ll be managing a few Developers in Rwanda to help solve these clinical needs. We will work to improve how we develop currently, the interactions with the Ministry of Health, and the skills fo the team overall.

Where I’ll be living: I’ll be living and working with PIH staff including Rwandans and expatriots. It doesn’t have all American luxuries but it will be comfortable.

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One Response to “Why I’m moving to Rwanda”

  1. thentheyremembered Says:

    I’m proud of you. Your friendship makes me a better person.

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