Medical Ministry International in Rwanda
Medical Ministry International first traveled to Rwanda with Dr. Pete & Judy Obregon leading the surgical teams over many years. Today, Peta-Ann Schmidt is the Project Director and plans the projects from her home base in South Africa. Dr. Pete & Judy Obregon also continue to provide leadership. Our short-term teams in Rwanda have partnered with Kibogora Hospital, which was initiated in the 1940s by American missionary Reverend Frank Adamson. In 2019, we are sending our first team to Byumba to work in partnership with the Ruhenda Health Centre and EAR Diocese in Byumba, providing specialized eye care and dental services.
Medical Ministry International teams provides medical and surgical expertise and support in cooperation with the medical staff at hospitals. A variety of surgeries are performed including obstetric and gynecological care to young women. In addition, Medical Ministry International participants conduct informal & formal teaching and training sessions, bed-side visits and prayers, kids club, supply sorting, chart filing, chapel time, and devotional time to create an impact and be impacted by the communities in which we work.
Peta-Ann Schmidt also leads Medical Ministry International’s projects in Zambia. She is a physical therapist working in private practice in her native country, South Africa. Peta-Ann found out about Medical Ministry International through our website and participated as a volunteer on a project in Peru in 2005. She is excited about the opportunity to serve the people of southern Africa in such an effective way.
Health Care Project with Kibogora Hospital:
Medical Ministry International’s work in Rwanda began with a partnership with Kibogora Hospital. The hospital was started by missionary nurses in the early 1960’s and is located on the shores of Lake Kivu, about five hours from the capital Kigali in the centre of Rwanda. A population of approximately 250,000 persons are serviced here, and the hospital is a referral centre for 12 outlying health centres. A lack of access to healthcare and highly trained health care workers has meant that only 40% of the population has access to health care. Rwanda is currently in the process of decentralizing health care, however rural areas are still under-serviced. Rwanda has made much progress in the field of maternal, newborn, and child health.
Byumba is a city in northern Rwanda, and is the capital of Gicumbi District. It has a population of over 70,500. Rwanda is one of the poorest countries on the African continent, and has great health care needs. According to Rwanda’s Ministry of Health, there is only one doctor for every 50,000 people, and 103 children out of 1,000 die before they reach the age of five. Only 40% of the population has access to adequate health care.
* Project Description: To provide quality eye care and dental care to the community of Byumba and surrounding areas, by working in partnership with the Ruhenda Health Centre and EAR Diocese in Byumba, providing specialized eye care and dental services where they are not available. Participants will be hosted in the Byumba EAR Anglican Guesthouse, and will be be working at the Ruhenda Health Centre.
The climate in Byumba is warm and temperate. Byumba is a city with a significant rainfall, about 1144 mm of precipitation falls annually. In Byumba, the average annual temperature is 16°C (60°F).
Travelling on a Project
Entry & Exit Requirements
Travelers must present a passport, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure. Tourist visa is required.
Important: It is very important that all participants bring the correct paperwork for the working visa.
• Americans: Need to obtain a visa on arrival at airport in Rwanda ($30), and then must also apply for a Working visa in-country ($80).
For more information, see the US State Department website:
• Canadians: Need to obtain an Tourist visa PRIOR to entering Rwanda ($50USD), and then must also apply for a Working visa in-country ($80). Apply for a Tourist Visa online at:
• International: Please contact MMI office or Raptim Humanitarian Travel for visa requirement if needed.
Please email ALL CREDENTIALS upon application, as these must go to the Project Director in the country to be translated and then taken to the Ministry of Health to get temporary licenses prior to your arrival.
• For everyone, we need:
- Colour Scan / Photocopy of Passport (photo page)
- Colour photo for your name badge (any good photo, we can adjust size)
- Travel Itinerary
- Supply Lists
• Medical Professionals, we also need your:
- Current License (through time of project)
- Diploma (Techs, Nursing, Dental, MD and Board Certifications)
- Curriculum Vitae or Resume (this also will help the Project Director know your skills & experience to assign you a task on the project, especially for 1st time participants)
• Health Care Students: Letter of Good Standing from your school (including year of study and graduation date).
• All MINORS travelling with only one parent, or without their parents, will need a letter from BOTH parents stating that it is OK for the child to travel with one parent or an appointed guardian. The letter should be signed and notarized. MMI needs a copy of this letter, and the parent or guardian should carry the orignial letter while travelling.
Once you have been accepted on the project, you can contact our designated travel agency to arrange your travel and coordinate your arrival the team.
Raptim Humanitarian Travel: https://www.raptim.org/
• US Applicants: Travel costs are arranged directly with the travel agent and are in addition to the Participant Project Donation.
Contact our “Serve Team 2”: ServeTeam2.email@example.com
Direct Toll Free: 1-844-882-3233 and ask for the agents by name or extension.
Lead Agents – Claudia (ext. 13302), or Michael (ext. 15004).
• Canadian Applicants: Donations to MMI for travel are in addition to the Participant Project Donation.
Contact our “We Partner” team: firstname.lastname@example.org
905-465-4300 or Toll Free: 1-844-442-6978 & ask for the agents by name.
Lead Agents - Anca (ext. 32327), or Connie (ext. 31771).
• International Applicants: Travel arrangement can be procured locally or following the Canadian instructions above.
• Airport: Kigali International Airport (KGL), Kigali, Rwanda
We strongly recommend that you consult a travel clinic, as they are aware of outbreaks and can suggest preventative immunizations. All routine immunizations should be up-to-date. Please check the following website for the most current information.
• Americans: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/rwanda
• Canadians: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/rwanda
Accommodations and Meals
MMI will arrange local accommodations for the team.
• Laundry Service: usually available for additional fee
• AC/Heat: No
• Phone Service: check with your cell phone provider, roaming is very expensive
• Wifi/Internet: Yes
• Voltage: 220V(adaptor and converter required).
• Meals: MMI will provide meals for the team. Dietary restrictions can be indicated on your application and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. Be sure to bring your own re-usable water bottle with a wide mouth for refilling. Purified water is supplied. If you would like to bring snacks to have throughout the day, please bring items such as peanut butter, granola bars, trail mix or pretzels and crackers in sealable containers (like Ziploc bags).
• Language: Kinyarwanda (official) 93.2%, and other languages 6.2%.
- Roman Catholic: 49.5%
- Protestant: 39.4%
- Other Christian: 4.5%
- Muslim: 1.8%
- Other: 3.6%
• Government: Presidential Republic
The money in Rwanda is called the Rwandan Franc (RWF). MMI staff will help you exchange money. All major credit cards are accepted - Visa and MasterCard the most widely accepted (make sure to call your credit card company and let them know that you’ll be traveling internationally). Traveler’s cheques are not easily cashed. You must bring US dollars in good condition. Torn, stamped or old bills will not be exchanged. $100 bills older than 2006 are also not accepted.
Rwanda’s economy is primarily based on agriculture, particularly coffee, tea, bananas, sorghum, and potatoes. Kinyarwanda, English, and French are all official languages. Lake Kivu is one the African Great Lakes, and is a center for tectonic activity which results in unique water overturns. Rwanda is known as the "Land of the Thousand Hills", and is one of the few places in the world today where Mountain Gorillas can be seen in the wild. The population of Rwanda is young and predominantly rural, with a density among the highest in Africa. Rwandans are drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda, although within this group there are three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa.
Rwanda's economy suffered heavily during the 1994 genocide, with widespread loss of life, failure to maintain infrastructure, looting, and neglect of important cash crops. The economy has since strengthened. Coffee and tea are the major cash crops for export, with the high altitudes, steep slopes and volcanic soils providing favourable conditions. An estimated 90% of the working population farms green bananas, potatoes, beans, cassava, wheat and maize.
Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north of Burundi
2 00 S, 30 00 E
Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Uganda
0 km (landlocked)
Temperate; two rainy seasons (February to April, November to January); mild in mountains with frost and snow possible
Mostly grassy uplands and hills; relief is mountainous with altitude declining from west to east
Rusizi River - 950 m
Volcan Karisimbi - 4,519 m