“He’s in the office there. Go listen to his lungs and tell me if you have any idea what he has,” one of my American colleagues said to me.
I walked into the office and saw two adolescents, both of whom appeared to be no older than 10. The boy’s shoulders and head were too large for his stunted, thin frame. His skin was flaking and hugged close to the skeleton. His lips were purple instead of brown. The girl was larger and had a round moon face. Her cheeks were puffy from a medication side effect. They were thumbing through a coloring book placed among a suitcase full of donated toys. I had only been in Rwanda for three weeks at this point and hadn’t met either of the two chronically ill children who were fixtures on the pediatric ward.