Q&A with Andre Ndabarasa, transport supervisor
Can you summarize your professional career?
I joined IMB in 2006. Before this, I was a driver for the World Bank in Kigali. I also worked within the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC). One day, I heard on the radio that PIH needs drivers, so I called and soon after, I became a driver. As the number of staff increased, three more cars were bought to meet the demand and an ambulance was donated. In only one year, I went from being a driver to becoming the head driver for PIH/IMB. Then two years later, in 2009, I was promoted to transport coordinator for PIH/IMB. Last year, in 2016, I became the transport supervisor.
After 11 years at IMB, do you have any anecdotes to share with us?
I have a story that is so unbelievable; you can never imagine that I have been in this same situation two different times! I have had to deliver two babies, in the back of a PIH vehicle, without a doctor or nurse – two times! I had picked up the pregnant women as an emergency but commonly the patients lived many kilometers away from the hospitals, and the roads have many hills and obstacles so it is difficult to drive quickly for the entire route. This whole time I was trying to drive quickly because the woman would be screaming. I never knew if it was because we were hitting so many bumps in the road and it was making her feel worse, so I continued to apologize, but I knew we had to rush to the hospital! There was a point in both deliveries where someone in the back yelled at me to stop the vehicle, come in the back and help, because we had to deliver the baby – NOW! The first time I was scared because I had never done this before in a hospital and especially not in the back of a vehicle without doctors or nurses, and the second time I felt like I could do it all by myself; just kidding! In the end, both deliveries were successful and of course we eventually made it to the hospitals and the babies and mothers received proper care.
As IMB has continuously grown since its installation, how did your work evolve?
In the beginning of IMB, I would go many hours and sometimes days without sleeping and many weeks without going home because there were so many patients who needed help. I had to concentrate and get the patients, doctors and staff where they needed to be on time. It was difficult sometimes because there were no structured hours for me to work. I could work day and night, and often Saturdays and Sundays, too. Now, the work is more organized, and I can be home every night. And even though it can be difficult sometimes, I know we are all working together for a common cause. We all want to help vulnerable, sick, and poor Rwandan people. This makes me content and it is why we all work with courage. Working to help the most vulnerable people in this country is what has made me stay for more than 10 years.
Did IMB contribute to your professional development, if yes, how?
As I mentioned previously, I grew at the same time as IMB, from driver to transport supervisor. And beyond the title/position evolution, I have been able to learn more skills. I can now speak English and I can use a computer, and do some of my work on it thanks to IMB.
Any particular plans for the future?
Right now, I’m supervising the transport unit which includes daily fleet management but also contribute to visitors hosting, and I am happy with that. I love being a part of the growth and expansion of IMB; I plan to work here until I retire.