On Monday, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital doctor Henry Nieder left for a ten-week trip to the town of Ruhengeri in northern Rwanda carrying a suitcase, a backpack, a slim computer bag and a large equipment bag filled with tennis racquets and balls. Dr. Nieder will work in a clinic assisting Rwandan medical students and present a series of medical lectures that focus on public health issues. It is his second trip to Rwanda. He has volunteered in previous years in Mozambique and in Brazil.
Dr. David Gagnon will take over Dr. Nieder’s primary care practice until he returns to his office on March 24.
Ruhengeri is a stop for travelers visiting the Volcanoes National Park and the area’s indigenous mountain gorillas. Dr. Nieder said he hopes to play a little tennis and will leave the racquets and balls to help support Rwandan tennis. There are few tennis players in Rwanda, and fewer courts, he said, and tennis balls are prized and expensive.