Meet Dr. Bonshi MUSHUMO
Emergency doctor at Medair
We had the privilege of sitting down with Dr. Bonshi, an emergency doctor with Medair DRC since 2017. He has played a crucial role in various humanitarian emergencies in eastern DRC. Soon to be 40, Dr. Bonshi is a devoted husband and father of three, including a beautiful little girl he affectionately calls Alex. He lives out his passion to serve by going to the most remote villages to provide care to underserved populations. Dr. Bonshi graciously agreed to answer a few questions:
Could you tell us about your background, training and experience?
I was born and raised in Goma. I’m a trained doctor, and hold a medical degree from the Catholic University of Bukavu, in a town near Goma. Initially, I worked as a general practitioner in public health structures. Five years later, I joined Medair as an emergency doctor.
How did you first learn about Medair?
I discovered Medair during a health emergency involving malaria and cholera in Ngomashi and Mahya within Masisi territory. These two isolated regions had never been reached by any organization, but Medair stepped in and provided medical aid to local health structures.
How did you decide to join Medair?
My decision to join Medair wasn’t just about changing my status, but also about taking part in this unique work – that of aiding the needy in very remote, inaccessible areas, abandoned even by the government. Witnessing Medair’s dedication to providing high-quality aid left a profound impact on me.
“But all that is no match for the perfect joy that drives us, the joy of knowing that we are helping to relieve suffering”.
Tell us about your work – as if you were telling someone who has never worked in the field.
As far as my job is concerned, I must admit that it’s not easy. You often have to leave your family in the city, go to small villages, climb big mountains, cross big rivers on makeshift bridges, go through dense forests and spend nights in less-than-ideal accommodations. But all that is no match for the perfect joy that drives us, the joy of knowing that we’re helping to alleviate the suffering of a patient whose body and soul are suffering because of pain and despair. For me, every smile that I manage to wring from a face is a victory. We’re helping to restore their health and dignity, and that’s what our work in the field is all about.
Where have you worked with Medair?
Over the last few years, I’ve participated in a number of rapid response operations for displaced populations, namely in: Butale and Kibarizo, in the Mweso health zone in Masisi; Pinga and Mpety in the Pinga health zone; Hombo Nord in Walikale; Birambizo in Rutchuru; Uvira, Bunyakiri and Kalehe in South Kivu; the Mangala health zone in Djugu territory and Bafwasende in Tshopo.
Among other things, I have also worked in several villages in South Lubero, in the depths of Walikale and Masisi territory.
What aspects do you find most rewarding?
Working with Medair gives me that feeling that I’m part of a greater mission, one that serves God, and that’s the best part of my job.
What are the most challenging aspects?
In general, being a humanitarian in the eastern part of the DRC, a region plagued by armed conflict, is no easy feat. Both in urban and rural settings, danger lurks everywhere. My work sometimes takes place in areas controlled by armed groups where the roads are impassable, making environments hard to reach. But despite this, we remain vigilant, and always try to make sure that we do our best to help.
“We have to change lifestyles every month and adapt to different cultures”.
Do you have any interesting anecdotes/observations about life and work in the field?
Working in the field is an interesting experience. On the one hand, we’re met with profound poverty, and we deeply feel the suffering and despair that people experience. On the other hand, we’re always relieved when we bring a little smile to their bruised hearts. We constantly have to change our way of life and adapt to different cultures as we move through the field.
What advice would you give to someone considering a role with Medair?
My advice is to make sure that you’re a humanitarian and that you’re spiritually prepared, because at Medair, whether you’re in the office or in the field, everything revolves around one goal: to serve the communities we serve. Medair is also a school of life skills, a school of humanitarian life skills, a school of strengthening the Christian faith, and a school of capacity building in caring for shattered lives – and above all, teamwork, the pillar of all success.