The final stretch!
Here I am writing you with less than two weeks left of my time in Tanzania. I’m starting to feel a mix of emotions.
As I was hiking this weekend, I was struck by the beautiful serenity of this country and so many of the people in it. These last two weeks I am going to try to live in the present, taking in all of the gifts and lessons this country has offered me, and filling my mind with mental images so I do not soon forget the things I have seen and learned. On another note, our apartment is infested with rats (yes, live rats), and my clothes (which I hand washed on Thursday) have still yet to dry in the cold and damp air… so I am certainly looking forward to going back home and relishing in the luxuries that are offered there which I so often take for granted (and I am really excited to see my family again).
Every day that I am here I learn more and more about the hospital, so each day is new and exciting in it’s own way. For example, yesterday as we were making our rounds about the hospital, we stopped at the maternity ward and asked if anything had recently been broken. To my surprise, the nurses ushered us in and showed us a closet with numerous pieces of equipment which had been out of service for a very long time! We laughed as we asked them “why didn’t you give this to us 16 days ago?!” Another “ah-ha” exciting moment occurred today as we dropped off some equipment in the storage closet for the pharmacy, and came across a full box of replacement parts for one of the pieces of machinery we were working on in the radiology department! I’ve realized that, unlike hosptials in America, where everything is cataologued and stored in a computer system, everything here is stored in someone’s brain. There are certain doctors who know random things about locations of parts and equipment and patients, but no one chooses to organize or write anything down. The piles and piles of useful things are messier then my dormroom! I don’t know how anyone finds anything here!
Today, we also got the chance to volunteer at an orphanage nearby. Most of the orphanages here are actually only for children ages 0 to 3, and the children are not actually orphans. Many of them have a mother who has passed away, but the father does not want to spend time taking care of them when they are so young and require so much attention. When they turn 4, the father will come collect them from the orphanage and take them home. It’s very sad, because many of the children’s mothers died because of HIV/ AIDS, and passed it on to their children during birth, so many of the children are HIV+. They were very friendly and didn’t have very many toys apart from a few tires and old stuffed animals, so they were incredibly excited by the bubbles and balloons we brought with us.
I thought I would attach some pictures of some of the machinery I’ve been working on this past week: enjoy!!