Volunteering in Tanzania – May 27th, 2013


“Remember that happiness is a way of travel not a destination.” –Roy Goodman
Another full day of work. We talked about different medications with Regina in the morning. At first – no sick students, but once her door was open – they came. A headache, neck ache, stomach ache. Even the teachers come to the matron with their complaints. We did the best we could to apply a dressing to a wound.

Next on to the clinic. We saw a variety of patients – an older man definitely in congestive heart failure, a mom in labor – either with a big baby or possibly twins. Both of these two were waiting to go to the hospital in Iringa. Also a baby who came in the day before possibly with pneumonia but was doing better and a woman who came in complaining of falling down. For this woman Patricia took some blood and we were able to watch as she ran some tests in her little lab. One of the tests was for HIV – it came back positive. The first thing I thought about was the lack of safety precautions – the syringe of blood Patricia was holding with no gloves and the needle she had just recapped – these things are just different in the U.S. Of course, Patricia was being as safe as possible in the situation – working with the equipment she has (like Edward says surviving). And then I thought about this woman – how her life is going to change with this diagnosis. Taylor and I then had a good discussion with Patricia about screening for HIV (for example, during pregnancy and before marriage), counseling, education and difficult situations such as when one partner in a marriage tests positive and the other doesn’t. There are no easy answers to these questions.

After that we helped with a few vaccinations for babies and then it was time for lunch. After lunch – primary school – standard 5 for a lesson in handwashing. The best part was watching the students work together to fix the tippy tap, a contraption some genius came up with – amazing because it is so simple and yet I would have never thought of it!

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