Update received March 3, 11:50PM
Written by Jeff
We have finally arrived in Mwanaza – only delayed by a day…
The airport at Mwanza had closed the day we were to arrive due to a 737 hard landing—the front landing gear didn’t come down! No one was injured though! We finally flew out yesterday morning and on our way back to the airport from Arusha (where the airline put us up for the night) we all got to see the top of Mount Kilimanjaro—a rare sight since it is usually shrouded in clouds. We also saw great views of Mount Meru which is near Arusha and is 455m (1493 ft) high.
Today was our first full day at the clinic. After hauling our 12 loaded medical bags to the clinic, the team moved into action. Kait, Andy, Rosie and Emma began sorting the supplies so we could get surgery started. Upon our arrival we found out that they had over 100 pending surgical cases! Since this clinic seldom gets a general surgeon, they really loaded up the schedule with cases that the OB/Gyn, Ortho, and Eye team wouldn’t do. We had a late start since we also had to get organized!
To move things more rapidly, I did the preop screening physicals and helped identify those appropriate for surgery. We had a few patients cancel due to a variety of reasons including malaria. The four nurses each had a full load with preop, postop, scrub, and circulating. IV starts by the nurses helped get things moving faster. For the first day, we finished nine cases including a hernia repair, a large (enormous) keloid scar (5 inches long – hanging from her ear), a lipoma (fatty tumor) removal and six circumcisions—in children and adults alike. In Africa, circumcisions have been shown to decrease the transmission of AIDS. We didn’t leave the clinic until after 7pm; Kait and I waited for a taxi to take the last three circumcised kids home with their neighbor before we joined the group for dinner.
Dinner has been pretty consistent: tilapia—pan-fried, deep fried, etc., rice, beans, a vegetable such as carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes or cabbage. It is always prepared beautifully and tastes good thanks to our faithful cook, Lucy.
Since I didn’t get my computer modem to work, our Internet access is limited. There is a computer we can use to connect – but we pay by the minute – so I will continue to send updates this way unless we get the computer modem to work.
Jeff for all