Written by Deb
I still can’t believe that we’re here. After all of the planning and preparation for this trip, thinking it would never come, we’re already half way through our trip. I’m already looking forward to coming back.
We start each morning by gathering for breakfast at 7:00. Breakfast consists of bread, fruit, coffee, hot chocolate, and tea. We leave to walk to the clinic in our scrubs carrying our water bottles. Many of our patients are waiting for us after walking for miles to be seen. ‘Jambo, Jambo ‘(Hello, hello!) rings out to us as we walk through the clinic.
Before we start our work we gather with the staff and patients in the center of the clinic to sing and say a prayer. I will never forget the beautiful voices singing “How Great Thou Art” in Swahili. It touches my heart in a way that I can’t describe in words. I am proud of Gundersen Lutheran to be present in this circle of prayer.
We have four rooms that we work from; an examination room, the pre-operative area, surgery, and post-operative. They are side by side and small. We have three beds in pre-op room and two gurneys in and a dental chair in the post-op area. We start preparing our patients for surgery by taking their temperature, confirming they are NPO and then start their IV. My nursing skills started to come back to me slowly and then very quickly. I am so happy to put them to use once again. In the post operative area we recover the patients and send
them home. Because many of them have so many miles to walk we sometimes call a taxi for them so they can get home safely.
The team representing Gundersen Lutheran on this trip is strong. Each person has a role and does it well. I am honored to be here with them. We are making a positive difference in our lives and in the lives of our Tanzanian patients and colleagues.