Written by Andy
After four long days of working in the clinic, we finally earned our day off. The normal hustle and bustle of the morning was instead relaxed and provided plenty of time to eat, take a warm shower, clean, and prepare for our day.
In our Sunday’s best, we all gathered at the church outside of the clinic for the service. The members of the church took time to recite the entire service in both Swahili and English for our benefit, and we were offered the Swahili lyrics to the church hymns so we were able to sing along (in our best tone deaf, broken Swahili). At the conclusion of the service, we exited to an auction of donated items. The money from these items went directly to the church. A local resident bought a length of sugar cane as a gift to us for our services, and we were
also invited to enjoy a soda with the preachers as a welcome. It was nice to know that our work was appreciated.
After a brief lunch, we were provided with transport to go into Mwanza and tour an orphanage. The orphanage, Sterehe, had been taken over from Tanzanian social services about 8 years ago by a Canadian organization, and has since been transformed into quite a complex; It housed 127 children, with room for about 23 more. The heads of this orphanage talked of how the school children were often caned in school for not knowing a question, not having their haircut, or not wearing the proper uniform. Since they have taken over, they have transferred into better schools and now have someone advocating for their rights so this and other questionable practices stop. Overall, the facility was very impressive. These children have been given an opportunity to thrive, and it was reassuring to see that quality care was still available in a country with such limited resources and services.
After our tour of the orphanage, a large group of us gathered at Tunza on the shores of Lake Victoria for dinner. Our group, consisting of the twelve of us along with various clinic employees, arrived to our table set out on the beach just before sunset. The views were spectacular as the sun disappeared behind the horizon and dinner was a pleasant bonus to an already wonderful day.
Our trip is just a shade over half completed, and has already been the most memorable trip of my life. The lives we’ve touched, the friends we’ve made, and the sights we’ve seen are all something that I and the rest of us will keep with us forever, and I can only hope to have an experience as beneficial as this again in the future!