Good Morning from Tanzania.
We started the day with boiled eggs and coffee cake for breakfast by candle light, as the electricity is out again. Paula is quite the baker. After a short walk we arrived at the clinic and enjoyed morning devotions and songs. Dr. Jeff gave the most appropriate message, and the singing is almost beyond description—a perfect way to start the working day. The schedule is full for the day with a couple of circumcisions, hernias, and removal of other assorted items. Quickly we go to our rooms to set up pre-op, post-op and the OR. Deb is busy scheduling for the day. Soon we are into a routine with the arriving patients. Then a young woman comes to the clinic to be seen and quickly delivers a baby girl, a 36-weeker. Kristy was disappointed she missed the delivery but was very helpful with getting her finished up. Then a bus arrived loaded with children (32) from a local orphanage to be seen. Bob is running all morning to get this and get that; it will be good training for climbing this summer. He reminds us all to drink the water he has carried up here for us. Bryce is observing everything he can. Denyse is continuing the needs assessments, wow, and learning so much interesting information. We’re too busy to walk to Lucy’s for our normal lunch, so Bob and Denyse took care of us and brought the fish, rice, beans, spinach salad and fried bread (chapati). It was a wonderful lunch. We finally ate at 1:30. Then back to procedures. I am in pre-op with Sally M, who makes us laugh at every turn. Between each case we sometimes see the OR team, Dr. Phillip, Dennis, Rose and Jeff S. They are really working behind closed doors. Of course, it helps that they have air conditioning. We are now waiting for the last case, it is 6 pm; Sally H will recover that patient. They are planning a tour of the new buildings, and then supper under a tarp behind Lucy’s house. As you can imagine, I anticipate that we will be tired after eating. However, Dr. Jeff usually wants to meet as a group to post-conference the day. I think I slept through the one last night. It feels so good to lie down and reflect on the events of the day…..It was good. Hot, long, busy, but really, really good.
– Shirley N
It’s a girl.
Today was an interesting day at the clinic. The birthing center is not open here yet. The only opinion for an attended delivery is a 20-30 minute drive away (and most people do not have access to a car). Today a women showed up at the clinic and delivered a baby. I was in pre-op and of course ran over. The baby had been delivered by one of the nurses at the clinic who had been a midwife for years before working at the clinic. The baby girl was near term, 2.5kg, and nice and pink. Of course this was all done with the power out. Mom and baby did wonderfully. The baby nursed well, and mom and baby walked home about 4 hours later.
The Bus Load of Children.
Thursday at the clinic started with a bang. Having no power (second day in a row) poised some interesting challenges. Surgery was able to start after getting the two generators powered up.
We are getting used to seeing patients in rooms lit only by the light coming through the windows. After Kristy and I began to see the pre-ops for the day, we heard a rumor that a bus load of children from an orphanage had come to be seen and treated. The story was that their water was bad and most of the kids were sick. Since the clinic was already full with the day’s patients, we had to strategize a bit. We had 32 children that needed to be seen so we found our interpreters and rooms where we could see the children. After seeing a few of them, we realized the stories were all very similar. I spoke to our resident expert on tropical diseases, Dr. Bon, and asked how best to treat the kids without testing them all. Dr. Bon suggested that we treat all with diarrhea the same, and if they have a fever, check for malaria. This greatly speeded up the process for us, and we only found a few cases of malaria. I suspect the rest were typhoid or some other water-borne disease. I would take five children in a room at a time and review the cases and treat each accordingly. I had a chance to speak to the English speaking leader who told us that they traveled 90 km (54 miles) to come to the clinic in a 12 passenger van with three adults—35 total! We were amazed considering that the majority of them were complaining of diarrhea. They were all wonderfully behaved and well mannered despite not feeling well. We were able to provide them with many of the items that we brought with including soccer balls, Beanie Babies, shoes, pencils, pens, paper, colors, blankets, tooth brushes and toothpaste. We really loaded their already loaded van. Guess this will prepare us for our trip this weekend to Starehe Children’s Home where we will be seeing all the children at that orphanage. This day really reminded us all about why we came.
– Jeff H