Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 25 - Work, Sleep & Dinner Out

Well, not much to report today either. I woke up this morning with a sore throat and not feeling the best but I was still excited to go to work because I was rostered to work in labour and delivery. Aynsley and Sarita are joining us for the day again.

We worked with an older midwife by the name of Sister Steria Swai. She took well to sharing her knowledge and was a great teacher. She had a empathetic approach to the patients,which is somewhat unusual here, and took their privacy and dignity into consideration, which can also be unusual here.

Unfortunately no babies were delivered today however I did get to admit a patient who had attended the clinic with labour pains. I am guessing she will deliver some time through out the night. Unfortunately, the delivery is too far off for me to wait around for.

This afternoon I came home and had a sleep and then tonight I went out for dinner at 10 2 10 with Bellinda, Jenny, Ally, Henriikka and Sandy. I ordered the same Indian potato meal that I ordered from there last time as it was so good. Luckily I had heaps left over so now I have a doggy bag for lunch tomorrow.

After dinner I phoned a taxi to take us home. I told him we were at the restraunt called 10 2 10 and we needed him to take us home. We waited and he didn't come so I called again and he assured me he was coming. Again, he didn't show up. I called him a third time and he said he was waiting for us and I explained that we were waiting for him too but we could not see him. Eventually the waitress came out to see if we needed help and she spoke to the taxi driver for us. It turns out he thought we wanted to be picked up at 9:50 (10 to 10)! He arrived at the restraunt not long after that and we made it home safely :-)

Tomorrow Ally and Jenny will be visiting Pasua and I will be working in family planning.

Only one week until I am home now. I can't wait to see you boys! I love you <3

Day 24 - Just another work day...

Not much to report today.  Bellinda, Aynsley, Sarita and I headed off to Pasua. Aynsley and Sarita were hoping to witness a birth but unfortunately no babies were born today.

After work Aynsley, Sarita and I we went into town to Union Coffee for lunch. Sarita and I were a little shocked when we walked in and Aynsley pointed out a fellow mzungu and said "I know that guy. Hi Jake". Turns out he is a family friend and she knew he was in Tanzania but not that he was in Moshi. The chances of running into someone you know from home in Tanzania are pretty low!

The girls then did a little shopping and we went home and I washed laundry. I will definitely appreciate my washing machine when I get takes me about an hour to wash a small hamper of laundry by hand!

I am excited to be working in labour and delivery tomorrow!

Talk to you later. Love you. Miss you <3

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 23 - Rau Day Care and Chemka Hot Springs

This morning we dropped by the Rau Day Care Centre on the way to the Chemka Hot Springs. We met with the children and their teacher and gave them a donation of story books, toys, pens, crayons and puzzles. The watoto (children) stood up one at a time and introduced themselves. They were very cute! We blew up balloons for them which they loved. The children at the Rau Day Care Centre are from poor homes and many are affected by HIV. The children can be sponsered for 15€ ($18.62 AUD) per month. Most of that money goes towards the child's food and education and the rest goes towards the general running cost of the centre so those children who do not have a sponser do not miss out. Then, when the child goes to school the sponsership money goes directly towards school fees.

After visiting the day care centre we went to the Chemka Hot Springs. We drove through small villages over a very bumpy dirt road. We saw many local people including a lot of Maasai women walking donkeys along the way. All of a sudden we stopped and in the middle of this dry, dusty area was a beautiful spring surrounded by lush green trees. It was unexpected. The spring was so clear that we could see the bottom even though it was deep. There were quite a few local men and boys around which made us all feel a little awkward and uncomfortable at first but they weren't going anywhere so we stripped off to our togs and jumped in. Turns out we had nothing to worry about...they pretty much ignored us! The water was not exactly hot despite being called hot springs. It wasn't cold but it wasn't warm either although every so often I could feel warm water rush by. There was a strong current so we found an underwater tree branch to rest on. When I was trying to climb out of the spring some little black fish where nibbling on my legs and feet. Unfortunately I am very ticklish so this made it hard for me to climb out on the slippery rocks! I eventually made it out and we all sat on sun chairs and hammocks under a big tree and had a picnic lunch. Some of the girls went back in for another swim after lunch but I had a nap.

In the afternoon we jumped into the van to head home. This is when we realised Beatrice (our house mother) was drunk. Turns out she had drank 3 large sachets of Konyagi. Konyagi is popular in Tanzania and is 35% alcohol! For the first part of the trip she was singing loudly (and badly), then she had the driver pull over at a local store so she could buy more Konyagi, then she had the driver pull over at a road side stall so she could buy potatoes. She also had him pull over two other times so she could pee behind a bush. She definately made the trip home interesting!

Tomorrow I am back to work again. Sarita and Aynsley are coming with us to visit Pasua Health Clinic for the day.

I miss you guys. Nakupenda (I love you) <3

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 22 - Church and Shopping


Taz, Tash, Bellinda, Henriikka and I decided to attend a local church service today. We were told that the service started at 9am so we arranged for a taxi to pick us up at 8:30. The taxi arrived at about 8:45 (Tanzanian time - pole pole). He took us to the local Assembly of God church in Moshi. When we arrived we walked in and found some seats. There was a parade of people walking down the isle and around to the front of the of the church. We soon realized that the parade of people were then heading back to find their seats and we were sitting in some of them! They didn't say anything and the service resumed so we decided it was best not to move now! Looking back, I assume they were receiving communion. There was one Pastor speaking to the congrigation in Swahili and everything he said was repeated by another man in English. They asked that anyone attending the church for the first time stand up. We stood up and were welcomed to the church. The pastor then invited us to come down to the front of the church and we were welcomed again. After being welcomed again and again we were then taken to the front row of seats and our information, such as name, address, occupation etc. was collected. Then the service ended. This is when we realized that we had arrived at the end of the service! When we asked about it we were told that the English service was held from 7-9am. A Swahili service would then be held from 9-11am. We decided not to stay for the Swahili service. As we were leaving we ran into Anna, one of the nurses from Pasua, and had a chat with her. She was very excited to see us there! Even though we turned up late and sat in other peoples seats they were all very accommodating and happy to have us there. The people in Tanzania are generally very friendly. We are often told 'karibu' which means welcome.

We left the church and walked into the centre of town. Sundays are much quieter in town so it makes shopping much easier. The tourist shops are always open on Sundays whereas most of the local shops close. We did some shopping and then went to Union Coffee for lunch. I bought two scafes for 5000 shillings each ($3 AUD) and a fridge magnet for 7000 shillings ($4.20 AUD).

Tomorrow we have been given the day off work so we can visit the Rau Day Care Centre and the Hot Springs.

I am having fun but missing you guys heaps. I hope you are having fun too! Love you<3

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day 21 - Tanzanite and Maasai Markets

Hi Guys,

It's Saturday so no work today!

Leonie, Sandy, Tania, Aynsley, Jenny Sv and I went to TanzaniteOne in Arusha. TanzaniteOne is a company that owns mining rights to part of the Tanzanite mining area. Hanna had a hair appointment in Arusha so Louis drove us all there.

We went to the store and were taken on a tour and watched a video that explained the history of Tanzanite. Tanzanite was originally discovered by a Maasai man in 1967 and was named by the Tiffany jewellry company in 1968. Tanzanite is only mined in Tanzania and can only be found in a 16 square km area at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. This means that it is relatively rare. It is said to be 1000 times rarer than diamonds and is estimated to be mined out within the next 25 years. We were then shown through to the shop. The stones come in many different colours. The most common colours are violetish/blue and blueish/violet but it also comes in clear, yellow, pink and green. I purchased a small violetish/blue stone for 395 000 shillings ($237 AUD). I got a certificate with it stating it's weight, grading and authenticity.

After buying Tanzanite, Louis took us to a Chinese restraunt for lunch. Lunch was really good the service was the quickest we have experienced since being in Tanzania. We shouted Louis lunch for driving us to Arusha and it cost us about 10 000 shillings each ($6 AUD). I still can't get over how cheap it is to eat a nice meal out here. I am also suprised at how good the food is at the restraunts!

We then went to the Maasai markets in Arusha. There were a heap of shops all bunched together and all selling the same stock in the middle of the city. I got each of you boys (including you, Steve) a Tanzanian soccer shirt. I paid 17 000 shillings ($10.22 AUD) each. I also got a little tiny salt dish with a spoon for 10 000 shillings ($6 AUD) from a different store. I am pretty sure I paid way to much for it but it was one of those situations where I was stuck in a store by myself with the store owner pressuring me into buying something. It is hard not to feel bad for them sometimes so you just give in. I like it and I will probably use it so it doesn't really matter in the end.

I am having a quite night in tonight. I will probably watch a couple of shows on the Xoom (provided I can remember how to get them to play) and work out my budget for the next week.

Tomorrow morning I am planning on attending an Assembly of God church service with a couple of the other girls. I will be leaving here at 8:30am so I will try to give you guys a call before that (about 1:30 -2:30pm your time).

I love you all and I hope you are enjoying the school holidays <3

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 20 - This time it was a baby boy!

I got up this morning and got ready for work and waited for the taxi to take us to Pasua. We waited and waited and eventually decided to call him to come get us. He arrived one hour late!

We arrived at Pasua and signed in and I got to the labour room just in time to see a women birthing her baby. The baby was breech so I could just see the soles of the baby's tiny feet emerging. The midwife tickled the baby's toes and they wriggled! I quickly went to put my bag down on the table and grab some gloves out and about 2-3 seconds after I had walked passed the Mama her water burst and sprayed about 4 meters in front of her. I was so glad I wasn't 2 seconds earlier! That could have been messy! I grabbed my gloves and returned to the Mama's side. She pushed the baby out to his shoulders over a few contractions and I held him as he came. Once his legs were out I became aware of how little he was. I asked the midwife and was told he was premature. The Mama was only 28 weeks pregnant. The birth took a little while and I was becoming concerned that the baby wouldn't survive the birth or had already passed in the past few minutes. The doctor then arrived and I stood aside. The baby's head was stuck and it took some effort for the doctor to pry (for want of a better word!) his head out. The baby didn't make a noise at first but he eventially started to weep and I felt relieved. He was still alive! The doctor and nurses worked to suction secretions from the baby's mouth so he didn't choke and to prevent the secretions from getting into he lungs and creating an infection. They also wrapped him in multiple kangas to keep him warm. While the doctor and nurses were with the baby a midwife injected the Mama with the oxytocin. She then waited for it to work and after a while encouraged the Mama to push the placenta out while she gently pulled. The placenta came out easily and in one piece. The delivery of this Mama's placenta was so much better than the last one I experienced. I really feel that Melania, the previous midwife I worked with, needs extra education on birthing the placenta.

As the baby was 12 weeks premature the Mama and baby were referred to KCMC, the largest hospital in Moshi, for continued care. KCMC has much better facilities and equipment to care for the baby. Later I asked the midwife if the baby has a very good chance of survival and she said yes as he was a good birth weight for his gestation (1.3kg) and he was alert. He had an apgar score of 8/10 which is acceptable for a baby born at full term. An ambulance arrived to transport the Mama and baby to the next hospital.

The midwife and I then cleaned up the delivery room and prepared and sterilised some delivery packs. The delivery packs included a kidney dish, two drapes, two pairs of scissors and two clamp forcseps. Each set is wrapped in a piece of fabric and then tied with string before being sterilised.

After that there was not much going on in L&D so I went to the antinatal clinic for a little while. I then retuned to L&D with one of the new students, Shezra, and while we were chatting we saw three men arrive outside the clinic on a motorbike. One of the men was unconscious. His friends carried him around the back and into the women/children ward. Within the minute they had come back out with him and took him to the mens ward. I was curious so as a cover I told Shezra I needed to go find my friends as the taxi would be there soon to pick us up. We walked through the women/children ward and there was a doctor reviewing a patient with a group of visiting student doctors. We then walked into the mens ward and there was the man laying on the bed. There were no doctors or nurses to be seen anywhere! I was surprised to see that he was not receiving any treatment at all. I didn't know what to do and no one else seemed even slightly concerned, not even the student nurse I was with. I didn't know what to do...what was culterally appropriate. Looking back on the situation I wish I had put him in the recovery position and taken his obs but it is too late now.

I had a quite afternoon of reading and napping and then I went out for dinner. I went back to Green Bamboo BBQ with Sarita, Aynsley, Debra, Daisy and Henrika. Henrika is a Finnish volunteer who arrived at TV House a few days ago. I took some photos of the bbq this time but they are not that great because I forgot my camera and had to use my phone and the bbq wasn't as full as the restaurant wasn't as busy.

We returned home and had a few drinks before going to bed. Tomorrow I am going to Arusha to visit the Tanzanite store and possibly the Maasai Museum. That should be interesting.

Lala salaama (sleep well). I love you <3

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day 19 - Pasua and a Quiet Afternoon

I slept in a little this morning. I am still feeling very tired from the safari and probably the lack of coffee too.

We went to work this morning and I went to the women/childrens ward where I was supposed to be working. I sat down and started reading the patients notebooks to get an idea on why each one of them was there while I waited for a nurse to show up. The nurse had still not arrived by the time I had finished reading. I must have been waiting for at least an hour! I am not sure who is supposed to look after the patients when the nurses disappear! I went for a walk to find out who was supposed to be working in the women/children ward but I couldn't find any nurses at all. I eventually found one and asked him where everyone was and he didn't seem to know. It was a bit strange. Sandy and I eventually settled into the antinatal clinic where we conducted physical assessments on the pregnant ladies.

I didn't do much this afternoon. I went into town for lunch because the Dadas were cooking maize for lunch and I hate it. Ally, Jenny, Leonie and I went to Deli Chez and I had an Indian meal. Indian food is particularly good in Moshi!

Tomorrow I am working in Labour and Delivery again. With any luck I may be able to assist in the delivery of another baby!

I am off to bed now. It is 9pm already and I really wanted to get an early night tonight as I have been so tired.

Love you all <3

Day 18 - Back to work

It was back to work today after having the long weekend off.  I spent the first part of the morning working in the lab where all the tests are conducted and then went to a ceremony that was being held at the clinic.

The way it works here is that the patient visits the doctor and the doctor writes any tests that need to be done in the patient's notebook (patient records are very different here to at home!). The patient then takes their notebook to the lab where the lab technician reads the notes and carries out the testing and then writes in the results.

Today I was testing patients for malaria. I had to prick the patients finger with the lancet (the same horrible one they use for testing HIV). As the lancet is so big it hurts the patients a lot and they would jump and then I would jump. At first I was trying to be gentle by not inserting the lancet to far but I quickly learned that it is best to just do it because if you are to careful it doesn't go in far enough and you have to do it again. I figure it is better to do it once properly than have to do it twice. I would then scoop up their blood and put it on the test strip and add some liquid. The blood would then seep down the strip and show either one line for negative or two lines for positive.

Next, I went to the ceremony. The ceremony was held because Pasua was opening a new building and there is also two new vaccines being rolled out in Tanzania. One protects against pneumococcal which causes pneumonia and the other protects against rotavirus which causes diarrhoea. It is a pretty big deal because those two issues are the cause of many death of Tanzanian children. Our night guard here at TV house, Babu, buried his two week old grandson on the 1st of January as he had died from pneumonia. The Tanzanian health ministers came and gave speeches (not that we could understand them!) and there were TV cameras and photographers there. At the end of the ceremony Leonie presented Tabatha with some medical equipment and we met the government officials. I am pretty sure we were on the news tonight!

After lunch I attempted washing my laundry by hand for the second time. I definitely did a better job this time!

Tonight I went out to the Green Bamboo BBQ restaurant for dinner with Aynsley, Sarita, Ally, Jenny, Leonie and Leonie's friend Karen. The restaurant was pretty awesome. It has an open air setting and when you walk in there is a big round bbq with all different types of meat cooking in a circle. It looked amazing. The food was really good too. I ordered a 1/4kg mixed grill with a side of fries and a side of salad as well as a soda (they don't know what you are talking about if you say soft drink here!) and a milkshake and it cost 13 000 shillings ($7.80AUD). So cheap!

Tomorrow, I will be working in inpatients. I haven't worked there yet so it should be interesting.

I am off to bed now. Good night. I love you <3

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day 17 - Ngorogoro Crater and back to Moshi

Today was the forth and final day of safari.

We drove down into and around the crater. Again, we saw many of the same animals as seen previously. Just before we headed to lunch a lone black rhino was spotted! It was quite a distance away but we could see it well with binoculars.  We have now seen the big 5!

We stopped by a lake for lunch. We had to eat our lunch in the truck as the birds will steal your food. There was one couple there who had obviously not been told this by their guide as they set up a picnic blanket in a nice open grassy area but it wasn't long before they were being swooped by a heap of large birds! Also, as we ate our lunch a hippo popped up in the water in front of us. Adam assured us it was a well trained hippo and it wouldn't come out of the water to eat us.

As we left the crater to head back home we spotted a pride of lions walking along a hill in the distance. It was a nice way to finish our safari!

On the way home we stopped at a Maasai village. First they danced for us and then we danced with them. After that they showed us inside one of their huts. Unfortunately it was so dark inside the hut that we could not see a thing. The huts are very small and only have two rooms; one side for the boys to sleep and one side for the girls to sleep. Maasai men marry multiple women and one village is made up of one family. You can tell how many wives a Maasai man has by counting the huts in the village because a hut is built for each wife. An interesting fact we learned was that the Maasai only eat meat, milk and blood (apart from when we give young boys food!). They make their money through cattle/goats and jewellery so the family had jewellery on display for sale. I got each of you boys a necklace from their store. Zane, yours has a turtle on it!

We got home to Moshi at 7:30pm and had dinner. I am going to bed now as I have work in the morning and it is getting late.

Love you all <3

Day 16 - From Serengeti back to Ngorogoro Crater

Day three of safari!

Last night we could hear the hippos in the lake behind the lodge grunting as we went to sleep. They sound like pigs!

This morning as I walked to the restaurant for breakfast there were these giant mouse like creatures laying on the rocks. They were so cute!

Today was day two in the Serengeti. We saw lions, buffalo, a sivel cat and crocodiles along with many of the previous mentioned animals that we have seen over the last couple of days.

There is a list of five animals here known as 'the big 5'. They are elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino. If you see the big 5 it is considered that you have had a very successful safari. So far we have seen elephants, lions, leopards and buffalo so we are hoping to see rhinos tomorrow.

As we drove back to Ngorogoro Crater we stopped at 5pm to celebrate the Australian New Year with a count down and champagne. We danced and celebrated on the Serengeti with wildebeast and zebras in the background much to the amusement of safari trucks passing by who stopped to make sure we were not broken down.

By the time we reached Ngorogoro Crater it was raining heavily. I was very relieved to be lodging rather than camping as the tents had to be set up in the rain as it was getting dark quickly. The girls backpacks, sleeping mats and sleeping bags all got wet.

Adam then drove Leonie, Tania, Sandy, Emma and I along the crater to the Ngorogoro Wildlife Lodge. Emma is joining us for the night as she is really unwell at the moment and not up to sleeping out in the cold wet weather. The drive was pretty scary as it was very dark, the windscreen was fogged up, the road was narrow and extremely muddy/slippery and the bottom of the crater was a very long way down!

We didn't arrive at the Lodge until 8:30pm so we had dinner and are now going to bed. I am glad we celebrated the Australian New Years as there is no way I would be able to stay awake tonight.

Tomorrow we are heading down into the crater and then we will head home. If we have time we will be stopping at a Maasai village on the way home.

I am missing you guys heaps! Love you <3

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 15 - Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti

Day 2 of safari and we saw the Ngorogoro Crater and visited the Serengeti. We saw a leopard, baboons, giraffes, zebras, wildebeast, hippos, hyenas, giselles, voltures, impalas (that is the one I couldn't remember the name of yesterday) and secretary birds.

During breakfast this morning we were able to watch the baboons playing outside. We left the Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge at 8:30.

We drove up a long narrow windy road while playing chicken with the oncoming traffic and competeing with the other trucks in our group to see who could get to the check point first!

Along the way we stopped at the Ngorogoro Crater and had a quick look before it started raining heavily so we jumped back in the truck and headed for the Serengeti. It was a long drive but we saw lots of animals along the way. I am also travelling in what is known as the 'party bus' so the young girls keep me very entertained with music, singing, dancing and jokes!

Not long after we entered the Serengeti we stopped to have lunch under a tree. While there we were slowly and cautiously approached by a group of about 15 young Masai boys. These boys are currently going through a traditional initiation into manhood. This is an event that occurs every 7 years. During this initiation boys aged between 7 and 14 are circumsised and dressed in black with painted white faces. They are then sent out on their own to fend for themselves. I have no idea how long this goes on for and I am sure there is more to this initiation process then just that. So, these boys approached us wanting to sell jewellry and asking for money for photos that were taken of them. We were eating from very overstocked lunch boxes so we gathered all our excess food together and gave it to them. They collected the food and went away to eat it before returning the rubbish to us. I had heard of this initiation process before and found it quite frightening that boys that young are sent out to fend for themselves but it was interesting to see these boys today and see how they were looking after each other and they were happy. They actually seemed to be really enjoying themselves and you could sense their comradery.

After lunch we headed off for more animal spotting. The animals are usually not to concerned about all the safari trucks and just live their lives around them. At times they come really close to the trucks.

The leopard we saw crossed the road right in front of us. I tried to take photos of it but it was going dark and I don't think they will turn out.

At one stage we were checking out the baboons when they suddenly decided to attack. They were jumping up at the windows and trying to grab at us. One of the larger baboons tried to attack Adam (our driver) and the attack was so sudden that he screamed and almost jumped out of his seat. That was amusing and the young girls are not going to let him forget about it in a hurry!

Tonight Lionie, Tania, Sandy and I are staying at the Serengeti Wildlife Lodge. This place is not as nice as the one yesterday but it is still a whole lot better than camping. It is cold and rainy out here and the camping matresses the other girls are sleeping on are very thin!

I miss you guys heaps and wish you could be here with me. I hope you have a good night on New Years Eve and don't go to bed to early! Love you <3