Arusha, Serengeti National Park, Ngorogoro Crater , Moshi, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Tanzania: the beautiful country that is home to Kilimanjaro, the Lion King and to many of the friendliest and happiest people you could ever meet. Here, music always fills the air and it is impossible to pass anybody on the street without them warmly welcoming you to their country and asking how you are.
I have been in Tanzania for seven weeks now and my time here has flown; I have truly loved every second of it. I have been privileged to have experienced a huge amount in my hospital placement, to have met countless incredible and inspiring people, made lifelong friends and to have travelled around the country, taking in the beauty of this green lush land and all that it has to offer.
I have been living with an African host family during my stay. Accommodation was basic but it was good as I got a real African experience. Washing out of a bucket and hand washing all my clothes was fun and it made me appreciate my shower and washing machine at home all the more. My family were lovely; Joshua, Beatrice, their niece Prisca and their two girls Lily and Linnah. I have really fallen in love with them over my time with them. Saying goodbye to them last Friday was difficult but so the adventure goes on!
I have been based in Mount Meru District Hospital which is in an area called Tengeru. I have mainly spent my time in maternity where everyday I see and learn something new. From day one the newly born babies were handed to me to clean, weigh, wrap up and keep incubated. I monitor them until it is ready to introduce them to their mother once she has had some time to recover. I also took blood pressures on the ward rounds and got stuck into the cleaning of the ward. The mothers are inspiring and their babies are beautiful and I feel blessed to have been allowed to get so involved in the departement. The highlight of my time in hospital has to be delivering my first baby! I also spent a lot of time in minor theatre where you see everything from motorbike accidents, broken limbs, burns, circumcisions to people that have had their ears bitten off! The doctors in Minor theatre are great fun and really get you involved; in particular with taking off and putting on casts. Major theatre and paedeatrics were also both very interesting, although the latter very sad.
Although I loved my time in Mount Meru District, I really disliked some aspects of the hospital. It was all too clear that this was a third world hospital. I have huge respect the doctors and nurses that make the most of what little resources they have and who constantly are striving to increase their knowledge. However, these members of staff were few. Resources were limited and some staff didn't seem trained properly. The ladies in Maternity received no pain relief and the way they were treated at times was awful. They were shouted at if they made any noise during labour and minutes after giving birth they were made to walk to the post natal ward where from then on recieved little care. The babies were not checked, the incubators were not kept warm and when newborns struggled to breath they rarely had a hope of survival.
My weekends were free so I used them to see a bit of the country with my friends and visit my relatives that live in Moshi. I went on a three day safari in Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater. This was definitely one of my highlight of my whole trip. I went with a group of 10 other medical volunteers who were all lovely and we saw EVERYTHING - lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, hippos, wildebeest, buffalo, leopard and a cheetah on the prowl. We were even lucky enough to catch the wildebeest migration which was unreal. One weekend myself and four friends travelled to Moshi where we visited the waterfalls. We jumped off one of the waterfalls, the long ten metres into the cold water. One of my favourite days of my whole trip for sure.
Six weeks in my sister Emma came out to meet me. After an emotional reunion I showed her around where I had been living and my hospital placement. After a few days we travelled to Moshi where we stayed with our relatives who have been missionaries in Africa for almost sixty years. Incredible people! We then travelled to Zanzibar where we are having a few days of paradise before moving on to Uganda. So far Zanzibar is better than I ever could have dreamed. I never knew sand could be so white and the sea so blue!!
My time in Tanzania has been truly unbelievable! I will never forget all that I have learnt here in the hospital or all the memories I made with my friends. The Tanzanian people are the warmest and friendliest people on earth and I have inspired me hugely. I love Africa!