So we arrived safe and sound after 24 hours of travelling! Currently it is just Andie and Loob in Muheza whilst Lizzy Rascal lives it up with the lovely Chris in Zanzibar!
Currently there are 8 students at Muheza and they have started our education in basic swahili, told us where the essential 'soda man' can be found for a refreshing bottle of coke and warned against the salads unless you want shigella and non-stop pooing for a couple of days!!!
Today we have bunked off work (yes, I know its only day two but we are in need of a break) to go to the nearby Town of Tanga to begin the blog!
Here we go, starting from the very begining...
We're currently sittiing in Cairo airport, wondering if we'll get food poisoning from the free beef stew/pizza. Thank you Egyptair. We've finally relaxed after getting our Ghanian visas approved 12 hours before leaving the country - exquisite preparation as usual! First thing to note about Cairo airport is that the food hall contains only an Upper Crust and Burger King - exactly the same as Southampton General Hospital. Just shows that even thousands of miles away from Southampton, you can never really get away! We've both gone sickeningly gooey over all the Arabic babies and can't wait to steal/hug some African ones. Loob has seduced a number of security guards already - I'm suprised she hasn't been frisked! We just discovered one fatal flaw in the floorlength white robes the Egyptain men wear : don't itch your arse in them or you get a huge s*** stain on them. Had a genius chat with one of the flight attendants as we were looking at our fat, oedematous ankles:
" When the plane lands and you leave, your feet will shrink....just like my heart".
Lovely. CLearly he wanted a white bride.
We are currently on the bus to Muheza listening to some hideous Swahili pop music! WELLBEING! The skies are blue, it's cool outside and so far we've seen you 15ft high Pepsi bottles. Bizarre. After some savage negotiation at the bus station in Dar Es Salaam, we mostly avoided being conned by thousands of men, although we did get BOOB JABBED by a raving man called Chris with no front teeth. It's great to finally be here, there is bushscrub as far as the eye can see. Especially in Andie's armpits. It's green and luscious, with palms and flowers. Not quite the African wasteland I was expecting. People are wearing incredible vibrant outfits, working the fields and manning street cafes. So many cute babies, I can't wait to steal one!
Now we're in Muheza, and instead of the rice and starvation I was expecting for lunch, we had a lush salad! We spent the first day in Paediatrics with a 4ft tall, smiley Dr Senyota and the bearded nurse. He's lovely even though his only diagnosis is malaria and AIDS. His other differentials are jaundice and anaemia - not sure if he realises that these are both caused by malaria... One beautiful baby with pneumonia had a CD4 count of 28, and they are now CONSIDERING screening the mother for HIV. Bit late perhaps?
Serious medical part now so we can write up our report from this: skip it if you want.
A child was diagnosed with severe anaemia and, as an afterthought also diagnosed with severe pneumonia, The baby was grunting, headbobbing, subcostal and intercostal recession, no suckling and tachypnoea. WIthout a trace of urgency, the Dr prescribed 3 antibiotics and called "NEXT". The mother would need to go the pharmacy and buy the drugs, before they can start giving them, meaning even more delay! Sadly, two days later, the baby had died.
On a lighter note, seen 5 albinos so far! Though one of them skin cancer, and most get die from it by 50. Thought one was a white woman caught in a house fire - her face was so sunburnt. She had a huge necrotic lesion in her cheek - Dr S explained that this was squamous cell carcinoma and needed to be excised. All 5 albinos have serious nystagmus - not sure of the link there but there clearly is one. Dr S has started a screening programme, with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi, where all albinos are screened for skin cancer. Obviously, a lot of them live in the villages hundreds of miles away from KCMC so can't access the programme easily. Dr S buys suntan lotion for the albinos and gave it to them, which is great as a lot of them can't afford it! Edit: Just learnt the greusome fact that up to 2 years ago any albino could not leave their house because they were a favourite ingredient in some of the witch doctors medicines!!! Apalling.