Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We went to a rural dispensary yesterday. The line outside the door was huge for basic services and medications, but Charles, the only staff member there, stopped serving the people (much to my guilt) to give us a quick tour and answer our questions. He had on the wall in his office lists for the last three years of the top ten most common sicknesses people visiting the dispensary are suffering from. Regardless of age or gender, the number one illness on every list was malaria. So frustrating. These people will be so much more free once it is gone. I asked Charles if they had any health education classes and he ushered us to the backdoor where there were about 35 mothers crowded around with their children listening to a woman holding a small baby boy named Moses who had diarrhea. The session was about the basics of diarrhea and what you do to help your children when they get it. It was fantastic to see so many people there. And they were thrilled beyond words to greet us and hear Tim, the member of our team who is best at swahili make some small talk with them. As we were leaving I saw a little boy in a Superman shirt running around with his dad waiting their turn for service. He was so cute, and the image seemed to transcend being in Africa and made me think of any little kid with his dad anywhere in the world hanging out.

We got to attend TTCIH (Tanzania Training Center for International Health--the place we are staying) graduation. It was about four hours long and completely in swahili, but it was a cool moment to witness all these eager young health care workers excited to go out all over Tanzania and do good work helping people. This place is the cream of the crop as far as teaching goes, and I am excited for what those graduates will do for their country. One of them who is going into obstetrics told me his favorite thing about being a doctor is having a woman come in to the hospital as one person and go out as two. I thought that was awesome.

We gave small presentations today to some of the main doctors that have helped us with training the last two weeks. As we stood up there in partners and shared, the lead doctor expressed how powerful it is that we are Muslims and Christians and other religions doing this together. I feel like since being here I have already forgotten how unusual this group is. They are all my friends now and of course we dont see eye to eye on theology and God, but it absolutely has not stopped us from being friends and wanting to tackle poverty and malaria together. A good reminder that this job is so important, and our working together is not the norm.


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