I’ve officially passed the half-way point for my time in Tanzania. It’s hard to believe that this part of my life is almost over, and yet it feels as though I have just begun. I’ve decided to take a more holistic approach to the rest of my time here, and learn as much as I can about the health system here and the culture instead of focusing solely on my work. In my time here, I have created and revised a manual on drug abuse, violence, and sexually transmitted disease prevention. I have helped improve the monitoring and evaluation of both the program and the clinic. I lectured 210 medical students on good communication, active listening, and goal setting. I am now working to create guidelines for patient centered care within the clinic. I have also spent a lot of time watching TV and reading. It’s been a good combination of work and relaxation, of activity and reflection. I’m learning about the kind of leader I want to be, the kind of organization I want to work for, and the kind of projects I want to be involved with. I am learning to value myself and that I do have skills and insight that I can bring to a team.
The work I have seen here has been inspiring. This team of two doctors, two nurses, and Mr. Mabula is doing great work. They are training community leaders on different health practices and creating plans with the community to help the vulnerable populations. This team knows what they are doing, and I am very impressed with the execution of it all. To be honest, they could be functioning quite well without me, which is great to see and gives me hope for the sustainability of the project.
One of the nurses, Faidha, is the most lovely person. She speaks very little English, and my Swahil is limited to basic greetings and ordering a taxi (however I did learn that “rafiki” means friend, and “hakuna matata” literally means no worries). We communicate mostly through laughter and hugs. Faidha has taken me under her wing, and let me go with her on home based care visits and to see non-governmental organizations. She’s one of those people who genuinely cares about everyone. I can tell from the way she greats people on the street, talks to patients, and plays with children while distributing blood pressure medication. It’s been great to learn from her.
I need to transfer photos from my camera to my computer, but here are some more snapshots from my phone.