I woke up feeling more refreshed than I had felt the past few days, so that was a good sign to start the day with. I was feeling optimistic and hopeful after yesterday, so I hopped on the shuttle with an extra spring in my step to make up for yesterday.
The shuttle trip was uneventful and I got to clinic with the mindset that I would sit and read a good chunk of my book in the almost two hours I’d be waiting before Dr. Koshuma/patients arrived. However, one of the nurses motioned to me today and told me to come with her. This was the same nurse (Linas) that put me in front of the patient yesterday, so I went with a little apprehension. However, she said she wanted to take me to her home! She mentioned yesterday that she lived nearby and wanted to have me come too, but I thought she was just saying that to be nice but it turned out to be true! She did live very closeby and we walked through rows of corn and other crops to get to her house. She lives with her 2 (maybe 3?) children and at least 1 grandchild. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but it was such a cool experience to see how she lived!
The entrance to her home.
Linas making porridge – everything is either this or over a wood burning stove. No electric/gas stoves!
This little munchkin is Linas’ granddaughter and although she didn’t speak English, she loved the camera!
Linas’ daughter and chicken coop.
Nearby hut, under which is a wood fire.
Look at the size of this avocado!!!
Today was maternal/child health day at the clinic, which meant there were a lot of kids and a lot of pregnant women coming. As we prepped for it, I asked Linas about all the paperwork they had for this section of the clinic and she mentioned that she had just received a tablet for electronic record keeping of vaccinations (imagine how hard it would be to keep track of this by paper). She brought it out and it was a Samsung tablet, which she had no idea how to use. Even putting in the initial passcode and putting the username/password, minding the case sensitive nature of it, was a significant task for her. I ended up spending quite a lot of time with her so she could at least log in to the specific app and she got quite good at it! She even had a chance to teach another nurse as I had a brief proud moment watching them.
Paper logging system – each patient takes an entire line (left page and right page)
Check out those smiles!
It was good that we did that because the people who had given them the tablet 2 weeks before (it had sat in a closet until just now) stopped by to see how it was going! They were from PATH, a nonprofit organization focused on health systems based in Seattle. They stayed for almost the whole clinic day, by the end of which I had made pretty good friends with the woman there, Saumu (pronounced Sah-oom). She told me that she would take me to the market/into town on Saturday so we exchanged numbers and I’ll see her again on Saturday! Whoo, first friend in Tanzania and I was weirdly proud of myself for it!
Clinic today was awesome – I vaccinated all the kids that came in (about 15-20) and got to work the rest of the time with pregnant women, checking in on their growth and giving them prenatal vitamins. I almost missed the shuttle actually because I was engrossed in what I was doing at the time! Overall, a much better day and I’m looking forward to the next maternal/child day which is Monday.
Mom with 7 day old baby for vaccination
This little baby had a bad case of pneumonia, so she stayed in the overnight wards.
What surprised you today? I was surprised by the hospitality of Linas when she took me to her home, introduced me to her family, and offered me food! I had to turn it down (I have to be careful about what I eat here), but it was so sweet for her to take me to her home and I learned a lot about how an average Tanzanian lives.
What touched you today? Saumu taking me under her wing was a really unique gesture – I really only talked to her for a total of 20 minutes throughout the day, but she made a really big difference on how I was feeling about my weekend here (it would otherwise be really lonely and boring). I’m excited to explore the city of Arusha with her!
What inspired you today? It sounds corny, but having the moms trust me with their children when I, in fact, had never given more than one vaccination before was a really cool feeling. Knowing that one day, I’ll legitimately have the trust of my patients makes all the time in school and residency worth it!