New face at the hospital
Trip Start Aug 10, 2006
21Trip End Oct 16, 2006
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Mike flew home today and left me in Moshi yesterday (which was hard - I think I have lost some independance since being married and feel like half of me has gone home!!). I am sharing a house in the doctors compound with 2 german girls and a scottish guy - all of whom seem very nice. The houses are set in leafy grounds it is really beautiful. When I walk to the hospital the road is lined by beautiful trees all with gigantic really bright colourful flowers! My room is simple - bed and mosquito net, but it is clean and we have a house maid who comes and cleans for us so that is luxury! I have handed over all my clothes to her to laundry for me as I had none left! You have to iron everything here because the mango flies lay eggs in the fabric - so that will be new to me!
Yesterday we went to Church in Moshi to St Margarets and Anglican church - I liked the sound of the swahili service before ours a bit more! The African Gospel singing is amazing! Met a girl called Hiliary and went to Arusha with her and an American Riley lat night. We had Eithiopian food which was amazing! It is like eating sponge (washing up sort!) with vegetables on top - truely delicious!!
My first day on the wards today was such an eye opener - although compared to many hospitals KCMC is lucky - they have an xray machine and can do a few simple blood tests. The children on the ward are so ill; HIV, no limbs, hydrocephalus (big heads), malaria, TB and lots of other diseases. Their parents are all with them so it is quite crowded. They have to pay for all their treatment, investigations and the beds - so it is hard for them to come to hospital.
There is another girl on my ward also doing paediatrics called Helen, she is nice and has been showing me around. I need to go and buy some food now and water as I have none and am getting a bit hungry. The books I brought with me are useless - no-one has the posh diseases of the UK! so I have photocopied one here - bit more relevant!
Africa is amazing - the people are so friendly, everyone comes and says hi to you and asks where you are from. Even the little children. People are poor here but it is not as bad as a lot of places. You see beggars on the streets but it is not as bad as I thought. I suppose it depends how you define being poor - if you have a family, love, some cows and a mud hut to live in and are happy? but everyone needs clean water, access to health care and education.
Speaking of which - we have no water and no electricity. There is a problem with the country's generators in Dar Es Salaam and they are rationning power, more and more it seems. We are supposed to have power from 7pm at night (it gets dark at 6pm on the equator) but it often doesnt come on until 10pm - last night we had none at all so I am stocking up on the candles. (I still havent worked out how this internet cafe has power!! but am thankful). The worst thing is we have no water. This is really hard - but I have found a shop (hut!) that sells bottled water. The only thing is showering/ washing clothes and flushing the toilet!!!! a problem which I hope is not permanent - it really makes you appreciate commodities such as clean water and electricity.
Moshi is a smallish town with tarmac roads, I haven't really explored there yet but am hoping to go this afternoon. Most roads are bumpy, dusty and painful! even to walk you fall in the holes!! There are no traffic lights at all that work in Tanzania so traffic is quite exciting. When cars overtake it is not their responsibility to move back in line when a car is coming so they try and run you off the road - quite hair raising! There have been a lot of accidents since I have been here, and your chances arent good, several buses have collided (coaster buses which are a bit bigger than dalla dallas but just as packed!!)
You cannot buy most things here that you are used to at home - a few vegetables, fruits, rice and ugali. You cant get meat except scrawny chicken that is all bones so I am becoming a vegetarian by force. I think I will be eating a lot of sandwiches as there is no power to cook which makes it slightly harder!
The other african students on the paeds ward are really friendly and very knowledgeable. I was relieved to find that I wouldnt be expected to run the ward! Things are done well here despite the limitations they have with simple tests and few medications that they can prescribe. However a lot of children have problems for example congenital heart defects (they are born with their hearts made incorrectly) which cannot be repaired because there is just limited surgery - this is hard for the mothers to understand and they expect a lot of the doctors. It is really interesting here and certainly an eye opener.