Masai village experience!
Trip Start Aug 10, 2006
21Trip End Oct 16, 2006
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We attended a church which was just on benches outside in the desert! There were about 50 people from the local villages (of mixed tribes - Chagga, Masai etc) and all were very welcoming - wanting to shake your hand and welcome you in streams of KiSwahili - I just grinned and nodded - replying with my limited vocabulary!
It was really a priveledge to be invited to their village as friends and to hear their beautiful singing and to join them in KiSwahili! (difficult without books!!!). It was amazing to just sit there looking over the plains, with the goats etc and their herders, with the people singing and praying and the Masai womens earrings jamgling in the breeze. It made me think - this is what I've come here for - this is the real Tanzania - the peoples heart. I often feel 'guilty' being in Moshi - it is poor but not as poor as many places - those are the places where I would like to go - to really be useful and to be able to treat people that are so poor and so in need.
A local Tanzanian doctor also came on the journey out to the village with us to hold a clinic for the people there - it was a real priveledge to be one of the 'Drs' seeing people - examining them and finding things wrong (examinations are more often than not normal in the UK - with no findings). But within 10 minutes I had about 8 patients with pneumonia etc - it was brilliant to be able to help - they were then given medicines.
On the way back from the village, as the sun was setting in the distance (it was beautiful - orange, red, pink and blue sky with the black silhouette of the acacia trees scattered over the horizon) we stopped to see two people - one old lady with what I think was heart failure and pneumonia - it was a priveledge to visit her and her family in their house - goats and all! We then stopped at a Masai Boma - a young boy had run to us to ask if we would come and see his mother who was in labour that had gone wrong - what an experience! We went into their home (apparently a REAL priveledge to be invited - not just when you pay at a tourist site) and it was impossible to see anything! Pitch black rooms, smoke stinging your eyes, walls made from cow dung and mud - and a lady in labour lying on a cow skin bed. We examined her and luckily her labour was progressing well so we didnt need to rush her to hospital - dont think she would have squeezed in the boot with us!!
On Tuesday I also had a good day - I went to several villages up the mountain with a physio and OT to assess some Parkinsons patients, it was really interesting to visit the local health posts - and to be invited into the patients homes as a guest of honour to have a cup of tea (Tanzanian tea is awful for me - really milky and really really sugary!!!). Tomorrow I am going to the Surgery department to watch some operations and see a bit more of the hospital - to stray away from paeds. It was my last day on the wards today and they were delighted when I presented them with lots of toys, toothbrushes, balloons, balls etc for the children.