Favorite Swahili phrase of the week: Shagala bagala – meaning a mess, and can be used quite frequently with the work we do and see!
Monday was a rather boring day, our lovely guide and head doctor were both in a meeting until 11:30 so we tried occupying ourselves in the lab seeing if there was any possible way to fix their blood bank fridge and replace the specific hinges on the centrifuge that had broken off (no such luck yet!). We were also introduced to a Thermo blood testing machine that wasn’t running properly on their computer, so they let us take a manual home to try and find out how everything was supposed to be installed. Then Nuru took us to the labor ward to meet the doctors there. Almost 75% of the lights in the building were out and where they perform C-sections doesn’t even have an operating lamp- just 4 hanging ceiling lights. We are determined to get them replaced and all fixed! We are also now signed up to watch a C-section, I am pretty darn interested to see how it goes as long as I don’t faint in the process! After work, Soren and I went into a market near our hospital (we have such a good location to access anything being based right in Arusha) and bought vegetables, fruit, bread, and spaghetti for the week. I’m trying my best to learn how to cook good, cheap food!
Tuesday, my body decided to rebel against all the food and water I’ve been drinking. It’s been a real challenge ensuring that food is cooked properly and finding out if there are any food items my stomach just doesn’t like here. So, I ended up staying home the whole day and slept until noon feeling much better after. Soren came back from the hospital early to make sure I was alive and of course had a highly successful day where he fixed an electrosurgery machine that hadn’t been working in years! They’ll be using it in a surgery sometime this week! Well for me, after lounging around all day watching Pulp Fiction and hearing the good news, I started feeling decent. I decided it was finally time to start taking Cipro, which has been working absolutely wonderful and my stomach hasn’t been upset since!
On Wednesday, we finally got to tour the other half of the hospital and boy oh boy… we have lots of work to do the rest of the time we are here. All but one ward we went to had at least one thing that they wanted us to repair. From wheelchairs to oxygen concentrators, there is now a list of over 30 items that we’ve repaired or will attempt to repair in the next 3 weeks! Since the tour took so long we just worked on getting a tea kettle, BP machines and a stethoscope up and running for the antenatal ward. Tea kettle fixing is sometimes just as appreciated as a machine since they do love their chai breaks here, and I don’t blame them! I will certainly be investing in an electric kettle when I get back home. It’s now up to us to categorize what should focus on and what we think is most important. Of course, my love of babies and kids immediately makes me want to ensure I can make even a small difference in the labor ward since they pointed out so many problems.