Anyways, Friday we went to Selian Lutheran Hospital, which is Aubrey and Lotte’s hospital next month and what a huge difference from the one I will be working at. Mt. Meru is public and government owned while Selian is private. I didn’t know that it’d make such a difference! I think everyone’s hospital experiences will be completely different just based on the working environment and whether or not there is a fundi (a technician) - mine doesn’t have one. Anyways, at Selian we were taken to a big storage unit that the fundis had placed equipment they couldn’t fix or didn’t have the parts for. Our large group grabbed on to whatever they brought out and started working. Soren and I decided to do an autoclave a.k.a. a simple pressure cooker. The only autoclaves I’ve ever seen (in the lab I work in at school) are much, much more complex. This one we just had to find a new heating element, re-due the wiring and replace the switch. We think they had turned it on with no water in it so all the wires were completely corroded and burned (you can see a picture of it below). The biggest challenge of the day as usual was the power source. We ended up not being able to finish because we couldn’t turn on our soldering iron the last hour we were there.
After we left, back at TCDC there was a traditional dance and music show which was pretty cool. I’d still like to learn how to carry things on my head like the women do here- they had pots of fire while they were dancing (another picture below). Friday night I went home to chat with my family and went to bed early because living here just makes you more tired. Also, I never realized since Tanzania is so close to the Equator, they have the same amount of daylight and nighttime year round. It makes sense, but I had never even thought about it! It is now the middle of winter so it is quite chilly. I wear jeans and a sweatshirt almost every day except when the sun comes out in the afternoon.
Saturday I went to Usa River Orphanage, which was great to see because it was actually really nice. The orphanage admits kids who either don’t have parents or their mother is unable to support them. We were also told three of them have HIV. It is a really big problem here and there is an orphanage right next to TCDC that primarily deals with AIDS orphans. The program they run is really great though because as long as the kids follow the rules and do well, they even support them through college. They have a 24 year old right now currently enrolled in university. Larry brought from home donated coloring supplies, books and a laptop so it was fun to deliver them along with meeting the staff and kids. After that I went into Arusha to explore a little more, had dinner at home and then back to Arusha to catch some of the nightlife. About half of our group went to Masai Camp so it was fun to dance with locals and other “mzungus.”
I spent Sunday studying, resting and went out to dinner with my family at Perfect Bar. I also ran to a local market which was fun. It’s pretty funny because Tanzanians don’t randomly go for a run (pretty sure they’re daily routines/work is enough exercise!) so Aubrey and I were definitely laughed at, especially while stretching. I’m quite used to being pointed out by now so it’s no big deal.
Yesterday was the last day of learning new Swahili grammar and today we took our final “test.” It is crazy that Thursday I am headed to my hospital and new house! We are getting our final briefing on what we can expect our work will be like and what people to try and meet with first. I will miss my mama’s cooking so, so much, but I am excited to get out in the markets and bargain/cook for myself! I think I’m probably going to be eating lots of fresh fruit and veggies since they’re so cheap here. I told mama that she needs to come over to teach me more and hang out at our house J Tomorrow is our official last lab and class so I’m excited to get out in the “real world” and be on my own! Soren and I are very excited to get started at Mt. Meru.