DAY 1 Patience is rewarded
It was dark when we walked down the stairs from the KLM plane on to the tarmac. This was Arusha…..warm, sweat air with a slight welcoming breeze. The local staff were dressed in such colorful dresses.
We were greeted with warm hugs from Dr Ezekial , Lesikar and the other staff with whom our group had worked with in previous years. Their smiles and warm demeanor made me the new person in the group feel like I had been coming for years.
A small glitch in customs, of 27 Phil Simon medical bags, 4 were confiscated…. Ezekial Kim and Linda worked the negotiation, trips to the local authorities and another trip back to Kilimanjaro airport with the appropriate tax to secure the bags. ..the next day.
Patience will be the name of this trip.
Our 45 minute drive in land rovers at went smoothly. The drivers and staff were so talkative discussing local customs, changes in the government they didn’t seem to mind that it was midnight local time.
Moivaro Coffee Plantation and Lodge….. our home this week: quaint 1 room bedrooms with running water and toilet and shower….and mosquito netting and fabulous food…..and of course the bar….Rick Buschnell treated us all to a drink at the bar…..comfortable bed. Slept 4 hours…a walk before breakfast…jungle like. Small monkeys in the trees, bird noises ….. African trees
Our visit to St. Elisabeth’s Hospital was the contrast between the have and the have nots: behind a gated driveway cement square blocked buildings with families in colorful clothing gathered together under the trees, benches in a quad; the patients depend upon the family bringing food, drink and comfort to them. The few nurses dispense the care that is needed.
Families waiting because a patient has to have someone to cook and clean and care for them when they are in the hospital
The patient rooms are large wards…separated into pediatrics, adult men and adult women. In the pediatric ward mothers dressed in colorful dresses stayed beside their child; there were about 10 to a room. Collections of water bottles, food and thermoses sat on tables. I didn’t see a sink anywhere and bathrooms were shared down a hall.
The adult rooms were full, of patients, few family members were present. One man struggled to breath with oxygen. I think he needs to be on a ventilator; there is none.
Labor and Delivery with 3 beds in the same room.
The intake room…..a woman with an obvious serious infection in her leg; “immunocompromised.” Stoic, in serious agony. Her family is with her; she is reluctantly admitted. She needs intravenous antibiotics now and there is a question whether she will receive this; she has no money and our supplies do not arrive until tomorrow. I think she will lose her leg, if she survives. I am feeling helpless
And at the same time hopeful as I am told conditions are improving, neonatal equipment has arrived and new buildings are being completed to house more patients.
We return to Moivaro for lunch with OMG JANE GOODALL !!!! She was leaving Tanzania and accepted Kim’s invitation to lunch with us . She is as graceful and kind as we all have come to know and respect from her many lectures and events over the years. She is ageless, and unflappable, generous with the time she spent with us…. Modest JANE GOODALL our idol, ideal woman who has done so much to champion chimpanzee rights, environmental rights, animal rights, girls rights. Many smiles from us all.
Light nap, Yoga, exercise in the afternoon and a few minutes of rain,tropical style. A good dinner and plans for a very busy tomorrow.