Friday, August 8, 2014

Greetings from Tanzania!

I am currently teaching nurses at Haydom Lutheran Hospital in Tanzania.

Although this is my first trip to Tanzania, this is my fourth trip to Africa and my third time on the continent working as a nurse. I decided to become a nurse after my first trip to Africa in 1988-89.

I think it's easy to come to developing country and see only poverty and suffering. It's easy to feel frustration and a sense of futility when confronted with the problems people living in an impoverished part of the world face. Here, problems that are relatively rare in the U.S. are common. I have seen expatriate health care workers become pessimistic and angry when simple solutions to problems seem to be unavailable in rural Africa.

I am not immune to those feelings, however, I also see here resourcefulness in a resource-poor setting, the beauty of humanity and Creation, and, most importantly, hope.

Here, a mother of ten children can have surgery to repair her torn uterus and receive a safe blood transfusion rather than bleed to death or be infected with a blood-borne pathogen,

Unit of blood tested for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C

 a person with a spinal cord injury or a stroke can learn to walk again,

myelomeningoceles are repaired,

tuberculosis is cured,

and broken bones are repaired.

Here, people who would have died without the medical and surgical services provided survive, disabilities are minimized, and people return home to their families.

My special thanks to Karen March, Neuroscience Clinical Nurse Specialist, mentor, and friend, who facilitated my visit to Haydom Lutheran Hospital.

Karen buying a SIM card for her cell phone from a vendor in Haydom