Published: June 30th 2012June 30th 2012
This weekend marks the midway point of my two year posting. That means it is time for me to say good-bye to other volunteers who have completed their one-year postings. Thursday night, I said, "See you later" to my best friend, here in Dar es Salaam, Claire Dalton.
Claire was in the group of volunteers that arrived in July, 2011. She is one of those people I knew I had to get to know. Her original posting was with a hospital in the Kagera region (northwest Tanzania). The placement wasn't very good, but she stuck it out for as long as she could before heading back to Dar to find a new place to offer her services.
While in Dar, she met the folks from Unicef who were looking for someone who could help them with the launch of the Birth Registration Project they wanted to create for Tanzania. Claire jumped in feet first and found herself waist deep in the whole process of getting Tanzanians to register their babies at birth. So few births are registered because babies are born at home, in the village, or other places other than a hospital. If they are born in a
Claire and Dan
Dan and his wife, Jane is from Ottawa. They are volunteering in the Health Sector
healthcare facility, the parents, for any number of reasons, choose not to register. As a result, millions of Tanzanians don't know how old they are and they have no formal form of identification. This proves to be a problem when they want to get a passport or need ID as adults.
Claire took the Birth Registry Project on with wild abandon and gave 200% to the job. Last month, they rolled out the project and people are lining up to register their babies. It is a HUGE success and Claire was the driving frce behind it. She should be extremely proud of her achievements. I am so proud of her.
Away from the work, Claire was great to hang out with... We had our Friday night pizza nights, Saturday morning rituals of coffee and grocery shopping, and our Sunday evening movie nights. She is the type of person you can vent to and she will listen quietly and then tell you what needs to be done.
Claire ended up being my nextdoor neighbour so we hung out a lot. In fact, many people joked that if they saw Claire, they figured I couldn't be far behind... or
Marije & Tim
Marje and Tim are from the Netherlands. She is a doctr and he is a hospital Administrator
A group of us took Claire to Coco Beach for her last meal in Tanzania on Thursday night and true to form, there were many laughs and stories of her year here. The pictures are from that gathering.
Yesterday, she boarded a plane for Heathrow where her family met met her and she will re-join her life in Oxfordshire.
I am told that this is what the volunteer world is about... saying hello and good-bye to so many people.
I will miss Claire's insistence on wearing linen everyday here. I will miss her "english" ways, but mostly I will miss the daily contact I had with her. She is a good friend.
There are more photos below