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Published: October 27th 2007
Hi all, from Dar es Salaam we spent a relaxing week in Zanzibar - lots of long white sandy beaches, blue sea and sky. Spent a couple of days exploring Stone Town, and stayed in the town of Paje on the east of the island.
From Zanzibar we headed back to Dar and then flew to Mtwara in South Tanzania...including a stop at Lindi airport...on their grass landing strip - quite an experience!
Now we're just re-entering civilisation after spending the last few weeks working in the Physio Department (as there's no OT department) of a rural hospital in Nyangao, a small village in South Tanzania, near the Mozambique border.
Nyangao itself consists of a handful of market stalls, selling mainly onions, tomatoes, coconuts, fish etc with a couple of stalls of clothing. It takes between 1&1/2 - 3 hours by bus to get to any of the nearest bigger towns (Masasi, Lindi and Mtwara), so really is in the middle of nowhere. We soon realised that when we weren't at work, other than reading books we'd taken with us, sitting outside etc there was nothing to do, which was ok for a while, but then became very boring.
We couldn't go for walks during the day because it was too hot, and when it was cool enough to go in the late afternoon, we were always given dinner at 5pm - as it gets dark by about 7pm and there are no streetlights, it really limited us in being able to go out during the week.
However, we did use our weekends to visit the towns of Masasi and Lindi. Masasi just seemed to be a bigger version of Nyangao, so not really much else to see, but as Lindi is on the coast, we were able to spend a while on the beach.
Our accommodation while we were working the hospital, was in a bungalow/flat in the grounds of a domestic school, next to a convent, so we were looked after by the nuns... Unfortunately for us we were woken up every morning at 4.30am by the girls (aged around 14-18) from the domestic school sweeping the ground (they swept everywhere about 6 times a day - it was relentless). We then had people clattering around with pots and pans by 5am, dogs howling etc etc, so we didn't get a proper night's sleep for the entire
time we were there.
Anyway, the hospital was based about 10mins walk from where we were staying, so very easy to get to. The work was good - very interesting to experience work in a rural African hospital. Nyangao has about 200 beds, and the layout is very similar to that of Heatherwood in Ascot i.e. lots of outdoor walkways which join the buildings. We attended the morning meeetings where the new admissons were discussed, x-rays reviewed etc. Also went on the ward rounds - generally the surgical ones as that's where most of the physio referrals came from, but also went on the paediatric one.
On one day Claire and I were left to run the physio dept on our own as the physio and physio assistant were away for the day - we managed to blitz the work in half the time it ususaly takes them...probabaly because they walk everywhere so slowly! We did, however, also discover on that day that the physio isn't actually qualified - rather learns all she knows from other volunteers etc who work there, so we did our best to teach them what we could.
Have now just spent a couple
of days in Mtwara - staying in a beach bungalow but heading back to Dar later today.
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