Page 10 of MaRs BaRs Travel Blog Posts


Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 23rd 2013

Friday August 23rd, 2013 Mpepai …. Clinic Day 4: Today, the entire Tancan team journeyed to the village of Mpepai to provide a medical clinic for the surrounding community. Out of all the villages around Mbangamao, Mpepai had the largest community. They had their own parish, with Father Simon and Father Pachai as their parish priests. The clinic took place at the local school. The clinic had a late start (T.I.A: This is Africa). We did not start HIV briefing and testing until late afternoon. In the meantime, Renata, Susan and I were practicing pricking each others fingers. A nurse showed us how to get the most blood out while pricking the fingers. You need to use your finger nail as a tourniquet and dig your nail in the finger while yo... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 22nd 2013

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 Mobile Clinic Day and meeting Taitus and Conason….. Clinic Day 3: Today Renata and I got the chance to go on a mobile clinic to Mtetema Village. The road up to the clinic was a long bumpy ride. It took over 2 hours to drive there, even though the distance was not very long. The clinic was set up in the village school, community hall, and church. Every community event took place in the same room. The room had multiple purposes. It is incredible how the Tanzanian people do not waste anything. They take pride in what they do have and find ways to use the things they have for multiple purposes. When we were giving the children Frisbees to play with, they not only used the Frisbee ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 21st 2013

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 Elderly Clinic day …… Clinic Day 2: Today was the elderly clinic day. Since there was limited HIV testing today, Martha and I ran an exercise clinic for the elderly. We explained the importance of exercise and stretching. We then performed a variety of stretches with the elderly to help with their circulation and aches and pains. It was a lot of fun seeing their happy faces, and them trying to mimic our stretches. Afterwards, we gave them advil to help with their chronic aches and pains. Today was a slow clinic day. Not a lot of elderly in the community came to the clinic (I guess they did not get the memo). I spent most of my time enjoying the company of the student volunteers at the clinic and ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 20th 2013

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 Mountain clinic begins….. Clinic Day 1: Today we ran a medical clinic for the De Paul Secondary School students and afterwards engaged in social learning activities with the students. The clinic had a late start (TIA: This is Africa). When the students finally arrived, the HIV team started rolling. The lab tech at the clinic did not speak much English and was very quiet. It was difficult to carry on a conversation. He did not want to explain the purpose of HIV testing to the students, so we got help from Martha, one of the chalice workers from Kenya to help us. We were working non stop and when we finally stopped for lunch we were told that we would start the social learning activities right away, even though the ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 19th 2013

Monday, August 19th, 2013 The wheels on the bus go round and round part 2 …. So today it is time to say goodbye to Songea and hello to Mbinga and Mbangamao. It is a bittersweet day. I am going to miss the sisters of St. Norbert’s clinic, especially, Sister Mary Grace and her kindness and dedication. I am going to miss the children around St. Norbert’s clinic, collecting empty water bottles, skipping on the red dirt and chanting goodbye school bus as the bus drives on bye. But today is a new adventure and we are off to the mountainous region of Mbinga and Mbangamao. First stop is Mbinga and the De Paul primary school. At De Paul primary school, we were warmly welcomed by the children and community singing Karibu Sana and placing lays’ ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 18th 2013

Sunday, August 18th, 2013 Community Lunch at Neema Orphanage, Mural touchups and meeting sponsor children First thing today, the group headed of to mass Tanzanian style, at St. Norbert’s Church. The choir and people were singing and dancing (like a gospel choir) and the church was packed, not like the churches in Canada. Unlike masses in Canada, men were seated on the left side of the church and women were seated on the right; one of the customs in Tanzania. There was a lot of spirit, faith and love that filled the church. Even though, I did not understand the mass because I did not speak Swahili, I felt the love and devotion of the people to God. The people seemed generally happy to be there, and their happiness and praise to God was contagious. After ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 17th 2013

Saturday, August 17th, 2013 Breakfast with the elderly, its painting time and Songea market shopping….. Today we got some much needed rest and social bonding time. We headed off to the St. Norbert’s Church next to the clinic where we were greeted by the elderly of the Songea community. They were wearing the baseball caps and Canadian pins they received from the clinic the day before. We served the elderly breakfast where they wanted 3 to 4 teaspoons of sugar in their tea. That’s a lot of sugar!!!! They are just as sugar crazy as the children. Their sweet-tooth may partly be because they have a lot of sugarcane. They can never have too many sweets. That may partly be a reason why their teeth are so bad (the sugar rotting their teeth and the lack ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 16th 2013

Friday, August 16th, 2013 The Last Day of Clinic in Songea and it is Party Time !!!! Songea Clinic Day 3: So today marked the last day of clinic in Bobambili, Songea. We assessed the elderly in the morning and pre and post natal mothers in the afternoon. The day was slow in the HIV briefing and testing room. Not many elderly and mothers wanted to have HIV testing. Apparently, pregnant mothers already receive HIV testing at the hospital before their children are born to reduce chances of the virus passing to the child. I spent the majority of the time checking out the other different stations (Social Learning and Counselling, Hygiene Briefing, Nutritional Assessment and Triage, Nutritional Briefing, Vitamin A and Deworming, and Eye Care and Dental Brie... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 15th 2013

Thursday, August 15th, 2013 Things are starting to roll… Songea Clinic Day 2: Today went a lot smoother than the first day of clinic. We started the clinic on time and were able to end on time. In total we assessed and educated 302 children today. It was a sadder note for the HIV briefing and testing team. There were a lot more positive HIV cases today than the day before. We had about 15 positive cases of HIV today. Suzanne said that the children would be referred to the hospital and would start anti-retroviral treatment if they were below a certain T cell count. There was one case where a teenage girl tested positive for HIV. She was very upset. Sister Mary Grace and Adamu were very empathetic and compassionate to her situation ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 14th 2013

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 We are open for business…. Songea Clinic Day 1: Today was the official first day of the Tancan 2013 clinic, at St. Norbert’s clinic in Bombambili, Songea. We will be screening and promoting preventive health education to the children of the community for the next two days of the clinic. The third day of the clinic caters to the elderly for the first ½ and expecting mothers and their children for the second ½. We had a late start (TIA: This is Africa) but when things got rolling, they really got rolling. The HIV team worked non-stop, explaining what HIV was, why get tested and the importance of prevention. With the HIV team, fingers were pricked, blood was taken on the HIV test strips, and... read more
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