I have made it to Tanzania safe and sound!
I had my first taste of the Arusha town centre yesterday and today was my first day in the hospital.I have so much to say but I'm not sure where to start. I'm still so overwhelmed and struggling to adjust.
By African standards, I will be living in absolute luxury for the next 8 weeks. The house is in a relatively posh area of town with giant houses surrounded by large fences.
The hospital where I will be spending most of my time is a referral hospital for the region but is still quite basic. The entrance is always quite crowded – it’s a gauntlet of 'Mambos', 'Jambos' and 'Taxi?'…. everyone wants to talk to the mzungus! Our Swahili is definitely getting better but I'm sure no-one is fooled. We are still tourists to them.
I am spending these first two weeks in surgery. We had a 3 and a half hour ward round yesterday which included a 5 month old who had been bitten by a rabid dog and a lady who presented to the ED with severe machete wounds.
The surgeons here do a great job with what they have. I helped clean and dress many burn wounds on lots of poor little kids today and it was nice to see the doctors still showing compassion and empathy even though this is a daily occurrence for them. They have such a hard job.
On Thursday we went to the Paradiso Orphanage in a slum area of Arusha. The kids were bright eyed, hospitable and full of fun. It was such a fantastic experience, I think we will definitely go back again. The boys brought a football to play with and us girls were promptly sat down in little chairs for the girls to work their magic on our hair...I think Emily is still finding knots!
This blog was written by Ashlie Church, an Australian medical student, in Arusha.