December 17, 2010

My Sister's Month in Tanzania - Part 2

Here’s my sister’s side of her correspondence with an Australian colleague (whom she’s never met) about Tanzania. She’s taken over a research project on children with pneumonia, while the colleague has left Tanzania for the Christmas holidays to visit England and see the snow for the first time.

Name, locations and references to people have been remove to protect the somewhat innocent.

Date: December 8, 2010
Location: Tanzanian Hospital

Habari [Friend 1]!

So I arrived in Muheza yesterday! I feel like I've been hit by a ton of bricks :) So much kiswahili to learn, oh my. The med students are awesome, and I've enjoyed the times I was able to spend at the clinic so far.

So [Hospital Administrator 1] is away but [Hospital Administrator 2] gave me the USB stick. Thanks SO MUCH for the instructions, I have to admit I feel a bit overwhelmed. I met [Dr. 1], who was very nice and expecting me. But he said before I could start anything I need to approval of the superintendent (?), a certain Dr whose name I have, of course, forgotten. He is usually at the ward, but I went on rounds with him (he was super instructive)! So I'll be meeting up with him in an hour, keep your fingers crossed.

A few questions:
I'm at the research centre right now, trying to match up initials and names. I've noticed that the XLS sheet starts at 4003, but my patient initial folder only starts with number 4201. I've asked people if I folder of initials is missing, but they don't know. Do you remember there being more than one?

Also, once I've match names with ID numbers, where do I go from there? To the centre records? Sorry I'm sure it is obvious but I'm still very jet- and country-lagged […]

Sorry to pull you back here while you're enjoying your vacation (which I hope you are)!Cheers,[007’s Sister]

Date: December 14, 2010
Location: Tanzania Hospital

Hiya [Friend 1] (everyone else calls you that so I may as well get started too)!

I'm just logging on since the last time I had internet access (which was when I last emailed you). There's a backlog of emails but I've decided to answer them chronologically instead of all at once (it's a bit overwhelming).

A few extra days (and a few days away to Oshunga beach) have done a world of good. I've been quite enjoying linking up the initials to names, actually, and the missing folder resurfaced with [Administrator 2] ([Administrator 1] did have it, I think, but it took [Administrator 2] returning to actually give it to me!). I've pretty much finished that bit. All is good. I've been to the Centre quite a lot and hopefully am on good enough terms with [Dr. 1] and [Dr. 2] to get some help if I need it. The project's been OKed now, as long as we don't publish it.

There is so much to see, and I do hope to nip out once in a while to get some ward experience. I'm also loving learning Kiswahili, and I've really hit the jackpot with the other students here (the two boys especially are thrifty and adventurous, like me). We've been getting milk and cream from Tanga Fresh, and making butter and yogurt every day. I also make fresh bread and coffee every day-- it's been bliss, finally my odd DIY habits are paying off!

I've been attending the morning meetings, which at times make me feel as though I'm stuck in a Kafka novel. What's the point of a mortality meeting if no cause of death is identified, no lessons are learned? It's baffling. And sad.I

'll let you know what happens when I actually try to access the records-- keep your fingers crossed.

Safari njema,
[007’s Sister]

PS: how'd you like the Tate? I loved it. Your photos of jacket-less frolicking in the snow make my knitting- cold-blooded- self extremely uncomfortable! Cover up!

Date: Sometime after December 14, 2010
Location: Tanzania

Fresh, rafiki! Asante sana.

Nope-- I'm the only Sydney U. student.

Actually, I'm the only student not paired up! I think the others think I'm a bit crazy to be traveling solo, but I've conveniently ingratiated myself with the Uni of Western Sydney students and now they can't get rid of me (bwa ha ha). This weekend we're going camping in Leshoto; after New Year's we'll be climbing Mt. Meroo (?sp). And, of course, Chrsitmas next weekend. [Friend 2] and I have gotten the kids some presents (thus filling the majority of my bag, and fortuitously freeing up lots of space for kangas) [African clothes].

I feel as though I miss this scrappy town already, and I haven't left it yet. I wish I had more time here. Honestly, it feels a little bit like coming home to Antanarivo (where my family lived from 2004-2007), which I knew I missed, but didn't realize quite how much. Except nobody speaks Malagasy here. Details. Is there anything you're hankering for in particular? My bag is not too heavy (yet)...

[007’s Sister]


Astrogirl said...

This is so interesting! Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

I want to be in Tanzania too