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Tanzania Medical Mission: Clinic, Day Five

The morning of our final clinic day in Kahe began in a wonderful way: with a baptism. One of the patients we cared for this week is a severely malnourished child that we have connected to the local resources in the hope that the healthcare system will come through to support the child and his mother. Due to the severity of the child's condition, we connected the mother with the local Lutheran pastors in Kahe. Baptism was discussed, and the mother agreed. Therefore, this morning, there was a joyful baptism at the clinic. Many from the waiting crowd attended and provided beautiful harmonies for the acappella hymns. One of our team members was chosen as the godmother/sponsor. The child received the baptismal name of Marco, which is a strong biblical name, and he is also named after one of our team members. It was an emotional and an impactful way to begin the final day.

The clinic day went quickly as there were many patients waiting to be seen and limited time to see them all. At the end of the day, we were unable to see all of the patients, which is always a challenging situation. We hope and pray that those in greatest need of both spiritual and physical care were able to make it through the line to be seen.

Partnering with the local Tanzanian healthcare workers this week has been wonderful. Each one desires to do what is right to support their communities. This was seen through many tender moments where they went out of their way to do what is good and right. Challenges may exist in healthcare access, availability, and resources. However, there are admirable people here doing the work.

This evening Pastor Charles led the team and local missionaries in a communion service to close out the week. The evening concluded with a final debrief. Team members are looking forward to several days of enjoyment exploring Africa in new ways before traveling back home. The week has been a success and our hearts are full.

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

Tanzania Medical Mission: Clinic, Day Four

Our fourth clinic day was another good, smooth day. The team has figured out a routine and flow that works well. Our morning routine brings us to the clinic by about 9:30 AM each day. We leave our hotel at 8:00, stop to pick up the Tanzanian healthcare workers and then drive to Kahe. The noise on the bus has grown throughout the week as conversations and chatter occur amongst the team. They're great sounds to hear! After our safety huddle and morning prayer, we begin to see patients by about 10:00 or 10:30 AM. The local pastors and workers staying in Kahe have the school all set up and ready for our use by the time we arrive. The patients who registered the day prior are usually sitting in their benches in the proper order waiting for registration when we arrive, and then the crowd of other expectant patients grows throughout the day.

Patients waiting patiently

The past few days have brought several circumstances that our team holds in prayer. People who are viewed as less than normal by societal standards are often shunned and outcast. This leads to very challenging situations and lifestyles for these families. We have met several developmentally disabled children, a couple of people with albinism and a severely malnourished child. We have worked to connect them with local resources for both spiritual and physical care. It is eye-opening and heartbreaking to observe the struggle.

Faces of the day

Today brought many patients with similar health concerns that we have seen during the week. Our first major wound care needs came through the clinic today. Kristal and Kristin partnered together on treatment plans. Kristin continues to make an impact through physical therapy treatment plans for the patients, teaching them new skills and concepts. Pastor shares an excellent evangelism message that connects the concept of a deep faith in Jesus to growing healthy tomatoes. Mark and Chris are beloved by the children and set the tone for clinic flow by obtaining patient weights. Nelly and Kristal continue the process by gathering each patient's vital signs, and the five nurses (Kay, Kimberly, Laura, Rita and Vicki) all work in nursing triage. The local Tanzanian healthcare team has shared the great need they have observed and how happy they are to be working in Kahe this week. Hopefully the connections we are beginning to create for the locals will carry forward.

Morning prayer and devotion
Pastor sharing his message of Jesus and tomatoes
Nelly obtaining vital signs
Laura assessing a small child
Vicki and Hery triaging a large family

As we prepare for our final day of clinic, we pray that we will see the patients in greatest need of care. We look forward to continued service here where God has called us to be in Kahe, Tanzania.

Enjoying time with the children after clinic

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

Tanzania Medical Mission: Clinic, Day Three

Our third day of clinic went smoothly as well. We are refining our flow and using the safety huddles to address any opportunities for improvement. It has really been wonderful to see the Tanzanian and American teams work together and find such joy in the labor. The dedication by all workers is heartwarming.

Faces of the clinic

Patients presenting to the clinic seem to be experiencing similar illnesses. Some of the more common diagnoses we are seeing include urinary tract infections, high blood pressure, skin disease and arthritis. Each community tends to have common threads for health concerns. Through our interactions, we are trying to provide health education to each patient. We are focusing on hydration, nutrition, hygiene and many more topics.

Each day a group of women prepares a wonderful lunch for us. We have enjoyed ugali, rice and beans and a dish similar to hominy. The flavor of the meals has been wonderful, and we are super impressed by the timeliness of the preparations. It is a joy for the whole team to be able to eat together each day.

Lunch time under the trees

As the clinic begins to wind down in the afternoon and the final patients are being moved through the last stations, our team has the opportunity to interact with the children hanging out at the clinic. It brings great to joy to them and us to play games and sing songs. Each culture teaches the other a new game through the use of gestures, smiles and a few Swahili words. True enjoyment is experienced by all.

Morning prayer and devotion

Each day there is a group of patients who we are unable to see due to time constraints. Their names are written down on a list of patients to be seen the next day. The challenge is becoming that we are concerned there will come a time when we are unable to see all who desire treatment. Access to healthcare is scarce in this area, so our team would like to care for as many as possible.

The weather has been lovely during our stay. Mornings have been cool and overcast. The clouds begin to break midday, and by the drive home we are treated to the beauty of Mt. Kilimanjaro peaking through the clouds. This mountain is truly a magnificent sight!

Mt. Kilimanjaro

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

Tanzania Medical Mission: Clinic, Day Two

Each day our drive to Kahe takes us on a tour of the Tanzanian countryside and through many small villages. We pass large fields of sugarcane and corn and rice paddies as well. There is a stunning view of Mt. Kilimanjaro that has daily been visible on the drive home. The villages bring a glimpse into the daily life of those living here. Our team has observed the joy of the Tananzian people and have realized they are not poor. They may be lacking belongings, but they are not poor. In fact, it seems their faith even grows deeper with their daily reliance on God for provisions

Patients lined up and waiting for registration

Our second day of clinic went smoothly. We began the day with a safety huddle for the combined team of American and Tanzanian medical providers. We shared identified successes and opportunities from the day prior. A few changes were made to clinic flow to ensure patient prioritization based on condition and to streamline patient flow. Our local missionary team is doing an excellent job of empowering and teaching the local healthcare providers. The collaboration between the two teams is excellent. Morning devotions were held in both English and Swahili with the waiting crowd of villagers. It was wonderful to hear everyone sing and praise together.

Pastor Charles leading morning devotion and prayer

Team members worked in the same areas of the clinic throughout the day and settled into routines, developed more relationships with local partners, learned a few more Swahili words and helped provide both spiritual and physical care for those in attendance.

Clinic moments and perspectives

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

Tanzania Medical Mission: Clinic, Day One

Our first clinic day for our Mercy Medical Team in Tanzania went well. On our way to the clinic site in Kahe, we picked up the personnel from the district medical office who are working with us this week. Many of them have worked on MMTs before and are familiar with the flow and treatment plan. These personnel include doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, pharmacy personnel and clinical health volunteers. Many of the Tanzanian healthcare workers are paired with our MMT members to serve as interpreters and guides for healthcare in Tanzania.

Prayer on the bus

The clinic this week is being held in Kahe, the same town where our team worshipped yesterday. The clinic is being hosted within the local school building. Two of the LCEA pastors grew up in Kahe and know the head teacher at the school from their childhood. He has graciously allowed us to use the building this week. The school grounds really allow us to spread out, create an efficient clinic flow and allow patients to wait in the shade.

Morning devotion

The typical clinic flow is similar for all MMTs. Local pastors begin the process by registering patients. This process is quite organized with groups of twenty patients being brought through the line at a time. The patients then hear a Gospel evangelism message from Pastor Charles with translation assistance into Swahili from a local pastor. Kristal and Nelly then measure vital signs while Chris and Mark obtain the patients' weights. From there, the patients move to the second school room to complete nursing assessment and triage with Kay, Kimberly, Laura and Rita. Patients then proceed to see the physicians. A treatment room is available for medication injections, wound care and other treatment needs. Kristin is working in the treatment room and providing physical therapy treatment plans for patients. A room is set up for laboratory testing, such as malaria, urinalysis and blood sugar. A separate room is available for HIV testing and counseling. Finally, the patients check out through the pharmacy with Vicki and other team members where prescription medications are filled and explained to the patients.

Pastor Charles and Lucas in evangelism
Kristal and Nelly in vital signs
Kay and Teddy in nursing triage
Laura & Mary and Kimberly & Magreth in nursing triage
Dr. Cliff seeing a patient
Kristin and Sarah demonstrating body mechanics
Shara and Susan running the pharmacy
Vicki counting and packaging pills in pharmacy

This year new safety precautions have been implemented to ensure our clinics only provide help and not harm. The goal is to spend quality time with each patient providing safe care. The medical record forms have been updated to include many more assessment items and even patient education. We are ensuring patients are able to follow-up with a local clinic prior to beginning them on medications for a chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure. There are three main goals of the MMTs: (1) to connect patients to their local church, (2) to connect patients to their local health care workers and (3) to provide physical and spiritual care. Throughout our first clinic day, we were able to meet these goals.

Time with the children after clinic

This evening we arrived back at the hotel later than planned and had dinner, debrief and devotions. We look forward to the second day of clinic and settling into and smoothing our flow.

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?

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