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MMT - Tanzania Day 3: Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The skies seemed to dry up overnight and the day began a bit calmer than it concluded last night. From the road outside the hotel we even saw a glimpse of the middle section of Mt. Kilimanjaro, which provided hope of an eventual sighting. Morning errands showed us a quick glimpse of the town of Moshi as we picked up some additional medications and drinking water. The drive to Himo provides some great scenery! We pass through agricultural areas where fields of corn are planted. There are many stands and businesses along the way. Children are dressed in uniform and on their way to school. And there are gigantic baobab trees to enjoy.

Corn fields planted amongst the landscape.
Baobab tree.
Time for school!

Clinic day began with prayer and praising out in front of the seminary with the patients who were awaiting our arrival and services. This offered time for the patients to understand where the clinic originated from, where the volunteers traveled from and what will be occurring. Bishop John of the LCEA guided the discussion and Pastor Dave from the MMT provided the prayer time. Then clinic started!

Prayer time prior to clinic opening.

Today we had two new health officers (physicians) working with us from Tanzania, so we had to get them up and running on our process. One positive about this MMT clinic here in Tanzania is that the doctors are really concerned with providing quality care. They spend time with each patient and really discuss the concerns. This raises the level of the quality of care the patients are receiving. Today brought 165 patients of many varieties with many ailments. Patients presented with high blood pressure, high blood sugars, chest congestion, allergies, gout and other common primary care diagnoses. A handful of cases of HIV have been diagnosed so far. We have not had any positive malaria screenings yet. One woman brought her child in who has microcephaly and already has a placed feeding tube for treatment. Another woman has a leg wound she has been dressing and caring for over three years. We will see her each day to provide wound care. Another woman had a large chunk of wood embedded in her arm. A physician and several assistants worked to dig this out. This woman will return to the clinic each day for wound care as well. One observation is that it appears the people we are seeing have access to healthcare. They are not presenting as acutely ill as patients have in other MMT locations. All of the patients so far have worn shoes and come well dressed to the clinic, like this is an event to attend. We enjoy interacting with the patients and Tanzanian healthcare workers, and our Swahili is even improving ever so slightly!

Many Muslim patients came to the clinic to be treated today, and several of them were even present for morning prayers with the group. At one point in time our team leader, Sharon, was in the pharmacy and took a picture of three Muslim women who were waiting for prescriptions. In broken English the Muslim women mentioned to Sharon that they thank God for her and this clinic, and Sharon responded by saying that we thank the same God that they came for treatment today. What a way to witness the Christian faith!

Patients waiting patiently to be seen.
Kimberly weighing an adorable girl.
Sharon meeting and treating little Sharon.
Tana and Frank triaging a patient.
Pastor Dave enjoying a little girl.
Lana and Lydia triaging patients.

The LCEA where we are hosting our clinic this week has a couple neat outreach programs and ways the building is used during the day that we have been able to observe. There is a small preschool housed in the building, and those children are learning their alphabet, numbers, English, Swahili and more. It was a joy today to hear them singing their ABCs in English several times over. Towards the end of the day a group of about 25 to thirty primary school students gather at the seminary for after-school tuition, which seems similar to after-school educational programs. There is a teacher who meets the students, and they work on English grammar and mathematics primarily. The time lasts for about an hour and a half. Today the children treated us to many songs they know, and they were mostly in English. They sung exuberantly and with enthusiasm. The American team members tried to teach them several songs, and they already seemed to know them. At the end of the after school time, the MMT group passed out toothbrushes to the children. In response, the children sang the "This is how we brush our teeth song" with actions and all. They were overjoyed by the toothbrushes.

Preschool teacher and class hard at work.
This is how we brush our teeth, brush our teeth …

The big excitement for the day occurred when the clouds broke and Mt. Kilimanjaro was spotted through the window of the seminary. Clinic was momentarily stopped while the American team members ran outside to see the mountain and take pictures. The mountain is just stunning! Driving back to Moshi tonight from Himo provided glorious picturesque views of the two peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It truly is breathtaking and hard to take your eyes off of. What a wonderful creation God has made!

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?