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MMT - Tanzania Day 5: Thursday, April 14, 2016

The bus ride to clinic in the morning reminds me of a school bus ride as a child. The driver stops at various places along the road between Moshi and Himo to collect various members of the team, including pastors, healthcare workers who serve as translators and the women who prepare food. The bus driver has quite the memory as we have not forgotten anyone yet, and these stops are not clearly marked. The morning bus ride also provides time for team devotions, singing and enjoying the beautiful landscape of Tanzania.

Today was another full day at clinic! When we arrived at the seminary location in Himo, there were many people already anticipating our arrival. Amazingly, they were lined up in orderly fashion and separated in an organized manner based on who had already registered. This is quite the feat for Africans who really struggle to line up! We were impressed as we pulled up. It sounds like the television news piece about the clinic was broadcast last night, so this may have created more attention and interest in our efforts. A newspaper writer also was present at the clinic earlier in the week. The publicity and word of mouth seems to be working. Patients even traveled as far as Arusha to be seen at the clinic today, which is close to two hours away by vehicle.

Patients waiting to be registered.
Bishop Angowi and Pastor Dave leading devotions.
Patients waiting and listening to devotions.

The morning began with Bishop Angowi and Pastor Dave providing Bible passages, song and prayer to begin the day. And again the crowd had the hymns memorized! Then the work of the day began. The clinic was busier today, and we needed to work a bit faster, longer and with changes in patient flow in order to see the 232 patients.

Diagnoses again were varied and diverse. We cared for patients with very high blood pressure and diabetes. Patients presented with goiters and umbilical hernias that were referred to surgeons and hospitals in the area. A young boy came to clinic with his mother due to vision deficits. Upon further examination it was discovered that he has juvenile cataracts that will need to be removed to maintain his vision. An elderly patient was carried into the clinic. This man has dementia and is bedridden. He has developed pressure ulcers and pneumonia. The RNs taught the wife how to perform the wound care at home, and one of the pastors came to pray with the family as this man and his wife face his prognosis. Wound care was again provided to several patients. Fungal infections, respiratory illnesses, and several cases of HIV were diagnosed with counseling provided. A woman presented with keloid growths all over her body, and a man presented with a solid tumor in his abdomen that turns out to be liver cirrhosis in its final stages. The patient medical needs are diverse as is the patient's understanding of healthcare and medicine. Throughout the week it has been interesting working with the Tanzanian healthcare workers. We can share knowledge, discuss differences in healthcare systems and learn from each other.

Tana, Pastor Dave, Shara, and Kimberly.
Precious little boy hanging out.
Patients waiting outside the seminary window.
Women cleaning up lunch dishes.
Fun playing peek-a-boo with the children.

Tomorrow will be another busy day at clinic as we already have over 100 patients registered to be seen, and we are certain more will arrive. We look forward to serving them with open hearts. The clinic day did end on a high note as Mt. Kilimanjaro peaked out of the clouds for just a few minutes as the sun was setting on another beautiful day in Tanzania.

“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?