- Written by Kimberly Pepmiller Kimberly Pepmiller
- Created: June 21 2017 June 21 2017
The weather here in Tanzania has been quite mild so far. The high temperatures have been near eighty degrees with low temperatures near sixty degrees. We have had cloudy mornings that clear to sunny skies in the afternoon, and we have not seen the rains of Africa yet. The area where we are staying is the Kilimanjaro region, and this evening on the drive home from clinic Mount Kilimanjaro decided to say hello to us for the first time. It is such a majestic mountain masterpiece.
Our day began with a later start. Breakfast was in buffet style at the hotel where choices include beans, potatoes, eggs to order, fried bread and toast. Our bus stopped on the way to clinic to pick up several of the local medical providers. We arrived to clinic slightly later than planned as the gentleman working in the lab was trying to obtain sharps containers to use for his area. We arrived to clinic between 9:30 and 10:00 to a crowd of people waiting for us. Immediately we were called to assist an elderly man with asthma in respiratory distress. Medications were given to assist with his breathing. Shortly after this a woman arrived with a severe foot wound. The woman has diabetes and had stepped on a thorn at some point. The wound has progressed with many deep, open areas and several necrotic toes. The woman's blood sugar is also quite high. With the assistance of local health officials and pastors, we helped to transport the woman to a local hospital where she will receive treatment to control her blood sugar, wound debridement and potentially an amputation operation later on. After these exciting first cases, we were able to begin running the clinic fully around 10:45.
The flow of the clinic was very similar today, and the team members remained in the same roles throughout the day. We are estimating that we provided health and spiritual care to approximately 170 patients today. More children came to the clinic, and the team enjoyed interacting with them, working to see them smile and even practicing Swahili with them. Many team members are becoming more adventurous with using Swahili, and the reaction on the Tanzanians' faces is joyous as they appreciate our efforts and probably slightly inaccurate pronunciations. Team members are enjoying taking the time to speak with the pastors and health care providers working alongside us to learn more about the Tanzanian way of life and appreciating the cultural traditions.
Patients presented today with more challenging health diagnoses. In addition to the asthmatic man and the gangrenous foot wound, we cared for patients with breast masses, pneumonia, respiratory illnesses from dust and smoke, malnutrition in children, STDs, prostate issues, scabies, fungal skin infections, urinary tract infections and many other ailments. Laboratory testing continues for items such as blood sugars, malaria, urine test and HIV testing and counseling. There have not been any positive malaria tests and two positive HIV tests so far. Treatment continues to be provided with antibiotic injections and ear lavage. There was one great success with this today. An eight-year-old boy returned today for us to continue cleaning his ears. At the conclusion the boy could hear again after all the wax was removed and even thought the noises of the world were quite loud.
Our team is discovering the opportunity for health education for both the patients and local health care providers. We have the opportunity to model and be the example of how to care for diseases in new and different ways than the current treatments being provided here in Tanzania. There is also the opportunity to share with the patients health education to help them to be more successful and healthy. This is both disappointing to observe and an opportunity for us to be able to assist in a useful and meaningful way.
Pastor Pase continues to provide evangelism to the patients in groups of twenty as they begin to enter the clinic. The patients wait patiently and listen attentively. Pastor Schulte continues to pray with each individual as they leave the clinic. Even the Muslin patients stop and pray. This is a unique opportunity to be able to reach this population, and we hope a seed is being planted through these prayers and interactions.
Our team is doing very well. We are a cohesive bunch and are collectively and individually enjoying our time here in Tanzania. We look forward to another day of clinic tomorrow and the opportunities that will present themselves for us to witness, treat, and serve.
“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?