- Written by Kimberly Pepmiller Kimberly Pepmiller
- Created: May 24 2018 May 24 2018
Today the people came! We had larger crowds today at our Mercy Medical Team clinic in Uchira, which provided the opportunity for more interactions and care to be provided. The clinic opened about 9:45 AM after the morning prayer, devotion and singing with the waiting patients and our team. Around 10:00 AM many of the Tanzanian workers take a tea break. This demonstrates the British cultural influence. The morning tea breaks are challenging for us Americans, who generally place patients and work ahead of our own well-being. The opposite is often observed here in Tanzania, where health care workers place the needs of the patient second to personal needs. If we could find a happy medium between the two extremes, a proper balance might be achieved for all.
Today offered a unique opportunity to cuddle with and assist children with special needs. A local organization called Share Tanzania, located in Uchira, brought many of their residents to the clinic to be seen. This is a home that takes in children with developmental disabilities. Many children have cerebral palsy, spinal bifida, autism and other diseases that leave them with significant care needs. Many families do not have the resources to provide the care in the primary homes. In addition, there is a stigma attached to people with special needs in this culture. They are often shunned by society. A man from the UK started this organization four years ago that is funded through donations. There are currently 48 children living at the facility and receiving care. Residents are eighteen years of age and younger. When a resident ages out of the facility, the team works to transition him/her into society or to make other arrangements.
Share Tanzania brought seventeen children to be treated today. They arrived with mats to lay on the ground where the children could wait to be seen. Due to their inability to walk, we brought the clinic to the patients. Pastor Armstrong and several pastors from the Lutheran Church of East Africa prayed over the children. The team then obtained weights, vital signs and health histories up in the registration area. Then a Tanzanian doctor came out to assess and treat all of the patients. Several team members spent time this afternoon preparing and organizing medications for the children. The plan is for another group of the Share Tanzania children to come to be treated tomorrow.
Overall we provided care for 295 patients today. All of the team members continued to work in the same areas of the clinic alongside our Tanzanian counterparts. Today brought patients with very similar ailments. Allergies and upper respiratory tract infections remain common. Fungal infections are very common. Many elderly patients came through today, and there were a few exhibiting signs of dementia. Joint pain is common, which may be a reflection of lifestyle here. Several patients continue to return daily to the clinic for antibiotics and wound care.
Our team is beginning to ponder the bigger picture concepts, ideas and questions and to discuss and digest the opportunities that remain. We are hopeful we are making a lasting impact and creating a positive influence for the future.
“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?