I am fortunate enough to write my first journal entry after having a week to absorb this extraordinary experience here in Tanzania. I don’t want to rehash too much of what people have already written, but just to tell you that the 30 hour epic journey in the friendly skies has been more than worth it.
Our work at the Upone Clinic finished yesterday, where our day and patient experience began with an especially power home visit and ended with clinic. I will talk about clinic, as Jody will go into more detail about the home visit tomorrow. Our focus in clinic was mainly HIV positive patients and those suspicious of HIV, but through the week we were able to see a variety of different conditions. One of the most pleasant surprises of the clinic was being able to work with clinic officer in tandem. I personally got to work with Ezekiel, who helped with obtaining history and was a wealth of information as to the endemic diseases and treatments. Together, we were able to formulate plans for treatment and teach each other the different pearls of medicine that we hav each learned along the way. More importantly, I was able to work with this extraordinary gentlemand and see his enthusiasm and undying dedication to his people, as he would work tirelessly each day from 8 am to as late as 10 pm.
Today was the first annual HIV/AIDS Symposium, where different health care workers from the area met and shared ideas on the direction of HIV care in both the states and Tanzania. Dr. Shriner, Dr. Tyson, and I spoke on subjects ranging from epidemiology, opportunistic infections, and treatment. The presentations were well received by the different health care workers which included clinic officers, pediatricians, and internists. We also had an unexpected audience of seven bats sleeping on the roof of our conference room (I attribute their sleep to my portion of the presentation ). The day continued with lunch, where we were able to sit and discuss frankly the issues and direction of HIV treatment. Finally, the day ended at Dr. Solomon’s house, where he graciously had the group over for dinner. Here, we were able to meet his wife (who cooked and amazing meal), mother and extended family. Dr. Solomon has opened his home and clinic to us, and has treated us warmly throughout our stay, and we thank him for this unique and incredible experience.
There is so much to write, as you can see from my ramblings above. There is even more to write on the effect this has had on all of us here. We have had such an amazing team experience, and it is truly evident that a big part of our hearts will be left here in Arusha. My own feelings are in a whirlwind, and as I sit here trying to type the words that will encompass them, I feel I can write for endless pages. What I do want to convey in these last sentences is this: we are truly lucky in the states for the luxuries we have, the most important being our health. We have so much to give, and there is no greater gift in my eyes than to help serve our fellow man in need. I you ever are given a chance to do so, take it. More importantly, create your own opportunities. I just want to end this by saying that I am indebted to Dr. Shriner and the Phil Simon Clinic for this opportunity. Dr. C