Off to Africa

It’s been a busy year for The Phil Simon Clinic Tanzania Project. After our successful trip back to Arusha, Tanzania in February 2006, we gave several lectures updating our work here and in Africa. Our second annual fundraiser in April 2006 was a huge success thanks largely to the incredible talents of the children of Creative Planet School of the Arts and the Holy Family School fifth grade class. Raffee Reyes, our event planner, pulled out all the stops and once again, recreated the Serengeti at Pasadena’s Castle Green.

In October, we launched our Healthcare Worker Sponsorship program and welcomed Drs. Solomon Ole Logilunore and Clement Makule to California. The two weeks of their stay was a whirlwind of lectures, meetings, clinical work and exchanging ideas on the worldwide HIV epidemic. In addition to Huntington Hospital, the doctors were welcomed by Caltech, Cal State Long Beach, UCLA, UCSF, San Francisco General Hospital and the Mayor of Pasadena, Bill Bogaard. Their visit was capped off by a command performance by the children of Creative Planet School of the Arts.

Throughout all of this year’s events, we have been busily planning and organizing our fifth trip to Tanzania. Team Tanzania 2007 is the largest collection of talented people we have assembled. Twenty four in all, exhibiting an enormous range of skills and dedication. One half of the team are return visitors and will guide the way for the newly initiated. New team members include

  • Jim Blitz, general surgeon
  • David Schulman, gastroenterologist
  • Mihoko Nelsen, neurologist
  • Jonathon Cho, internist
  • Wafaa Alrashid, internal medicine resident
  • Christa Chandy, internal medicine resident’
  • Luisa Schulman, intensive care nurse
  • Vicki Landini, OR nurse
  • Susie Lompe, post operative nurse
  • Denny Kleeger, carpenter
  • Cheryl Prigodich, assistant to Dr. Shriner
  • Sandy Tatti, organizer
  • Hannah Cho, volunteer

They will join veteran team members, Jody Casserly, Tom Warren, Alison Hadziosmanovic, Phyllis Hollingsworth, Ann Kleeger, Cheryl Arteaga, Mickey Singer, Sally Eastman, Gyongyver Sovago, Suzie Icaza and myself.

Armed with 24 bags of supplies and medications and 30 hours flight time, Team Tanzania 2007 will arrive in Arusha February 4. On the ground in Tanzania will be waiting Drs. Solomon, Makule, Juvenatus along with Joyce Sagala, Ezekiel Noah and all the wonderfully dedicated staff of Upone Charitable Medical Centre, Mount Meru Hospital, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and the Kisonga Orphanage. The work week will be packed with clinical work, home visits, lectures, instruction, tutorials, art projects and most importantly, a sharing of ideas, hopes and wishes in dealing with the HIV epidemic.

You can follow the trip by logging into our diary. Team members will be describing their experiences and impressions throughout the two weeks. It is my privilege to work with such dedicated, talented and compassionate people. I know they will love Tanzania and its people as much as I do. Fika Salama! Jambo Africa!

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