This is my first trip to Africa with this group. So far it has been an amazing adventure. The plane ride over was never-ending for me as I was in the middle of a head cold. Fortunately all our flights were on time, connections were flawless, lay-overs were minimal and we arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
Once we arrived at Kilamanjaro airport our processing through passport control and baggage went smoothly. As soon as we arrived at Moivaro Lodge they greated us warmly with glasses of mango and watermellon juice (delicious)!! We got our room keys and I flopped into bed and was asleep immediately.
Upon awakening I was able to see how beautiful Moivaro Lodge really is. After breakfast we began our scheduled appointments.
Our day and a half at Upone Clinic was amazing. The first day I re-organized the medicine cabinet with help from my able assistants, Lyn, Raffee and Cheryl. The next day we saw 36 patients in 6 1/2 hours. I was able to sit in with Dr. Shriner and dispense the prescribed drugs for each patient.
The Tanzanian people are truly inspiring. They all waited patiently to be seen without any complaints. They are a beautiful and proud people and quite shy. even the sickest among them rarely complain outwardly. The children are the most amazing. Wehn you look into their eyes and they begin to smile, your heart simply melts.
We had brought many gifts for the children–the most popular being a talking banana named Bobby. When you push on his stomach he begins to sing a snappy jingle and the children are totatlly amazed. Even the sickest ones responded with huge smiles.
Several patient stories caused me to cry, I swear I could actually feel my heart breaking. You want to do something for them, but all you can do is offer support and a hug.
Treatment with anti-retrovirals are becomming available now, and that has changed the lives of hundreds, just as when they were introduced in the USA. People are able to return to work and care for their families, and many are now coming to get tested.
But now a severe drought is affecting the country. There is no power for most of the day and animals and crops are dying. So the Tanzanian people have yet another disaster to face. But with our help, and their spirit, they will survive.