Africa gets under your skin,literally and figuratively. We’ve completed our clinical work at Upone for the week. It’s really only the very beginning. Our staff is experiencing a mixture of exhaustion and exhiliration. The week has been a kaleidoscope of hard work, tremendous sorrow, incredible joy and inspiration. We leave Upone with a well stocked pharmacy thanks to the tremendous work of Dr.Murase,Ryan,Rhonda,Lyn and Alison (not to mention Jody and Ann who also helped haul 8 bags of medical supplies 7000 miles.) The nurses,Alison and Rhonda spent the morning teaching the nursing staff infection control and safer nursing techniques. I can see the bond between them and the Upone nurses. They now have a pulse oximeter, automatic blood pressure cuffs and a more organized triage. They also have many new friends,both African and American. Jody and Ann have created new support systems through a women’s group and art therapy. The Spanish speaking ladies group project is more than anyone could imagine. The African ladies have returned their photos-an incredible testimony to the trials and triumphs of having HIV in Tanzania-so personal and so powerful. It will be an amazing link across two continents and three languages. Ann ran a children’s art group and will return to the U.S. armed with startling creations from children who had never seen paints (the side yard of Upone now bears the imprints of small,painted hands.) Lyn has helped create a more organized data system for Upone and will continue her invaluable assistance to me in our ongoing negotiations for improving the Upone building. Ryan, the only male in our group (looked upon with some envy by the other African men) has been a whirlwind of activity. He builds shelves, photographs the events of the clinc, entertains the hordes of children that gather and keeps all the ladies in line (Pascal, our Masai driver and good friend refers to Ryan as the “male impala”. We call him the “Ryan King.”) Dr.Murase has given every ounce of energy to the loads of patients descending upon us. 6 months into her internship and she can evaluate 20 patients in a session. Her dedication to good care and a proper use of medications is appreciated by both Dr.Ole and myself. So yesterday, we said goodbye to the staff and patients at Upone. Like the African dust, they have gotten under our skin. We are part of them as much as they are part of us. It’s been a week beyond all expectations; a wonderful, devastating, hilarious, tragic and inspirational hodgepodge of events. The generosity, openness, acceptance and genuine love of all the people we have met is overwhelming and will take a lifetime to process. As we shared a wonderful traditional meal at Dr.Ole’s home, we committed to the sistership between The Upone Charitable Medical Centre and The Phil Simon Clinic. All of these images are swirling around in my head today. Add to that our warm and musical greeting by the villagers of Sasi whom we have visited with our partners, Global Partners and the exceptional accomplishments of the Arusha ladies cheese cooperative,it has been an incredible day. Not a bad way to spend a 46th birthday. We will go back to the States with so many memories and ambitions,but we leave our hearts in Tanzania.