Last Day of Clinic

Hello everyone!

Wanted to give yet another update here in Tanzania.  Today we finished up the last day of clinic and I feel like we accomplished much more than just giving vision and care to these patients.  Thursday we saw 180 patients, then on Friday we say over 200 patients, then today on our last day, for only having a half clinic and still saw 119 patients.  Total for all 5 and a half days of clinic, we say 852 patients.  Our goal was to see 600.  Over 100 patients were referred to surgery or be seen further about a glaucoma diagnosis.  500 pairs of sunglasses were given out as we ran out of sunglasses to give.  A lot of prescription glasses were ordered and hundreds of readers were given.  I am not sure on the exact numbers just yet for the glasses, but I can tell you so many people were walking out happy.  Every day we were in clinic, more and more patients were showing up.  We were told that the word got out around town about the great work we were doing.  

All of this work would be nothing without the clinic, the staff, and the volunteer translators.  There is only so much we can do without the help of the rest of the team.  We are so grateful for the work that we were able to do, but even more grateful for the work that everyone put into this week as well.  As it has been many years since I have been on a VHI trip, this feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction from patients is addicting and must be the reason we keep doing the trips.  The exhaustion and chaos during the clinic is well worth this feeling at the end and I can not wait until I get to do it all over again.  

As we were leaving the clinic for the last time this afternoon, many of the staff and volunteers had said to me, “this is not a goodbye, but a see you later, as you will be back in Tanzania soon”.   I would LOVE to come back to this beautiful country.  The views of this country is just as beautiful of the personalities of this country as the “personalities of the people here are just a colorful as their clothing” (Nikki, Trip Co-Director).  My favorite part of this trip by far is the gift that I received in the middle of the clinic today.  One of the translators mothers, sister-in-law to our host Exauhd, handmade a dress for me with African fabric and it is STUNNING.  Fits me like a glove and I could not be more happy the way it turned out.  What a treat to bring back home.  

After the clinic today, our team did a little shopping, of course.  We started our excursion to the Cultural center which is basically all of the tourist gifts you would like to buy for your loved ones.  Blankets, trinkets, jewelry, and glassware.  Gorgeous crafts and very unique to the country.  We got a lot of great shopping done there.  We then wen to the Messai market, which was an experience.  There about 25-50 small shops owned and operated by individual owners who all desperately wanted for you to shop in their store.  Saying things as “Mama, we have been waiting for you to come shop here”, “Mama, where you come from, look at what I have for you”, “Lady, look at this, oh please come in, won’t you?”  All very persuasive and sometimes a little uncomfortable because I just wanted to look through everyones shops and browse.  They were all very pushy with each of their shops, even though they all sold the same things.  I eventually bought a necklace from the first place I walked up to as I promised her I would come back to her shop.  She was about to give me a necklace for free but then I insisted I pay at least a couple bucks for it, so she then insisted that I pay $5, in which I gave her a $10, and I never got the change.  So I guess I got douped.  

Tomorrow we have another day of exploring the area around us before heading out to Safari.  I look forward to another day of experiencing this new experience.  Lala Salama (Sweet Dreams). 

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