It makes me so happy to hear that everyone enjoyed the last update from Tanzania, and I am eager to share another update.
Today we finished our third day of clinic and the days seem to get better and better. Our team has gotten into an easy groove with the flow of patients, making diagnoses, distributing glasses and readers, and most importantly, making the patients happy. Today, we saw 132 patients, the most we have seen in one day, which now makes the total count of patients between the three days close to 350. The patients that walk through our doors are from any age, any background, with a variety of needs. Some people are in desperate need of cataract surgery while others may need treatment for glaucoma and never even heard the term glaucoma. Some people just want readers to do their daily work at home easier while others want sunglasses because they get headaches with the amount of sunlight. No matter what the diagnosis and treatment may be for each patient, our team always finds something for the patient to walk away with to make them feel like they were heard and their needs were met in some way, including giving away biscuits and cookies today to our patients that were donated by the Lions Club of Tanzania.
Unfortunately, some diagnoses may be lost in translation, which we are working on educating our translators in the importance of eye care and terms. We also all feel that the translators are really interested in learning about medical practice and eye care in general. Over 3 full days, and 2 and half more days to go, we have become very close to the medical staff of Ndooombo Community Foundation Clinic as well as our translators. Daniel, who is my translator in optical, and I have become in-sync with one another on how to operate the optical. The optical is similar to “exit through the gift shop” type of style as most every patient that is being seen at the clinic is walking home with at least sunglasses. To get through all of the patients that come through the optical, it is almost a must for Daniel and I to know the next step and move for each patient, almost like a synchronized dance. The important part is that we are meeting our patients needs and doing everything that we possibly can to help them in some way. That, I know, is being translated and understood to each patient.
As for outside the clinic, we have greatly enjoyed being the in the country of Tanzania. We recently moved to a new hotel that is about a half an hour closer to the clinic which helps us with the commute in the morning. As we left the previous hotel, we were treated with a goodbye song (video to be shared later as it is too larger to attach to this email). I have noticed since being in Tanzania, that everyone in this country is so kind and so welcoming. I was told by our host, Exaudh, that the founding father of Tanzania had built this country in the fashion of treating everyone like family. This is why when we drive down the street and wave at people, they will always wave back, if they are not waving at us first. I definitely feel the sense of a tight-knit community of family running through the veins of these streets.
The new hotel is so nice with stunning views, and in my opinion, upgraded rooms from the previous hotel. This morning we were all greeted with monkeys! There were probably at least 50 of them climbing the trees and our huts grabbing at avocados and fruits for breakfast. They were all so cute! We have also enjoyed the beautiful views of Mount Kilmanjaro and Mount Meru. We are all so in awe of the beauty of the mountains here, which is funny coming from the majority of our group who live in places like Colorado and Montana in which we see mountains every day. But the mountains here are different, which it makes it more exciting and beautiful.
Please enjoy the pictures of our trip so far!