mgeni rafiki pamoja na mimi – new friend with me!

Friday 7-10 continued……….. Deb and I got a ride down the mountain with Baba Juma a driver that Susan has used for all of her rides during both of her trips here. Baba Juma was the best driver in the world and by that I mean that he drove pole pole and safely. They dropped Deb and I off with one of the nurses’ nieces, Jillian, to go out to lunch with us before she left for secondary school again. So we got dropped at Blue Heron for lunch and went to the Masaii market to look at a few crafts and then got picked up around 4 by Baba Juma, susan, and her girls and drove back up to the mountain. That night I grabbed a few snacks and headed to the maternity ward to work for the night. I wrote a paper waiting for something other that giving patient medicine to go on, but no such luck all night long…just froze my butt of all night long. Its really incredible how fast it gets dark here and when it gets dark, the whole world around you changes with it. It becomes such a different atmosphere than during the day and a creepy one at that. I also still cant believe how cold it gets here during the night, nothing I was prepared for when I came here. So glad I brought warm clothes here to climb Kili in or I don’t think that I would have brought more than a sweatshirt here. Chatted with Mama Matero, the mid-wife on duty that night at the hospital, about deliveries while sitting with one of the patients in the wards. The girl in the ward is a month from her due date, but was having false labor pains so she admitted herself to the hospital. I asked her why she was still here since she was so far from her due date and she said that it was because her family didn’t want her at home because she was sick all the time and no one wanted to take care of her and when she was home, she said that her husband put her in the other room. So she said she wanted to stay at the hospital because Deb and the rest of us volunteers take good care of her and come visit her and talk with her all the time. After I was talking to the Mama afterwards about deliveries and the Mama was saying how husbands are never around during births, and the husbands may or may not even know if or when their child was born until their wife comes home with a baby or until they decide to show up and check on her. Even if they do show up for the birth they don’t go in the delivery room and support their wife at all. That would so not fly at home…or maybe that’s just my perspective because if my husband wasn’t present for my delivery, he better have a really damn good excuse or he’d be a dead man haha


Saturday 7-11 – Went up to the volunteer house really early in the morning to get some sleep; however, I didn’t actually get that much sleep because my mom decided to call me at 6 am here haha, but my bowel issues from my thought to be parasite and bad reception cut the phone call semi-short and I got another few hours of sleep. Headed into Arusha today to go to Blue Heron to use the Internet and e-mail papers to my professors, and then headed back up the mountain at 3:30. Got back to my home stay at about 5, packed up some snacks and headed up to the Volunteer House to hang out with Susan, her girls and new engineering volunteers for the night, but when I got to the house then night Mama from the maternity told me that I needed to come down and assist in a delivery because no one else was available in the hospital. So I got my scrubs and shoes on and headed down to the maternity ward and went to the delivery room. I spent an hour holding Fatuma- the woman delivering – hand, comforting her, helping her breathing pattern until she started to push. As soon as the babies head started to show the mid-wife stood at the side of the bed of Fatuma and put her elbow at the top of her belly and pushed down really hard and was actually jumping down with all of her body force into this womans stomach to push the baby out. I was not prepared for this, it was so barbaric and rough I was kind of in shock. When the baby was finally out the Mama was slapping the baby waiting for her to cry, during this I was looking at Fatuma and still holding her hand and she looked so sad and upset, also showing no interest in her child. It wasn’t until 2 minutes later when the baby let out a cry that she finally looked relieved and kept say “astante mungu, asante sana” thank you god, thank you so much….about 30 times. I got to clean up the baby and wrap her up, and then bring her to the ward where Fatuma went after she showered off. I started in the ward at 5:30 and left at 7 after the birth and then headed back up to the Volunteer house, made some Ramen for dinner. After dinner, I hung around with Susan, her girls, and the new volunteers and chatted about our experiences since we’ve been here. We were talking about the robberies and killings that have been going on here within the last month and a lot of them that are around where we are living now…including 2 within the last two weeks. Sorry Mom I know you’re not going to sleep after reading this haha but I think its important to share what really goes on here. A week ago at the bottom of the mountain at the Kilala stop, across the street from the daladala stand is a restaurant/shop that was attempted to be robbed and when the owner fought back he was shot and killed. Also up the hill from the hospital, near where Deb and Tanya live a Tanzanian doctor was walking home and a person tried to rob him and machete-ed him in the head and face, two weeks ago (glad I’m hearing about this just now) but he was taken to Nairobi for a hospital and left here…I would too. Also last year at the volunteer house there was a break in and one of the students from America was beaten with a crow bar when they tried to resist and was beaten severely. Last year also a woman and man living up the hill from the hospital, where a break in happened and the man was machete-ed to death but the woman lived by hiding under a bed. Despite the severity of some of these break-ins and murders nothing is thoroughly reported to the police and nothing ever makes it to the news. In Tengeru there has been 2 murders in the past 3 months, and many many incidences where thieves were beaten and burned to death. Another large thing here is killing of albinos. Recently there has actually been government action taken against this because there have been so many killings. Traditional healers and witch doctors believe that the body parts of albinos can heal and cure diseases. Three weeks ago down past the hospital a little ways an albinos head was found in a bucket….this is something I definitely never want to see. Sorry about that Mom, don’t worry I’m done here in two weeks haha


Sunday 7-12 – Woke up and headed back to my home stay at 8 am this morning. When I got there, there was a strange man in the living room who just creepily stared at me even after I said hi. When I came out of my room to grab a jelly sandwich for breakfast, there were now two strange men, both of which just sat there on the couches and stared. They were watching religious services on the TV and the one guy asked me what my religion was, I said was raised catholic, but don’t practice a religion at the moment, the guy looked at me like I had eight heads. He asked why and I briefly explained, and then he said “so you don’t believe in Jesus Christ the man who saved us all, who do you pray to then?”…I’m assuming this guy thought I was the devil, but oh well. Luckily this part of the conversation ended when more and more people piled in. But then this guy asked me if I plan to live here, when I said no I was going to live in the United States, he gave me a lecture at how much better Tanzania was than the United States and told me the only good part about the United States was Obama, I just sat there and listened politely and agreed to avoid furthering the conversation, for this was not a conversation I would win haha Apparently, out house is the placed where half the neighborhood comes before they go to church at 9. There were about 15 people hanging out in the living room watching religious videos on TV and a “live” TV show where a guy releases demons from people who are possessed. I was hysterically laughing inside when they were all intently watching this show, which was a woman rolling on the floor making deep noises in her throat and thrashing around….haha so funny…but they’re really believe in witch craft here, so I’m glad I was laughing on the inside so I don’t have someone put a hex on me later. Sat around all day with my amoeba that I named Fredrick…don’t worry mom I’m taking medicine, so hopefully my newly acquired friend will leave me soon, but at this moment it doesn’t feel like he’s going anywhere fast….except making me move very fast to the bathroom haha The only good outcome of Fredrick is making me sit and write all my papers that are due soon. Well…that all the interesting news I have for now, hopefully working in the lab this week will leave me with lots more interesting stories! Two more weeks here!!


3 Responses to “mgeni rafiki pamoja na mimi – new friend with me!”

  1. Erik Says:

    I think I can speak for everyone here when I say that we would all rather you have an amoeba friend named Fredrick who follows you around than some strange Tanzanian guy. Sorry to say this, but be careful and watch your back. Stories and pictures when you get back won’t be much fun if you aren’t in one piece.

  2. George Gaebler Says:

    I echo Erik’s response Melinda. I imagine I can speak for most everyone reading your blog that we are glad you only have two more weeks. Be carefulllllll!

    See you soon!

  3. Chris Holt Says:

    Hi Melinda,
    It sounds like your on quite an adventure. Delivering babies, murders, what next??? I suspect that you are developing a whole new appreciation for life.

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