Home sweet home

I am grateful to be home and surrounded by familiar things, but there are some things that I miss.  I miss waking up to the insane rooster who apparently thought the sun rose at 4 am.  I miss the smell of the morning fire and Neema who prepared our breakfast and lunch(picture 3 below).  I miss the Chipati and peanut butter and chai tea…..oh so tasty!  I actually miss my super comfy sleeping bag!  I miss hearing the local school children start their day with singing and exercising.  It’s a bittersweet feeling being home.   I know some of you are anxious to hear about my trip and I am anxious to share everything with you, but it’s hard to put a trip like this in words.  So bare with me over the next few entries as I try to share my journey with you.

Sleeping on the ground for 18 straight days was not as horrible as I imagined.  There were very few nights when I actually slept through the night.  It was hard to sleep with the insane wind blowing your tent sideways.  The wild dogs barking outside your tent, especially knowing that they were either barking at a Hyena or a Leopard.  The whooping sound of the Hyena was not something I got use to hearing.  It freaked me out!!!!  It didn’t help that there were a few snoring mates in tent city, as we called our home!  However waking up each day never seemed to be too difficult, even despite the few hours of peaceful sleep I may have had.  I was happy to start my day in Arash, Tanzania and know that I was making a difference.  Our project was to finish the new clinic building so Dr. Nsimba could continue his work with the Maasai.  We spent most of the our time painting.  The white latex paint was fine.  It didn’t coat the walls that great, but we did the best we could.  The green oil paint was the WORST!  It loved to stain everything – your clothes, skin, the freshly painted white walls!  I was lucky to paint a lovely green stripe around the bottom of the wall.  My knees are still irritated with me(picture 1 below)!  We also installed a solar panel which will provide enough power for an ultrasound machine, refrigerator for vaccinations, and lights.  The glass windows were the biggest problem we encountered.  The glass was not cut correctly so many windows were too big.  The puddy we used was African puddy….need I say more?  It didn’t work very well.  The team worked very hard and installed a majority of the windows, enough for the clinic to be used(picture 2 below).  The clinic will be used for 3 main items –  children immunizations, child birthing, which has been a problem with the villagers, and it has a ward for long-term illness.  Dr. Nsimba is the local doctor who lives in the village of Arash.  He has worked in this clinic and another local clinic for over 15 years.  The government really wants him to move but he is making such amazing progress with the Maasai that he thinks he will be able to remain in Arash.  Now that he has an ultrasound machine, he will be able to diagnose illnesses, especially with pregnant women.  The mortality rate for mothers who have given birth is pretty high.  They give birth at home with the help of a traditional Maasai mid wife who is not equipped to deal with bleeding, wrapped cord, etc…  So many mothers are dying in childbirth.  The use of a simple ultrasound machine and a new birthing room will save numerous lives and how awesome is that?!  More children are receiving immunizations which is wonderful!  God is doing amazing things in that village and I hope to return one day and see the progress.

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