2018 Tanzania Medical Mission Trip June 22 – July 9, 2018
Our team of 11 included physician Dr. John Houck, 2 nurses, 2 medical helpers, 3 non-medical helpers, and 3 fundis (fixers). We arrived in Tanzania on Saturday or Sunday, having left the US on Thursday or Friday. We traveled to Morogoro on Sunday, settling in to the Lutheran Junior Seminary.
On Monday we made our official visit to the Morogoro Diocese. In the afternoon we went to Mazimbu Hospital to unpack medical supplies, and plan our work. Dr. John presented Dr. Kasuwi and Mazimbu Hospital with a new electrocautery machine and equipment for diagnosing sleep apnea. We worked with the Mazimbu staff Tuesday through Friday, seeing patients, doing surgeries, and fixing things around the hospital.
On Saturday we traveled to a Maasai cattle market, eating fresh goat and cow meat with Bishop Mameo and the chief of the Maasai. On Sunday we went to church in Mzumbe. The Diocese was celebrating the opening of the pastor’s house, starting with a procession from the house to the church led by the choir and band, followed by 18 pastors and Bishop Mameo. The service then had music by 3 choirs, preaching and announcements. Lunch was served for all the guests after the 3½ hour service.
We were back at Mazimbu on Monday morning, continuing our work through Wednesday, and finishing up on Friday. Among our patients was Kulwa, an 8-year-old Maasai boy who came to us with a high fever (105.7) and very listless. It was determined he had acute malaria, pneumonia, is HIV positive, and possibly has a cardiac problem. He was treated with fluids and IV antibiotics, and was released a few days later. We treated 217 patients and did 26 surgeries. We made provisions for 8 more surgeries to be performed after we were gone.
On Thursday we traveled to the village of Berega, a couple of hours north of Morogoro. Friends of ours, Lemsanya & Kristen Tisho, are directors of an orphanage there. They work closely with a nearby hospital, and take in babies who have lost their mothers at birth or shortly after. The families are encouraged to provide a female family member (a sister, cousin, aunt, or even grandmother) to live at the orphanage with the baby for the duration of their stay. The bintis (daughters in Swahili) help to care for the babies, learn about childcare, nutrition, cooking, and have lessons in literacy, sewing and Bible studies. When the babies are 2 years old, they go back to their family along with their caregiver – someone they know and have a relationship with. The binti goes home with knowledge and experience to share with their family and village. It was wonderful to see the orphanage and how the staff and the bintis work together to care for the babies!
After a Saturday morning trip to the near-by game park, we left Morogoro early on Sunday morning to travel back to Dar es Salaam for our journey home.
We were all grateful for the opportunity to share our services and friendship with our brothers and sisters in Tanzania! All of the prayers and support from home was most appreciated! More details and photos can be seen on our blog, at tanzaniasurgery.blogspot.com
2019 Tanzania Medical Team June 7 to 24, 2019
Our team of 15 (1 surgeon, 3 nurses, 2 medical helpers, 2 fundis, 6 non-medical helpers & 1 goat expert) will once again work at Mazimbu Hospital doing surgeries as our goat expert works with the Berega Orphanage to establish a dairy goat herd. The hope is to eventually be able to send a goat home with each baby and their binti.
Your prayers are most desired, and we are grateful for any financial assistance you can give.
Checks can be made to Salem Lutheran Church with Tanzania Medical in the memo line. They can be mailed to Salem Lutheran Church, 101 S. Duck St, Stillwater, OK 74075.
Cindy Lassman Pennie and the Medical team