July 7, 2012
Felt so wonderful to sleep in today (which meant I got up at 7:30 am as opposed to 6:30 am). The sun rises around 6 am here, which I recognize now by roosters crowing in the distance. The sun sets around 7 pm, so our days are actually quite short. Anyways, I went for an early run- always an adventure here, with pedestrians calling out, staring and sometimes even joining in for parts of your run- and got ready for the day!
Today, I visited Karama House with the dents to help them out with their dental screenings. Karama House is an orphanage for kids with HIV and they although they truly have a very nice house and set up, they can still need check ups from us. Karama House was a lot of fun. The dents finished screening the kids there pretty quickly, but as soon as word got out the dentists were in the area, children from the surrounding village began streaming into the courtyard to get their teeth checked as well. After finishing all the kids, whose teeth are actually much better than I expected, we brought out the fun stuff. What would a trip to the dentist be without stickers after all?! We spent the afternoon playing soccer, drawing pictures, getting stickers stuck on our faces, painting toe nails of the little girls and generally having a great Saturday.
I’m happy to know that these kids have such a solid home, but it is a little bittersweet. Some of them look so young for their age. Kids you assume are 9 years old are actually 13. In Tanzania, the government pays for anti-retroviral treatment for individuals living with HIV so these children are receiving their medications, but I wish we could do more to prevent them from the opportunistic infections that are the hallmark of HIV. Do they get yearly flu vaccinations, vaccines for typhoid, malaria prophylaxis? Likely not. This is our first year working with Karama House, so my dream moving forward would that MedOutreach may be able to help with such things in the future.
On our way home, Julia and I stopped by the fruit and veg stand to purchase supplies for our coming week at Nkoaranga Hospital. Sick of getting ripped off, I showed up ready to bargain. Game faces, haha. We did a lot better this time. I’ve learned not to ask cost, just pick what you want and offer the price you want to pay. If you let them set the cost, they’ll start very high and come down a bit to price that’s still too high, but they’ll claim they’ve tried to accommodate you. This time, we got a whole grocery bag of fruit and veggies for 3000 Tsh. Serious score.
I went to bed pretty early, tired after a long day but most of the house was woken up around 5 am by screams from the girls’ room. Beth, Julia and Cindy were throwing their shoes at the cabinet after spotting a rat. Yikes. Aaron chased it out the bathroom drain but the next morning, Julia discovered her brand new pink scrub pants chewed up. Apparently, that rat had a bit of a field day before we spotted it and probably has a pretty styling nest somewhere.
I may not have mentioned before that there are a number of cats wandering around Centre House (including two identical kittens I’m determined to tame), with Puss Puss being the main house pet. Anyways, Vinay, the cook here, upon hearing about the rat, thrust Puss Puss into Bethany’s hands, saying “Here, you take Puss Puss.” Class TIA moment- you have a rat, acquire a cat. We’ve installed Puss Puss into our house and hope to be rid of rat problem soon. We’ll keep you posted.