We have had a great first week at Nkoaranga! Nkoaranga is in a significantly more rural area than Arusha, and we have been enjoying the change of scenery.
The team has been staying in a large, old house (above) on the hospital property. Even though the house itself is spacious, the eight of us + Godlove share a washroom (pictured below) which has taken some getting used to. Between sharing a washroom and bunking in two adjoining rooms, our personal space bubbles have gotten a lot smaller!
Being so close to the hospital is extremely convenient for us and increases our ability to be involved in what is going on. For example, we are able to be ‘on-call’ for busy times in the Obstetrics unit and are called in when the residents are going into labor. Our house is also quite close to the Nkoaranga orphanage and in our spare time we have been able to play with the kids there as well as meet other volunteers.
At first we were very wary of using the kitchen (above), but after we managed to get the stove working, our excitement about being able to cook for ourselves took over. So far we have been able to make omlettes, egg in a hole, and vegetable stew, and we plan to try making more meals this coming week.
The nurses and meds have had some great opportunities to work in the hospital here, including assisting with c-sections and other surgical procedures, dressing wounds, helping the dents during their free clinic, and working along side the nurses/doctors during their daily rounds.
One of the most difficult things that I have found with the hospital is the slow pace at which things move. “Pole, pole” (slowly, slowly) as they say in Swahili. This aspect of the Tanzanian culture has been difficult for me to adjust to because I am used to the much faster-paced Canadian society. In as much as we have had many valuable clinical opportunities, there are also moments when I have felt my contributions are restricted because of the slower pace. We are learning to maximize our effectiveness within our limitations by looking for additional ways that we can serve.