Nic and Fi 'around the block' 2007 travel blog

Fi concentrating - trying to remember numbers in Kiswahili!

Fi ward - jenner ward



Hamjambo from Tanzania!

We thought it time to show some piccies from our lives over here. Its been a wonderful few months and is hard to believe we only have a few more weeks remaining before finishing up.

Yesterday was a fun day spent visiting some villages for weighing and vaccinating babies. After a rough and slippery 4WD drive, we were greeted by so many smiling faces, all screaming WAZUNGO! (white person in swahili). Of course these smiles turned to looks of absolute sheer terror and tears, when they realised that they then had to be weighed on a big meat hook (you need to see the photos to believe it) and that we were then going to vaccinate them. Nic's role was spent entertaining the older children, who were in fits of giggles as they played chasey.

Fi is having a great time. After the realisation that "You can't change Africa, Africa will change you" she's managaged to deal with hospital politics and get on to do a pretty good job with her ward! Most experiences have been very rewarding and full of smiles, especially when AIDS patients finally get home after a lengthy stay looking healthy and happy!

There have been some difficult cases this week:

A baby of 1 yr, looking very unwell and malnourished weighing only 7kgs with chronic diarrhoea, and other signs all suggestive of HIV. Unfortunately the Mother refused HIV testing and then ABSCONDED with the child despite all Fi's efforts to convince her to stay.

Another of 4 months of age, weighing only 2.8kg when its birthweight was 3.5 kg (so very marasmic!) who had been weighed every month for the last four yet nothing done about it!

This baby unfortunately died when we were away yesterday, and it hasn't been documented that it had been fed all day so maybe it died from preventable causes like hypoglycaemia.

Fi has got a Tanzanian boyfriend, his name is Peter who is 10 yrs old and has been on the ward for over 4 weeks now. He'd been admitted under the surgeons after he presented with a very swollen tender Right knee which he couldn't move. Sounding like Septic Arthritis, they started treatment with antibiotics without doing a joint aspirate (a big no no). After finding he had Pulmonary TB, they stopped the antibiotics and started TB treatment ASSUMING that his knee problem was due to TB. Three weeks later still with pain and swelling, he became a "medical" patient.... typical surgeons. Fi was concerned as he wasn't a straight forward case as his swelling moved more proximal up his leg. Fi attempted 3 jt aspirates but failed probably as it was pus not able to be withdrawn. After re-starting antibiotics, Fi did a repeat Xray which has shown a whole lotta rotten bone - severe osteomyelitis of the distal femur. Uh oh... Now he's being treated for both TB and bacterial disease as there is no way of knowing which is the cause. He is much better now, with no swelling and able to move his legs! Although, who knows what his future will hold - maybe he'll have a shortened leg. Fi is often sneaking food off to him, as he's wasted away since being in hospital. Plus has given him a frisby which means she does all the running whilst he gets to sit back in bed and enjoy!

Nic is about to start on a big mural painting in the HIV/AIDS and palliative care clinic called the Diana Centre. If you shorten the name it becomes the "Di Centre" which considering its population of patients is quite appropriate but a little grim. No wonder they need a little bit of colour on the walls. There is a great outdoor play set for the children with HIV and they have asked him to paint something there on the walls of the building for them. We can't wait to see what he will choose to paint. Otherwise Nic has been kept busy cleaning out the library (choosing to bin books such as "British Asians Health in the Community" electing that this topic isn't so important in this particular setting). Plus he's been enjoying himself with doing some drawings at home, which occasionally is interrupted with having to chase the monkeys away from our vegetable garden.

We may have mentioned our beautiful house which we are currently sharing with three other doctors. We have a wonderful friendly house woman, Juliet who is incredibly entertaining and often will be flashing her big black breasts! Tanzanian women have no shame when it comes to boobs! Yep, she's a character, always acting out stories to help us understand what she means and has helped Fi tremendously with learning swahili!

On our weekends we've been fortunate enough to be able to go off exploring. We have stayed in some amazing LUXURY resorts, with white sandy beaches and a level of service that we don't often experience. We've also explored Amani Reserve which is on the Usumbara Mountain range, filled with so many variety of birds and butterflies.

Unfortunately it seems that we can only download a few photos this time, so will try again next week!

Thinking of you all

Kwa Heri!

Much love

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