Saturday, January 16, 2016

Jambo, Karibo and Greetings form Team Tanzania!

Hope all is well with our followers J I wanted to first apologize for our absence yesterday – Our internet was a little unreliable but hey TIA (this is Africa – our newly coined term). We have safely arrived in Amsterdam and are waiting for our connecting flight back to the US. We wanted to include everyone’s thoughts about our trip – what they thought, what they experienced and overall what they felt throughout our journey in Tanzania. Enjoy!

I really do not know how to summarize my journey through Africa. It was an experience I will never forget. Prior to arriving in Africa, my expectations were minimal and I was just excited to go! At first, I did not realize the impact I would have, but slowly I begin to realize this. Through welcome juice and Swahili phrases the Tanzanian people greeted us with smiles and hope in their eyes. I learned that giving a person ibuprofen for ten days to remove their pain, meant more to them then anything else for that day. I learned through stories about their history and culture, what makes Tanzanians people strong! –Ashley

It is difficult to describe this trip in a few short sentences.  It was emotional, inspiring, humbling, exciting and at times uncomfortable.  It was full of surprises.  I cannot believe how much I learned on this journey.  I gained valuable clinical experience, diagnosing and developing a plan of care with limited resources.  I learned about Tanzanian culture and history, especially about the Chagga and Masai tribes.  I have even learned some Swahili!  J  Tanzania will leave a lasting impression on me and its people will always have a place in my heart.
Until next time… Cindy

Reflecting back on my trip, I am overcome with many different emotions, as there were times of trial but also excitement. This trip has allowed me to not only better myself as an individual but has helped me to better understand others and their culture. The time that I was able to spend with the Tanzanian people (both adults and children) gave me forever lasting memories. The virtue of patience grew stronger for me on this trip and made me realize that nothing in life is a race. As one Tanzanian man said, “pole, pole” which means “slowly, slowly” in Swahili, I took a moment to reflect on how fast paced my life is and things I can do to slow it down and cherish the time I have. This trip has been a life changing experience for me and I will forever cherish the memories I have created and the things that I have learned! – Lauren

It is almost unbelievable that our trip has come to an end. We anticipated this adventure for the past 8 months (some even more) and didn’t know what to expect until we got there. I fell in love with the people and the culture immediately. There were ups and downs throughout the trip but it really felt like we were making a difference for the natives and that feeling is indescribable. While changing lives we also got to explore and enjoy the beauty of Africa by traveling to multiple different areas. I think the most important thing I have learned during this trip is to enjoy the simple things in life and don’t take a thing for granted. Many people in this country live with much less and still find a reason to be happy each and every day. I was inspired and humbled countless times. I only hope to come back to Tanzania one day and continue the work that Hope Without Borders has started. –Jenna

This was truly an experience of a lifetime.  As being the only eye doctor on the trip, it made me realize how lucky I am to be in a profession that I can see immediately the fruits of my labor.  At the end of a couple clinic days, when we all as a group talked about our experience and what we thought was the ‘best moment’, many times it was someone witnessing a patient seeing well for the first time.  I think I take for granted that instant reaction that I see when I give out glasses – the reaction is universal- that first look of confusion, and then the big smile as the patient takes in their surroundings.  I am lucky that I get to witness that reaction almost on a daily basis.  I hope all the other nurses, NPs and other students that were on the trip, realize how important it is what they do.  The unfortunate thing is that they don’t get to see that look of gratitude, that realization that the patient, child or whoever it is, is going to be OK because their medication is working.  That smile from their patient comes, most likely, a few days after they start a medication that they were given.  So even though you nurses may not see it, the gratitude is for sure there.  So thank you for all the hard work and fun during this last week!!  - Sue

This was my second time to Africa, but my first time to Tanzania.  My first visit was to Kenya and I came as a student; now to experience Africa as a professional was amazing.  I had the opportunity to mentor students and share with them my experiences as a prior student.  Also, when it came to treating patients I was prepared for the cultural change and challenges.  I love Africa, the people, the culture, and the intensity of the medical camps.  We may only be in Africa for a week or so, but Africa is always in my heart.  – Suzanne

Words cannot give justice to the sights, smells, thoughts, feelings I experienced on this Global Perspective Trip to Tanzania.  I was so blessed to be able to go on this trip, meet and treat some of the patients that we saw in Tanzania and absorb so much wisdom from those I met.  The daily lifestyle of the majority of people is so vastly different from my day-to-day activity.  Getting water and going to market up to 3 times a day is just one vast difference.  As others I .m sure have shared, I will this twice before I take anything for granted, including a clean glass of cold water on a hot day.     Asante, Joan Bennett

This was an amazing experience! The whole impact of this trip will probably take sometime to set in. I am grateful for this opportunity to travel, explore a new culture with my school mates  and learning a little something new about my self along the way. If anyone reading this has an opportunity to take this trip thye should most certainly do it. Slava.

Upon reflection of this trip, I am even more grateful for what I have been given in my life, along with what I have worked so hard for to have a good quality of life. After our last day viewing a traditional African tribe, I am so thankful that I am able to do what I want, be who I want to be in America (a future nurse practitioner), and have so many freedoms that Tanzanians could never imagine. I am forever changed, and will come back soon! It has humbled me so much, and I will think about this each and every day. I've officially caught the international travel bug! –Sara

I am so thankful for such an amazing experience. Tanzania has opened my eyes, touched my heart and inspired me to continue to help those who are less fortunate. I’ve learned so much on this trip from those in Africa and the very talented Doctors , NP’s, and Nurses. This experience has truly changed me as a person and I can’t wait to plan my next trip, I'll be back very soon Africa! =]  – Brittney

With Love and Hope –

Team Tanzania

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Today we were able to enjoy a relaxing day as a reward after long, hot days working at clinics. After breakfast, we said goodbye to Simon and met our new drivers. They took us to the Ndoro Waterfall, a “hidden” waterfall at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro that is owned by the community. The 54 meters of winding steep steps we climbed down were definitely worth it.

Following the hike down, we were ready to dive in, literally. We were able to swim around the base of the waterfall and relax on the large volcanic boulders. It was amazing to finally get a chance to completely relax, reflect, and de-stress after the clinics. For once, there was no where we had to be and nothing we had to do.

After the climb back up the steps, we headed to the Chagga Caves. The caves were originally built in the 17th century to protect the Chagga people, who live in the mountains, from the Maasai people who would attack when the lowlands became toko dry to sustain them. During these dry spells, the Maasai would try to take food, water, cattle, and even people to use for slaves. When the Maasai started kidnapping women, the Chagga people started digging the caves to use as hideouts. The caves are very complex and protected them from the attacks, which included a poison created from peppers, attempted floodings, and warriors sneaking in. The Chagga people were able to sustain themselves, and their cows, in the caves from anywhere from a few hours to months and even years. The tunnels, at least five meters underground, were designed with narrow areas to attack enemies, coded entryways, kitchens with special vents that drew smoke out of the living areas into hidden locations, a path to a river where things could be disposed, and ventilation so fresh air would circulate.

After a delicious and filling lunch provided by Honey Badger, we climbed down a very rickety stair/ladder combo into the caves. Underground, it was cool and damp, and a bit breezy. Our tour guide was very energetic and explained the fascinating history very thoroughly. He also loved answering questions. In the cave we saw the clubs the guards would use to kill or paralyze any Maasai that entered, we also saw the guards posts, the civilian rooms, and the ventilation holes. As we followed the cave, it got narrower and lower, until we reached the end.

Outside of the cave, we toured a traditional Chagga house, built from sticks and straw. Half of their houses were devoted to places for their cattle and other animals. On the part where the people lived, there were beds, one where the father slept, and a large bed where the mother and all of the children slept. There also was a space for cooking and animal feed. The Chagga people were very resourceful and found clever ways to use everything.

All in all, it was a great day, and one where we were able to relax and sit down and reflect on our trip and take in the beauty of Tanzania and Africa. Tomorrow we are heading to Ngorongoro crater for a safari.

From Tanzania,

Sue and Aly

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Our morning started out by reflecting on what it means to be content. Today opened our eyes on how people see contentment differently than the natives of Tanzania. We departed our lodge and headed to the village of Milwaleni that was about 30 minutes away. When we got there we learned that it was a Tanzanian holiday known as Zanzibar Revolution Day. We talked briefly with the town’s priest who shared with us the history of the holiday. We learned…

In 1963 Zanzibar Island had been granted independence from Britain. In July of 1963 the Subnate government helps parliamentary elections which resulted in the Arab minority retaining power to an extent of making Zanzibar an overseas territory of Oman despite winning 54% of the votes. The incident provoked the African majority. To solve the problem, the Afro Shirazi Party (ASP) allied with Umma Party to join force. On January 12th 1964 the ASP, lead by John Okello mobilized around 600 revolutionaries to Zanzibar town and overthrew the sultanate government.

As we arrived to a building known as a dispensary, we were amazed to see how limited their medical supplies were. About 6,000 people come from surrounding villages come to this dispensary to receive their care. In order to meet the needs of the poor population, Western Health Services structure (doctors, hospitals, pharmacies) has been replicated in Tanzania however the nation cannot support this structure. Because this type of structure is too expensive in Tanzania, it has fewer medical personal, a poor infrastructure, no roads, and a poor means of communication. Care that can be provided at these type of dispensaries are: consults, treatment of diseases, small surgeries, caring for pregnant women, mother-child clinic, taking care of those with leprosy, TB, HIV, uncomplicated deliveries, family planning, vaccination programs and distribution of meds. This dispensary alone provides all these cares and yet is only staffed by one doctor and two nurses.

It was humbling to see how low they were on supplies compared to the many stocked supplies rooms at hospitals and clinics where we are from. We had nurse practitioners and student seeing patients for needed treatment. Dr. Orvis again amazed us with her ability to provide visual acuity tests and dispersed many needed glasses. This is the first time that many of these villagers were able to see. It is hard to imagine going most of your life not being able to see and also not being able to afford correction. We reflected on how we easily take a lot of things for granted in the states.

We also provided them with water purifiers while educating them on how to set them up and use them for their village. At the same time, we were teaching them common basic hygiene practices to prevent disease and infection. To our surprise, something as simple as hand washing and brushing teeth needed to be explained and demonstrated.

Additionally, we were able to provide OB ultrasound and Fetal Echocardiography on child bearing mothers. The mothers were able see the fetus on the hand held ultrasound as we eagerly pointed out babies beating heart. Mothers in a village like this have never had the opportunity. The experience was emotional and uplifting and their reaction was something some of us will always remember.

While waiting for care we were able to make beaded bracelets and necklaces with the children which they were proud to show off to the rest of the village and group! The children played soccer for hours with some of the HWB members through rain and shine. Some of the children were even playing in bear feet on dirt and gravel but it didn’t seem to faze them as it seemed they were having the time of their lives.

An additional project Hope without Borders is very passionate about is the Red Elephant Project ( The red elephant project provides sanitary pads to women who can not afford this necessity. Here a sanitary napkin can cost about $1.00, the same price as a kilogram of sugar or maze. Many times the family does not have a bathroom, or running water and buying pads for women in the family is out the question. Because of this many girls stop attending school because they are both confused and embarrassed. These packs provide the necessary supplies to get women through her menstrual cycle and keep them in school.
Dr. Fraha was able to translate and demonstrate proper usage and care of the Red elephant bags. We also practiced the teach back method to insure proper usage and understanding.

As we reflect on our day we can all agree we can be content with much less. Many of us in America may be guilty of relying heavily on materialistic items in our everyday life. After seeing today the pure joy they had after receiving simply just a tooth brush and the ability to purify their water, it has opened our eyes to different levels of contentment. Today just like every other day on our journey here has opened our eyes, touched our hearts, inspired us to continue to bring hope to those in need.

“sisi ni wale watu wenya tumanini kwa watu wale wenye shida”
“ We are the people who bring hope towards the needy/underprivileged/less fortunate”

Love from Tanzania,

Brittney and Jenna

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

After a quite early breakfast, we focused our attention on loving our enemies and praying to God that they will be forgiven during our daily devotion time. This was followed by a looooong drive to Arusha, where we took a bumpy dirt road to a small private primary English medium school. The director and founder warmly welcomed us with delicious English-style hot tea and “biscuits” (tasty chocolate cookies!), while we discussed the history and progress of the school. The school was started in 2011 with only 2 teachers, 24 students, and one classroom building, and now has grown to 117 pupils, 12 staff members, and multiple school buildings. Due to it being a non-government, private school, its funds come from sponsors who donate $25/month per child to cover their schools needs which include their mandatory school uniform, shoes, school stationary supplies, and meals while at school, in addition to school operating fees and teachers’ wages. Unfortunately, as we listened to Ian, we learned that the school does not have any electricity or running water; solely relying on collected rain water for cooking and drinking.

Once we got acquainted with the school grounds, we divided into groups to provide medical treatment, eye exams, and school uniform distribution. Dr. Sue was able to perform visual acuity tests via picture charts to the students who were suspected to have vision problems, and gave donated glasses to those children needing visual assistance. So cute and humbling to hear the kids describe the pictures Dr. Sue pointed to…and of course a selfie in their new glasses was a hit as well! As one group focused on eyes, another NP student group provided tinea capitus treatment (a common fungal infection of the scalp) and gave medical care to children complaining of other minor ailments. Lastly we had a group sorting, dispensing, and dressing the new pupils whom just started school today. All other pupils returned to school today after their 5-6 week “Christmas break.” Speaking of Christmas, the director stated that all of our donations given to him today felt “like Christmas.” Our donations to the school included school supplies, shoes and socks, toys, and soccer equipment.

Although we could spend all day with these well-mannered adorable pupils, it was time to head to our next stop, an orphanage in Arusha. We were greeted by some of the women who were called by God to start and run the orphanage. This orphanage has only been open for a year, and currently houses 10 children from the surrounding villages. Our visit was short but sweet, as several of the children were still in class for the day. This didn’t keep us from sharing toys, supplies, and a water purifier for those whom we met with. The happiness we saw on the kids’ faces playing with stuffed animals was worth our long, dusty, and bumpy travels!

Reflecting on all that we have experienced today, we realized the hardships they face in their daily lives. We are able to see their lives as standbyers, but will never be able to understand the full effect of their struggles.

Stay warm, family & friends in the chilly Midwest!

Lauren & Sara

“Sisi ni wale watu wenya tumaini kwa watu wale wenye shida.”

“We are the people to bring hope towards the needy/underprivileged/less fortunate.”

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sunday January 10, 2016

Today we improvised as our original plans to visit an orphanage were postponed.  We made the most of our time.   This morning we learned a song in Swahili about “bringing hope to Africa.”  We discussed our faith during devotion and listened to Simon pray for us in Swahili. 

We were then given the task to go to the market and figure out how to feed a family of five with only 2,000 schillings (1 U.S. dollar).  This is what a Tanzanian living in the slum areas has to spend in one day.  We found the task to be very difficult and really could not imagine how to survive with this little bit of money.  Even if we were able to come up with a meal plan, this doesn’t represent the reality of sustaining this type of lifestyle on daily basis.  The meals we came up with mostly consisted of rice or flour, and did not include healthy fruits, vegetables or meat.  We also did not account for the tools needed to make the meals such as oil, charcoal, wood or water.

This experience really opened our eyes to the poverty and misfortune in this world.  We have to realize that we cannot solve what we perceive to be peoples hardships in the course of one trip.  However, we can hope to begin to understand how fortunate we are.  We forget to give thanks for clean water, food and electricity.  We take for granted a hot dinner every day.  This became clear as we tried to accomplish our task in the market today. 

We were very lucky to have lunch in Moshi.  The pizza was awesome! After this, we stopped by a local mall to do some shopping.  Our group was able to purchase gifts and souvenirs for our friends, family and loved ones.  The experience definitely lifted our spirits.  Once we were back at the hotel, we reflected upon and discussed our day.  We were again reminded of the privileged lives we live.  We could not buy dinner at the market as Tanzanians, but we could afford numerous items at the mall as Americans. 

Our day started with devotion about faith.  At the end of the day, we must have faith that God has a plan.  We may not understand why things are the way they are in the world, but we can have faith that God is watching over us all.  We can also live as Jesus instructed, loving and caring for one another regardless of race or socioeconomic status.

“Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  John 13:34

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Hello from beautiful Tanzania,
We had our first full day of medical camps in a mountain village of Marangu caring for over 100 patients that were waiting for us when we arrived. We treated a variety of conditions from tinea capitis (ringworm, it is not an actually a worm just a fungus), burns, eye disorders, urinary tract infections, sprains, heart conditions, and so much more.  We had the privilege of having an optometrist and ultra sound tech on our team to do eye care, glasses, and ultrasound.  Thank you Dr. Sue, Aly, and Brittany for accommodating the need of our patients.  We also had the ability to do some labs which came in handy for diagnosing urinary problems and HIV testing.
Dr. Parve and NP students ready to provide care for patients.


Jena and Suzanne came early to setup the Pharmacy.

On a lighter note, all team members put in a 10 hour day and still managed to laugh, joke around, and even experience the infamous Tanzanian squatty potty without any casualties! J  At the end of the day, when we were all tired and ready to head home one more patient required our attention; OUR VAN NEEDED A PUSH TO START.  Thank you from left to right, nice neighbor, Slava, Suzanne, Joan, and Dr. Furaha: Oh let not forget Brittney’s lovely smile while supervising our efforts.

We had a beautiful start to the day while waiting for our driver to pick us up we were able to view the “shy mountain:, Kilimanjaro, as she revealed her snow topped peaks in the morning sun.
One thing one must remember in Africa is that things do not run on American time (which is not a bad thing), but we maintain our perseverance as we discussed in our devotion this morning, Romans 5:4, that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope and hope does not disappoint. For us at HWB we say Hakuna Matata which means no worries, but over time we have shorten it to TIA which translates to This is Africa!

Lala Salama (Good Night),

Joan and Suzanne

Friday, January 8, 2016

Jambo, Karibo from Team Tanzania!

Today was another amazing day in Tanzania -- We spent the morning exploring the Tanzanian culture traveling to one of the local coffee farmers and learning the art of making and brewing coffee. The process from seedling to actual coffee takes a total of 5 years and is very extensive. I think we will all have a new found appreciation with every sip of coffee we drink!

Things we have learned about Tanzania so far --
1. The dogs are nocturnal. They never sleep and love to bark until the wee hours of the morning.

2. The coffee is amazing!

3. There is a cow somewhere next to us -- who is also nocturnal and loves to moo at all hours (he or she may be in collaboration with the dogs)

Well folks, tomorrow is the big day -- we will be holding our medical camp bring and early and will be hitting the ground running. We spent most of tonight packing and tagging medications, supplies, wound care equipment, over 500 eye glasses for our eye clinic and our portable ultrasound machiene and we are ready and excited to see what tomorrow has in store for us!

Goodnight from all of us!