Saturday, December 29, 2012

Birthday Celebration

The sun is setting today on the end of two fabulous days. Last night the girls all took me out to dinner. We we to a local restaurant whose never had to cater for twenty before so the whole, eating, actually getting what you ordered and paying was a complete and utter shambles. The food that Ally and I ordered was the best I've eaten since I've been been here. It took over 3 hours to come too lol. The girls had even ordered me a cake which is not an easy thing to organize as cakes are not readily available. Wee were going to go clubbing but as it was a late night, and all the girls were going to safari today, we didn't end up going, which suited me fine. I enjoyed being home and having another drink, my cake and reading birthday wishes from home.

This morning was a slow start. Such a cool feeling knowing we didn't have to be anywhere. I did all my hand washing and sat out on the feeling very relaxed. I slept badly last night, no idea why so enjoyed a nap this afternoon. I'd booked Tracy a masseuse to come.

Have just had an hour massage and she will do a pedicure and manicure too. I'll post the final price but the hour massage cost $12.50!!!! We've got wine and cheese and grapes for dinner to top off a couple of very special days.

I apologise for the lack of photos but I will upload a few now from my phone but the main ones will wait until I get home.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Msaranga Clinic was Awesome

We were a little apprehensive to go to work today. It's been so hit and miss with what we've witnessed and done. We came home on cloud 9 after the day we'd had today. I'm going to have to ask our nurse's name as it was a little different and neither did Ally.

On arrival we saw a newborn babe who was ill. I saw immediately that her fontanelles were sunken. The little babe also had a fever and her reflexes were sluggish, particular the Babinski reflex. We were very concerned about this little one, particularly the fluid intake of the babe.

We took the babe's temp and were relieved to see that it had come down. The next time we went to check I was shocked to see how they'd covered up the baby with swaddling and blankets. We took the temp again and it had risen slightly. We asked our head nurse and got the okay to uncover the baby. Within ten minutes we noticed an improvement. Ally flushed the cannula and our nurse questioned us as to why. She allowed us to do this and we were so rapt. We also wrote down the times and encouraged the mother to feed half hourly and we also ensured that she continued to drink large amounts of water.

To top off our day, we were asked for advice for future changes to make the clinic a better facility. We were so touched to see that we were respected to the extent that our thoughts are going to be listened to. So we floated out of the clinic today feeling that we'd really made a difference.

I didn't think I'd enjoy working with mums and babes but I loved handling the baby and advising the mum on how to feed and to feed more frequently.

In the afternoon we got home and had lunch, a lie down and then schmirmoff time. We will head out to a Chinese Restaurant soon as are not into having fried fish, which is on the menu tonight.

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Location:Moshi, Tanzania.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas in Tanzania.

I've been here more than a week now, and yet so many experiences seem quite surreal.

I would never come here for a holiday. You come to Africa for a life changing experience, not to have a vacation. So many feelings, smells, sights and emotions have encompasses me almost to the level of bombardment.

I awoke this morning, still reeling from what happened last night.

As this is a public blog, I won't publish names. My Mum had given me money to give to a person I felt could benefit the most. I'd chosen one person and then discounted them. I'd settled on another quite quickly. I was shocked, saddened, insulted and disappointed when my chosen person who was unknowing, presented me with a letter asking for money. I was shattered. And now I won't give them the money. Was it asked for out of desperation, or because it was expected. I don't know. I'll never know. And they'll never know what they missed out on. So I continue to look for a recipient.

So I awoke this morning, with that on my mind and knowing that I wouldn't be able to talk to my family. We had secret Santa which was nice but could never replace the love and closeness of a family. One of the gorgeous girls sensed my need and I felt so much better spending a few moments just holding her. Sarita, Aynsley, Daisy and Debra are my pseudo kids here. I love them. They're awesome girls. Sarah too but she distances herself a little a times.

We visited the orphanage. I was happy to see that the kids were clean and that their environment was much nicer than I'd seen elsewhere. The nuns and carers seem to really look after them and care for them. The kids were so excited with the gifts and attention.

Afterwards we headed to the Juvenile Detention Centre to eat lunch. The adolescents were very polite and eager to talk to us. I was so glad that the goat was not ready and wouldn't be for another three or more hours. Imagine how happy to know that we could leave and wouldn't have to eat the goat. We sat in their dining room for a while sitting on chairs that were broken, a table that was unsteady and crooked. A boy walked past us with a shovel full of hot coals. Huge wafts of smoke would come through the kitchen door and the 'dining room' was becoming hotter and stuffier by the moment. Hanna suggested we leave and everyone was in agreeance. We had lunch at Union Coffee and then headed off home. Most of us were exhausted and had a nap.

I awoke to schmirmoff time. Our Christmas dinner was really lovely. We cooked for ourselves. Some of the girls made punch, Louis cooked the chicken and meat, Hanna brought a cake and we all listened to music and chatted. Ally, Daisy, Sarita, Aynsley and I went into the sauna. Louis brought the shisha pipe with some spearmint stuff. Sharing the pipe and smoking was hilarious, especially for those who've never smoked before.

I had a fairly early night and slept in late. I'm so tired here. So much to assault the senses and to challenge me all the time.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad 3

Location:Moshi, Tanzania, Africa.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Most of the group were heading out to do a one day Kilimanjaro Climb. I chose not to do it. After the waterfall climb last week I know how unfit I am and that I would not enjoy the day. I'm so pleased I made that decision.
Akii, Louis's brother drove us to the Chagga village where a co op of farmers grow and sell their coffee and profits go toward making things better for the community. They're in the process if making the road better. They've put in a primary school and have built the huts and small camping area for tourists. We walked to a farm and learned about the process from seed to drinking the coffee. The tour was very comprehensive and interesting.
We picked the beans, used a machine to split the skin from the bean. Then, as the drying takes about seven days we were given dried green beans to follow through the rest of the process. After roasting the coffee in a clay pot, we got to drink the coffee. It was delicious. We walked back to the huts and were given a traditional Chagga lunch of banana soup, a beef curry, rice, banana stew and green beans.
When we returned home we decided to head into town. It was pleasant because of the rain, so it was cool and the dust had settled. We shared cakes and enjoyed coffee milkshakes. We walked around and checked out some of the shops. I bought some lightweight pants that I can wear here.
We ate dinner and enjoyed a quiet evening chatting, updating our blogs and Facebookm
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Location:Moshi TANZANIA


It was very comforting knowing that we didn't have to go to work this morning. For the first time since we've been here I've got a long night's sleep.

A group of us decided to head into Kibolione to buy some fabric. The little village was hot, poor and dusty. I discreetly snapped a few photos. We found one store which had a large selection of fabrics. Between us all we spent about Tz 80000 so the stall holder was very happy (AUD 49).

Afterwards we went into town to have lunch at Union Coffee the pizzas and coffee milkshakes are divine. Leonie met a friend that she'd met here two years ago. Alli and I are planning on a day safari with her at some point.

After lunch I bought an ancient Nokia phone as it is handy to have a phone amongst our group to ring a taxi or for help. It cost $20, very cheap and handy to have here. Local calls are very cheap. I put Tz 5000 credit on my phone $3. Very cheap to stay connected. Rather oxymoronic to see people sitting in a shabby stall selling their wares but they all have a mobile phone. Albeit old ones, iPhones are unseen. Only the tourists have them.

I had a nap when I got home and them emerged for Smirnoff time. Chicken bolognese was for dinner.

A good nights sleep with a plan to do a coffee tour tomorrow.

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Location:In Tanzania

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Msaranga Medical Centre

Stupidly I started today slightly hungover. It made for an interesting morning at the clinic. Beatrice rang and was running late and asked us to meet her down the end of the road. We walked along, I wish I could film the journey. Dilapidated huts on the left hand side, deep ruts and large stones in the dirt road. The huts are homes, shops, hair salons even meat hanging in the open air (unrefrigerated) store. The store where we wait for the daladala was cooking chapatti and the reggae music was blaring. I sat on a stone wall wishing like crazy I was still in bed. I was so happy when all the daladalas were full to overflowing that I asked Beatrice to call us a taxi. We were delivered to the front door of the clinic all for $4.20!!!!! We helped at the baby clinic with children under five years coming for their free monthly checks.
The child is placed into a chubi which is a sling that can be attached to a hook with a scale to weigh the kids. Some kids love it, others cry which makes it hard to read the weight. Some look at us and cry at the mzungu (white people).
We organised the taxi to collect us early. I felt queasy a few time. The baby clinic was outside the choo (toilet). The smell was disgusting until the gardener/handyman came and flushed some water into it. Ally, couldn't smell as she's crook with a cold. And was also happy to leave a little earlier. We watched as two patients had Implanon inserted into their arms. I'm happy to see that the World Health Organization provides contraception for free. I felt so dreadful for the patients. The first one I witnessed I had to leave the room quickly to get some air. I was impressed with the aseptic technique but was mortified when they injected the lidocaine with the drawing up needle and then proceeded to implant the contraception without waiting for the anaesethic to take effect. It was obviously quite painful and the ladies barely made a sound. I felt so sorry for them.
However it's a much better

option than having another baby.
We had a coffee milkshake in town after buying some secret Santa gifts. It's fascinating and dusty and hot. I have decided to buy a mobile phone which will cost around $22. Two coffee milkshakes, a latte and a cappuccino and a coke, two pizzas and a chicken salad cost $22 all together. And that's an expensive store catering to tourists. We like it as you can sit in the verandah and the washrooms are clean and conventional.
I thought I'd been spending heaps of money. Buying alcohol, paying for taxis and always paying out in 1000s. I did a count and I've only spent about $60 since I've arrived. Unbelievable.
In the afternoon I washed some clothes, showered and slept. Tonight is alcohol free lol. No Smirnoffs or Barcadis tonight. I want to be much brighter tomorrow.
Ally has just had her braided and it looks sensational. I'm going to get mine done too. It costs about $18 and takes about four or more hours to do.
An early night tonight.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 1 Orientation

Today was a cruisy day. I awoke quite early and was in bed by 8pm. I was so incredibly weary and slept well. I was awake early and then outside for a spectacular view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. A special way to begin the day that marks the first anniversary of Dad's death. He would have loved the view.

We met Hanna, the co owner of Tanzania Volunteers. She showed us all the quirks of the house and explained the rules and security systems.

We had Swahili lessons in the afternoon. It's a phonetic language and relatively easy to learn. We will obviously focus on the basics initially and then will look to learn the medical questions during my placement. It seems overwhelming at this stage.

We had a fun evening with the girls. Sarita, Ainsley, Debra, Daisy, Ally and I. We laughed so much and enjoyed each others company. We are still getting so tired.

Day 2
Yesterday we had language lessons in the morning and lunch, and then Louis headed into town with us. We walked around town and had a coffee milkshake which was divine. The sights and sounds of town are inexplicable. Everything is so derelict and old. There are no 'nice' buildings at all. People make a living from so many different things. They have small old plastic grain bags which they place their wares upon. Things like old shoes, combs, brooms, spices and too many things I didn't recognise. People eke out a living from anywhere they can. The markets were amazing. All the produce was within reach. You could taste the things if you wanted to. Huge sacks of rice, rock salt, legumes, unknown grains, spices. All the produce was lovely and fresh. The meat and fish was bizarre. Nothing was refrigerated. The meat and fish is there all day long and then goes home home. Apparently the fish can be thawed and refrozen a few times. Louis explained that our produce comes from there but our meat comes prepacked. Thank goodness.

Today, Wednesday we went into the Msaranga Clinic to meet the nurses we will be working with. The ride to the clinic was so different to anything I'd experienced before. We were one of thirty squashed into a mini bus. At one stage I was standing in the doorway with the door open. At least it was cool lol. The main roads are bitumen but there's lots of horn honking to move people out of the way. There aren't a lot of cars but the traffic is crazy.

The clinic had a section for pathology, pharmacy, reception area, family planning, HIV counselling, maternity and post natal. We held a baby today. She was just beautiful. I cried holding the new precious bundle. They have no nappies, and the mother has to wash her own cloth pads from her post partum bleeding.

We're going into town this afternoon to buy some secret Santa gifts, Smirnoff and coffee.

Ally and I ready to visit our clinic.

Ally, Ainsley, Moi, Daisy, Sarita and Sarah.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Manteruni Waterfall

I wasn't sure about going for a walk this morning, but I don't want to miss out on anything. I have also learned a valuable lesson in Tanzanian speak. Not steep and not far turned into a long walk that was quite difficult. The waterfall was just beautiful.

We had our lunch packed and water was carried up for us. I also tried chenga which is the local brew, banana and millet fermented together. It looked revolting, it was pink with lots of floaties. I didn't like the taste at all lol.

Continued the next day.

After the walk we went into town and into the Nakumatt which was a huge supermarket. Like a well stocked IGA. We bought some shampoo and bits and pieces. The alcohol was so cheap. A bottle of Smirnoff premix was $1.20. A whole bottle of Bacardi was $20 even $5 cheaper than the bottle I bought duty free at Brisbane Airport.

We got home and enjoyed sitting around talking about the day. It was during this time that we noticed that Sarah one of the girls wasn't with us. We thought we must have left her at the supermarket. As Louis the house owner was driving out, Leonie went to join him as he didn't know what she looked like. Then with lots of yelling and hilarity we noticed that Debra was missing too lol. So much laughter later during happy hour. Debra and Sarah were in another part of the department store and we left in different buses and different seats. We laughed so hard we cried.

Today is Monday, one year since my Dad died. I'm remembering you today especially. With Kilimanjaro as my view outside the front door. Love you so much and miss you even more. Xxxxx

Day one. We are having Orientation. I'll update what happens during the day.

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On a plane again

It's 10.19 local time at Dubai Airport and the engines begin to wind up. My eye is feeling a little better as thankfully the drops are relieving it. I would have loved to look around in the shops at the airport but it was nice just walking and looking too. Burger King was a good lunch, although we will get lunch on the plane in a few hours.

This is the second leg of the journey. In some ways I was more comfortable on this leg but the pain in my legs was intense. I had nothing strong than paracetomol either. Alli told me later my face was ashen. We had a bit more room on this leg so I was able to putty feet up a bit. This plane was older but there was a bit more room on this one. Dozed off at one stage but someone dropped their bag on me getting it out of the overhead luggage rack. I thought we'd crashed so it was the better option.

Dar es Salaam airport. Oh my God. What can I say. It was far worse than even Denpassar Airport from over 30 years ago. It was reasonably clean but so disorganised. Nothing in lines, you could go through some aisles but only partway and then you had to leave your bags go through the scanner whilst walking the long way around. The people were so friendly and this too was in direct opposition to what I'd seen in Bali. Not a machine gun in sight and people were happy to help. Signage was sparse and air conditioning was the natural kind. Awaiting out bags at the carousel was incredibly hot. Not a breath of air.

Alli and I drank a Kilimanjaro Beer. It was quite nice but the bottle was huge. It was a 500ml beer. We couldn't even finish and then our flight was ready to board. It was a twin engine propellered plane. The flight was 40 mins long. We arrived at Kilimanjaro airport and then were greeted by a bus who drove us to the house.

By this point I was just shattered. So so weary and I could barely keep my eyes open as the dust and wind was making them worse.

Dinner was ready at the house. Rice and beef. Fruit for dessert. I fell asleep so quickly.

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Location:Dubai Airport

Friday, December 14, 2012

Leaving for my adventure

After 14 hours arrived in Dubai
Flight was so crowded and uncomfortable. This airport is amazing. It's huge and there's a gazillion people here. My eyes gave me lots of trouble on the plane with the dry air and the fact that they were already sore when I left. Thankfully the chemist sold me antibiotic drops and even took AUD. And they cost less than what they would at home with a health care card.

Will have to figure out how to change my watch. It's doing my head in that its only 6.19am but I have it as after midday. It was still dark when we landed and the little I could see from the plane window was amazing.

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Location:Dubai in transit

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm going on an adventure

It's evening. Barry White is playing. I've had one of my best friends visit, my Mum came, one of Peter's best mates came. The kids had a fun evening. I bought them a movie on Apple TV and some take away. I'm having my second wine and waiting for Bunny to come upstairs after his long day.

Actually, I can't continue this post without acknowledging all that he does for me. It was definitely third time lucky with him. Because my blogs are all about me lol, I can be remiss and forget to mention the important ones in my life. And yet they are the pieces that complete me.

Bunny aka Peter and I have been together since late 1989. Twice married and yet not disillusioned. Still believed in love ad marriage. I basically proposed to him. I wasn't going to hang around if there wasn't a future. If you know me you know I'm direct. Have not time or inclination to tolerate gong banging. (Time wasting). Actually I don't tolerate anything that's useless or incompetent lol. But that's a whole other post.

Ok. I didn't finish this entry.

To be continued.

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Location:Home........for now.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Plans for Tanzania December 2012

Every week when I've been at uni, and have waited out in the hallway for the nursing laboratory to open, I've pondered and admired the photographs on the wall. Over twelve months ago, a lecturer, Leonie, took a group of Nursing Students over to Tanzania on a volunteer mission, and the photos are on the wall for us to admire.

Every week, I'd stand and stare at them, and think what a fabulous opportunity this would be. What a wonderful way to be able to give to a community who has so little, and would appreciate the help and knowledge that a team of nursing students can bring. I can only begin to imagine what it must be like, to be in a strange country, welcomed and invited to work within the local community and to feel a sense of satisfaction to be able to perhaps make a difference, even a tiny difference. What a humbling experience to be immersed in a different culture, to be made welcome and to learn from the people of the village.

I honestly believe, that to be involved in an experience such as this, one would never be the same again.

You can imagine my excitement, when another trip for December 2012 was announced.

Over the time I was away, I spoke about this to my parents and my family. I'm blessed with their support. I'm so glad, that I was able to tell Dad about it before he died a mere two weeks later. It's a huge project for me to undertake. We are well off financially, and the volunteer experience is a costly one.

From this aspect, my journey to Tanzania has already started. I am to be involved in many fundraising activities, some group ones which we will organise through the university, but also my own private fundraising, to completely cover the cost of the trip. The trip leaves Australia on 15th December, 2012.

This year will be an exciting and busy one.

I plan to use this blog as a record of my plans and journey as I head toward my goal. There are many different things which will be a part of this dream. From personal issues, such as weight loss, planning for a Christmas for my family without me, to the more public and pertinent goals of raising the money and being part of a team with a common goal.

So many personal traits of mine have already been challenged. I am a very 'safe' type person. I don't go 'out on a limb' for anything, as I generally have an intense fear of failing, or even of falling short of the mark. I need to ask for help, something I've never done before, not for something like this.

Please join me on this journey, I invite you to read and follow my blog as I plan, achieve goals, suffer disappointments, and generally all the issues that come along with such a huge undertaking. I will learn to swallow my pride and ask for financial help, in the way of donations and for moral support, and support in any of the events I organise to help me reach my goal.

Like I said, I'm blessed with a supportive family and wonderful friends, and the support and encouragement is invaluable.

If you're interested in more information, you can follow this link.

Stay tuned for further updates. Thanks for following.