Day 10 for the team

Jambo America!

Last but not least, my name is Hannah Twedt and I am the lonely Social Work Student here on the trip! I am a junior and also go to Northwestern College. I am very thankful all the experiences that I have had the chance to experience working with my nursing sisters here in Tanzania. I could have not been more blessed and welcomed in to a group of people.

Today was a day filled with many emotions. We started the day off bright and early at 6am. We headed to Moshi to start our day. It is a small and very poverty stricken town. We went to visit St Joseph's Hospital. This hospital was started by a woman that is a part of the sisterhood of Kilimanjaro. This hospital was adopted by Mama Gayle with Hope Ministries and she has been helping them out. We met a doctor that started a hospital. The nursing students went off to shadow the nurses while I was sent with the assistant social worker. She gave me a tour of the hospital. Even though I am not in the medical field I can see that American hospitals and Tanzanian hospitals. We walked in to a room that was a children's ward. There were about 30 sick children lying in beds that were almost touching each other. You could pay for a private room if a person would like. But most likely the person would have to share a room with 4 other people. Privacy does not exist in a hospital. An example of this is we walked in to the maternity ward and women just got done giving birth. She was laying there are the door was wide open.  It was crazy. I asked about what social workers do in Tanzania, especially in the hospital setting. She said they do a lot of prevention, teaching, counseling, and training. Hence why the head social worker was not in the hospital, she was out in the community talking to HIV patients on follow up and counseling them and their families. I really wished I could talk to her, but like they say here-Everyone is on Tanzania time; they have no sense of real time. They value the person they are with at the current then scheduling their time around a clock. Since she is only an assistant social worker showed me what she usually does which is giving immunizations to small children. While I watched I looked at the situation through a social perspective. Through classes we have been taught that in the United States in social work, and in the medical field: confidentially in key. Again this was turned upside down, while the children were getting immunized me and other people with their children in the room.  I got to look at these entire records see how they have been growing. It was just crazy to see the differences that there were. The Tanzanian nursing students that were helping with the immunizations heard me speaking a little bit of Swahili. They thought it was the funniest thing that they have ever heard in their whole life. It was great.   

We next traveled to the other end of town to a secondary school (equivalent to a high school) that had some of the Light in Africa children in it. We did a teaching lesson on HIV to the teenagers in the school. We put on a silly skit explaining how HIV effects the immune system to lighten up the mood because in Tanzania HIV is very looked down up on in the society.  The skit was about a man, who was played by Mama Gayle's assistant Julius, he got roped in to it!! His immune system was protecting him. When things like the fever, rashes, and coughing him immune system protected him. One day he was bad and got HIV from a girl. The rest of the skit was showing how because of HIV his immune system slowly broke down and he died at the end. It sounds sad. But we made it funny! After wards Gayle went through and explained more of what HIV was, how you can and cannot get it.  While she was teaching them I didn't expect many questions at the end because they didn't pay attention, I know I did that, sorry mom!! Again they proved me wrong at the end the asked fantastic questions about HIV how it was transmitted, who can get it, how people can get it, and where a person can get tested.  They blew me away in how they wanted to learn about HIV and how to protect them self. I was impressed. After wards we collected all of the Light in Africa children to give them gifts and just talk to them. We asked them all how long they have been at the children's home and what they wanted to be when they grew up. Half of the kids wanted to be doctors. Pilots and engineers came in close second or third. It was amazing to see how these children that have nothing want to aspire to do great things with their lives. After our talk we wanted to pray together, first a Northwestern student did it. Then we asked for a child from Light in Africa to pray. Her prayer brought me to tears. At the beginning of every sentence she thanked God for something in her life. She never asked for anything to happen. These children have absolute nothing, no possessions but what they are wearing, no family, and most of the time a horrible past. But they were thanking God from the very pit of their hearts. It moved me and showed me that the things that I have and the things that I ask for from God should be turned in to thanks.

After we all were very tired and decided to go back to Light in Africa. We were sitting around the table talking about the next projects that we needed to start or some of the projects we needed to finish. In came in one of Light in Africa's workers with a little watoto (child) in toe. She told us that this was a child that was being admitted in to the orphanage. She told us he had just spent the past 6 weeks in the hospital. He had a heart condition that we were not sure of yet what it was, hard of hearing and leukemia.  His parents abandoned him because they didn't want to pay for his medical bills.  So he was taken in by a relative, they abused him and didn't feed him. They decided to not pick him up from the hospital because they didn't want to pay the medical bills. I tried to hold it in but I couldn't. I went back to my room and balled. I couldn't understand why someone would do that. He was their child. I understand people are poor, but to do that…  For my project for this class we made child medical and social charts. My partner in this project, Melinda and I did a quick assessment on this boy. He said that he was 15 years old; he didn't know his birth date. He was not even of the growth chart records he was so small. After we did the assessment we found out he was 17 not 15, but he looked like 12. He was very scared, and didn't talk much.   It broke my heart. We see these kids here in Light in Africa, but we don't see where they came from or see the situation they are in.

After we got to show the people at Light in Africa our project what we did with the medical and social records that we made for all of the children. they were thrilled and excited to be able to keep track of where the children came from and what medical needs that they have had.

Well it's getting late and we are exhausted, lalasa lama (good night)! Hannah Twedt













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