January 1&2

These past two days the team has gotten some rest and preparations were made for the upcoming week. We will be delivering meals to hospice patients, and start assessments in the ortho clinic. Abby and I got a fun cultural experience on Saturday from our amazing chef, Baraka, who showed us how to make Sombusas. These are meat pastries basically, and are so good! It was fun to learn about the traditional ways they cook here, and to learn more about the process it takes for them to make each meal here. We gained a deeper appreciation for the freshness of everything here and aren’t looking forward to coming back to all the processed foods back home!

Around 7pm Gayle left for the airport to pick up Steve and Lynn from the airport, which will make our team finally whole. Steve will be performing several spinal surgeries while we are here, and Lynn will be assisting with the children and hospice visits. After another battle with the airport about the medical supplies they were bringing with them, they finally made it back around midnight.

While Gayle was gone, Abby and I got to try the Tanzanian chicken pizza, and do some reflecting from the last week.

Abby’s experience at an outreach clinic:  I was moved to tears while caring for a four-year-old patient suffering from fluorosis. Here in Tanzania, fluoride levels are found extremely high in run off water from Mount Meru.  These toxic levels of fluoride cause calcium to be drawn out of the bones, which causes fluorosis with bowing and minor fractures.  It also be due to rickets a dietary deficiency.  Their calcium-deprived bones suffer minute fractures as the children grow, causing their bones to heal in a grotesque bowed shaped. Unfortunately, fluorosis is a common problem for young children because they are not able to afford purified drinking water, and are forced to drink the toxic fluoride-filled water. It was easy to see that my 4 year old patient was suffering from fluorosis and/or Ricketts. While very sad, it is an unfortunate reality for many Tanzanian children. However, what shocked me was to learn about my patients background. This young child was brought to me by his neighbor, who told me this child’s mother was long time alcohol abuser. The neighbor heard that we were hosting a clinic and volunteered to bring the child in for treatment, as his mother was too drunk to do so at this time in the morning. I was overjoyed to tell this man that we could offer the child a surgical consult to determine the possibility repairing his damaged bones—paid in full by Hope Ministries. I shook my head in disbelief knowing that this moment was the start to this kid’s life. Not only is he going to receive medical treatment—likely some of the first ever he has received in his short life—but he will escape the abusive household. I was brought to tears knowing that without the neighbor bringing this patient in, this child could have endured much more suffering, pain, and abuse for many years. I believe that nothing is an accident. I know God placed and pieced together every part of this child’s story, and I praise God that we were able to give this child a new chance at life. I know that for me, this entire trip has been made worth it through this child’s story. I would travel across the world a thousand times over to know that God is able to use me to make this kind of impact in someone else’s life. All praise be to Him for allowing us to rescue this child, and I am thankful for the many more lives that have also been touched by this mission.


Today, Sunday January 2nd, we went to ALMC’s church again and worshiped with the families there, many of whom are also missionaries. After that, we went to the local “Walmart” (as Julius calls it), where Gayle bargained for good prices on the food we would be packing for the hospice meals. Our second driver, Freeman, gave Abby, Steve, Lynn and I a tour of the market place while we waited, and we took in the vast variety of fruits, veggies, meats, spices and items that were overflowing from each stand. It was quite a sight! We then went to a fantastic Chinese restaurant for lunch, and then came back and packed the bags for the hospice visits. Each person will get a bag containing rice, beans, cooking oil and ulezi (high protein cereal).  Tonight we will be meeting up with several of the doctors that will be assisting us with clinics and surgeries. We are looking forward to starting the follow up cares and assessments of many of the patients we were able to see at the outreach clinic.

God bless,