January 8-10

We finished up time in Arusha with one final day of safari exploration to the Tarangire national park, Ngorongoro crater, and visited the Datoga tribe and Hadzabe (Bushman) tribe. We saw more animals than Alinda and I expected, enjoyed box lunches and cold sodas (with ice!) provided by Julius, and toured a coffee plantation, and visited a local wood carver’s shop where he showed us his artwork.

After three days of fun and very interactive cultural learning opportunities, it was time for us to pack up and get back to work. We left the Ahadi lodge and headed to the airport. We took a short 1 hour flight to Mwanza for our final week of work at the Bugando hospital doing spinal surgeries and work with an orphanage. Travel was smooth and uneventful. We were dropped off at the Gold Crest Hotel in Mwanza where we will be staying for the next 5 days. We have a beautiful view of Lake Victoria from the balcony, and we enjoyed a walk by the beach before supper. That night we met for a supper with many of the surgeons we will be working with this next week!


On Monday morning we were on the road by 7:30 headed to Bugando. Our goal for the day was to assess all of our surgical cases and ensure our diagnoses, gather patient history, examine MRI’s and X-rays, and collaborate on our plan of treatment. Our pile of spine surgery patients grew larger from 10 to approximately 25 patients as the day went by. Gayle made Alinda and I’s mission to take every patient’s blood pressure, because of the high incidence of undiagnosed and untreated high blood pressure in this country. High blood pressure not only increases risk of stroke and stresses the heart, but it poses even greater risk of lethal blood loss during surgery.

After Steve gave his opinion on the cases and educating/collaborating with the dr.’s at Bugando, we ended the day rounding on three cases of inpatient spinal orthopedics. Tomorrow we will be doing three spinal surgeries, and it will be a big learning opportunity for everyone there! Gayle also got to meet some of the medical students that she and sponsors back home have been supporting through medical school, and is happy to report that they are all doing well in school and helping many people already here in Tanzania!

While we were at Bugando, Lynn went to the orphanage and got a tour, and got to meet most of the 72 beautiful kids that live there. They like to have 50, but don’t turn away any kids and are at overcapacity. However, the kid’s care is evident in the joy each one has! They are well loved and cared for. Lynn and Julius went out and bought cornmeal, wheat flour, rice, beans, onions, cooking oil, sardines (dagaa), and brooms-all funded by Hope Ministries. Thanks to all the donors who made this possible. They were all so grateful! Lynn then did a teaching lesson with them about God’s creation, and was amazed by how well behaved an attentive they were!

Thank you all for your prayers and support, and pray for our upcoming surgeries and that God will continue to provide for us and the people He is placing in our path, and for the doctors we are partnered with!

God bless,

Alinda and Abby