I made it to church today and wasn’t sick!!!!! It was the most exciting, extreme, terrifying and amazing experience I’ve ever had in my life. I got up and sang a song with my team and then sang a song alone and it was such an feeling that I can’t describe to you. As I sat there and watched everyone in the audience singing, crying and reaching their hands up to the sky, I realized that I owe it to them to tell their stories to you. I know I said that I wasn’t going to post about the things we’ve seen here, and words aren’t going to even come close to the real thing, but I am going to try my best to tell you about Africa.

As I’ve said before we’ve seen over a 1,000 people and each one of their faces play in my head over and over. The things they are ill with, you don’t see in the United States and even if you do it is easily fixable. A hospital stay here is $20,000 shillings… that is only $20 US and they can’t afford to 1) pay for being in the hospital or the treatment and 2) pay for the transportation to get there. Cars are and extremely large luxury here, we drove to all of our out reach clinics on the back of a flatbed truck with a metal cage around it and we looked like we owned the world to some people. It is so different than home, you’d be arrested for driving 50 miles on a highway with someone in the back of your truck, here you’re lucky to be able to do it. We had people walk for 3-4 hours to come see us for treatment and many of them we had to say ” I’m sorry but we just don’t have the means to treat you” and have to turn them away. You’ve never seen desperation until you look into those peoples eyes when you say those words. For many, they will die and it won’t be easy.

A few cases that stick out in my mind are a little girl who couldn’t have been older than 5, she can’t walk straight because she has a tumor growing out her back that is almost as big as her, it hangs half way down her back because it is so large and heavy. She is suffering and her quality of life is depending on whether this can be removed or not. I am praying that we can remove it and it be a benign growth and she can live, if it’s malignant…. it will be in God’s hands. I’m praying for a miracle at this point for her. I saw two babies under 1 years old the other day, they were twins and they had contracted worms. Walking back to the make shift clinic we had in a remote village after lunch, I saw them outside, throwing up and looking like they weren’t going to make it much longer. They didn’t have a card to come in and at that point they wouldn’t have had time to come in and see us. I am blessed to be part of such an amazing team, one of the providers saw this as well and we took them in and made sure of it they got immediate treatment. I have seen feet swollen to a point where they no longer are recognizable as feet because of the parasites in the dirt here that burrow into peoples feet because they can’t afford shoes. Goiters that stick out so far that you can’t tell that a person has a neck. Injuries that are infected beyond anything you can imagine. And surgeries that have gone horribly wrong and there is no reversing the damage. The hardest part for me was to tell people that they were positive for HIV. Since I was in the lab/pharmacy most of the time, I did the testing. The look that takes over their faces and embeds in their eyes is haunting, I can’t see anything else but their faces when I lay down to go to sleep.

I am not ready to come home. There is so much work that needs to be done here and yet we are out of resources to do anything more at this point. The steps needed to make a difference here seem impossible to climb, I don’t know how, but I know I am determined to do all in my power to help in every way I can. The people here have nothing. Yet they are so happy all the time and grateful for what they have. I am in love with Africa and now feel like I have a second home that needs my help. In one week I will back in the United States and I am scared of how I am going to feel, I don’t want to leave yet.

Published in: on May 31, 2009 at 4:51 pm  Leave a Comment  


Jambo. This past week has been quite a ride, physically and emotionally. We have seen close to if not over 1,000 people we are guessing and are averaging 130 a day in the clinic. Then there is the team out in the field that sees approximately 150 people a day. So add those together and we are treating about 280 people a day! There have been some extremely sad and hard cases to deal with here. You will NEVER see anything like it in the states.

Yesterday I went out to a remote village with a team of 8 people including myself and it was probably the saddest day of my life. We saw about 130 people and when we left to get back to the compound there were still tons of people waiting to be seen. The sad reality of it is the ones who didn’t get to be seen probably won’t be able to for about another year when a new team comes through, and that is hoping that that team goes back to that specific village. I am amazed at how patient they all are here. They wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning and walk for miles and miles (if they are able) to come see us and wait in line for hours to be seen. I don’t know a single person on this planet that is as patient as they are, I know I am not!

There is so much that needs to be done to help the people here. We are barely scratching the surface. After a visit to New Hope International Hospital we found that the construction has been halted due to funds. The closest hospital is in Arusha and that is about an hour drive away. Keep in mind that most people here do not have cars and they have to walk that distance. This hospital would be so instrumental to this area, it is so sad that people have to suffer because there isn’t adequate health care facilities close by. I am wishing with all my heart that a miracle happens soon and construction on the hospital can start back up again.

I am not going to be describing the things that we are seeing here on this blog because one I haven’t even begun to process what I am truly seeing it and two, it’s so hard to explain it to someone who isn’t here to see it for themselves. I am keeping a journal and am writing in it everyday. You are more than welcome to thumb through it when I come home and read about what exactly we saw. I hope you all are doing wonderful back home.


Published in: on May 28, 2009 at 1:40 pm  Leave a Comment  


To everyone back home. Please pray for the people here. For some that is the only last shred of hope they have. Thank you.

Published in: on May 26, 2009 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  


I’m feeling a bit under the weather today. It’s been tough getting used to the altitude here coming from Washington and right above the water to up a mountain! Plus I think I caught a travelers bug, not good šŸ˜¦ I promise that I am in good hands, remember (mom) that I am part of a team of 20 medical providers and brought with us a pharmacy. I am in extremely qualified and safe hands! I missed out on church today because I was just so exhausted that I needed rest, and lots of water!! However, i am on the mend and will be perfectly find by tomorrow!

I forgot to mention my critter story. We had a little visitor come to hang out in our room the other night. Those who know me know that I am not a fan of creepy crawlies of any sort. Well…. we had a gecko come and want to have a slumber party the other night. I don’t think anyone has jumped off a top bunk as fast as I did and run out into the common room screaming!! Alex and Ben went to go get the little bugger outside and away from my pillow and I really wished someone (not me I don’t want to be that close) would have video taped it. At one point we see the little guy scamper across the hall with Ben and Alex crawling after it! eventually we got a Frisbee on top of it and it was released back into the wild! Then mama Carrie had a run in with a cockroach in the bathroom. It ran across her foot!! How creepy!

Then there is all the bugs and rabid bats! Last night Karli and I were outside writing in our journals when a swarm of like 6 bats came swooping down trying to decapitate us!!! I have had lots of luck when it comes to the bugs, I haven’t gotten bit once, unlike Karli who has a few bites. They like her a lot haha!!

It’s time for coffee now so I am off!


Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 1:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Habari za jioni

Habari za jioni (good evening) well I suppose for you all back home it should be Habari za asubuhi (good morning). I am having an amazing time over here. We had our first day in the clinic yesterday which was quite a whirlwind! Imagine 20 people in a small 3 room clinic that can fit in the modern American living room.

I started out taking vitals, not my most favorite task since that is all I do back home, but I am so happy to be able to help in any way that I can that of course I did not mind! Later on in the day I was bumped to registration, this proved to be complicated with the language barrier. We have interpreters but one thing that has proved to be a problem is they do not always know how to tell us exactly word for word what is wrong with the patient and they don’t know how to describe it very well to us in English. One thing that was an issue for me was they all talk to softly that it’s hard to hear them. I have a tough time hearing most anything back home that this was exceptionally challenging! I then moved to the Lab which I loved! Now when I say lab, I mean a folding table with a few essentials on it. What my job is now for the rest of the trip is to maintain the lab! What I do is basically blood glucose levels, Hgb levels, HIV test screenings and we would have done malaria except our malaria kits seem to be dysfunctional. Hopefully we can find new ones somewhere soon. We also have tools to do pregnancy tests and urine dips, we just haven’t had the need for it yet. I am happy to say that on the first day of in clinic work, we only had one person test positive for HIV! I can’t tell you how amazing it is to tell someone that they’re test is negative and they are fine, one girl burst out into the biggest smile and jumped up and gave me a hug. It literally brought tears to my eyes. My heart goes out to the one person who has to deal with this now, but we are trying to do everything we can to help them in every way possible.

We went to the orphanage today and I worked the lab table again. Oh it broke my heart to see them cry when we pricked their fingers. I just had to continue to remind myself that I was helping them and the pain from the prick is short lived. It was funny to me because almost every single one of the boys cried and one I thought was going to pass out because he was so upset, yet only one girl cried and she couldn’t have been older than 4 or 5. The girls here are tough cookies!! All of the children tested negative!!! How wonderful is that šŸ™‚

After the orphanage we had to run into Arusha to a pharmacy (that sees both humans and animals) to pick up more supplies. A few of us went on a short walk around the block, not getting very far away and staying attached to our interpreters. It is so different over here. There is garbage all over the streets, the water looks like there may be some raw sewage in it, the poverty is just outrageous. It really has opened my eyes a great deal to see how people live over here then think about all I have back home, I am so grateful. we were bombarded by people wanting to sell things, I actually found something that I really liked so I got it… boy did that make things worse!! It seemed like all of Arusha was gathered around our bus trying to get money out of someone! It was definitely an interesting experience.

I am trying to put as much detail as I can in the posts, however there are 20 people wanting to use the computer so this is why they all are so short. I would be more than happy to visit with anyone when I return and tell you all about my time here in Tanzania. I hope all is well with you all back home. Kwaheri and Usiku mwema (goodbye and goodnight).


Published in: on May 22, 2009 at 5:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

I’m here

Hello, I am here!! It was quite exciting on our way over. I arrived at my team members house on time for the van that was picking us up at 9:00 sharp. They ended up showing up at 9:40!!! Not good for when you are taking an international flight. We had to make a detour on our way since a machine we were bringing stopped working for some unknown reason, then our driver runs a red light and we see our lives flash before our eyes before we even leave Bremerton!

Finally we make it to the airport and with roadside check in, we skipped the long lines and went straight through security no problems! Walked right onto the plane and then pulled out of the terminal. Out on the run way I am starting to see that our luck turned around for the better… until the captain makes an announcement that we had to turn around, a passenger was having an anxiety attack and they had to get off the plane! So an hour later we finally departed from SeaTac and were on our way to Amsterdam! On the flight we each Had our personal TVs, how awesome is that! I finally got to catch up on all the movies I’ve been meaning to watch but haven’t had the time, like Taken. Which was probably not the best movie to watch when on the way to a foreign country, but it was good all the same. We were only in Amsterdam for about 30 min when we boarded our next flight and were on the way with no problems. I pretty much slept the entire second plane trip and missed seeing the pyramids when we flew over Egypt šŸ˜¦

After getting into Tanzania, we exit the plane and walk onto the tar mat and the first thing that I noticed was how sweet the air smelled. It was unlike anything I ever smelled before and it was so amazing. On our bus ride to theĀ compund I was surprised to see how many people were sitting out on the road and walking in the pitch black, it was quite peculiar to me but of course very normal here. We had a late dinner when we arrived which was actually quite good. The fruit here is toĀ die for! It’s so juicy and delicious, i will never taste fruit the same!

After a very rude awakening from the African alarm clock… a very obnoxious rooster, Ā we spent the day getting the clinic set up for patients who are expected toĀ start arriving tomorrow. I was impressedĀ at how quick we got everything done.Ā Before lunch we had everything unpacked and then at about 3Ā pm everything was all organized and looking great!

We participated in a long standing ritual and had coffee with the elders, let me tell you the coffee was soooo good!Ā  I found it interesting how the men all sat on benchesĀ surrounding a tree while the woman satĀ up on the hillĀ and waited for them to be done so they could receive coffee. Then we went on a walk to the Sluys Anderson Primary School. The colors here are amazing andĀ unforgettable. Everything is so vibrant and exotic. We made some new friends with the children and played Frisbee with them… I amĀ terrible at it and they giggled at me a few times!

we are getting ready for dinner and there isĀ a few people waiting to send e-mails home, so this is it for now. I will write more again as soon as I have the chance!



Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Twas the night before…

Twas the night before… I LEAVE!!! And I couldn’t sleep even a half a wink. So I was up playing on the computer, watching a comedy show then the news, read a book and talked on the phone to as many people that I could who were awake and could stand to listen to me be so excited at 3:00 in the morning!

I am getting hollered at that I am going to be late (story of my life) so I am sorry this is so short but… I’M LEAVING!!!!!!! I will try to update you all as often as I can so please keep visiting me and don’t get discouraged if it is a while between posts, there are 20 of us trying to stay in contact with everyone back home on one computer! I will miss you all, see you in a month!



Published in: on May 18, 2009 at 3:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Less Than a week

It’s hard to believe that I leave in 6 days…… 6 days!!!!! I am already packing, and unpacking and packing it again so I can be sure I don’t forget anything.Ā  I have posted the itinerary for the trip, you can find it on the right hand side if you wish to check it out!! Thank you all for visiting me, keep checking in and I will update you all as often as I can!

Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 4:25 am  Leave a Comment