First Day Out

I wrote this post last Tuesday, when I arrived. I haven’t been able to get to the internet cafe in our town (they don’t seem to look kindly upon my skin color), so please bear as I’m not sure how often I’ll have the chance to do e-mail, blogging etc. Sorry for the random edits, PPS at the bottom; future posts will hopefully be more organized, I just really wanted to get this one out with a few edits.

Also, shout out to my mom, July 1st was her birthday! Happy birthday mom, sorry I wasn’t with you to celebrate!

After waiting nearly 6 months, I have finally arrived in Marangu, Tanzania; home of Marangu Lutheran Hospital, where I will be working for the next month.

This morning, we boarded the buses at MS-TCDC, said a sad farewell to our host families, exchanged gifts, bid adieu to our friends, and departed to different parts of this beautiful country.

Marangu is a town high up near the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, which means an extremely rocky/uphill road to the city from the base of Moshi. As one of the major departuring points towards the peak of Killi, the small town is a major stopping point for would-be climbers. All in all, its an extremely beautiful (but very small) town boasting two waterfalls and lots of natural greenery. Definitely not a bad place to be working.

After dropping Ruvi and Hannah off to their hospital in Rhombo, we set off towards Marangu Lutheran, where we met with Njua, the secretary. Technically, Njua means secretary in Kiswahili, but since he has never really revealed his name to either Lora or ourselves, that is his name! He was extremely friendly and polite, and gave us a quick tour of the facilities. It seems like the last group of students who were here last year made some incredible repairs, and so there are some high expectations for Nabil and myself.

One of the more interesting things is that last year’s group, as part of their secondary project, built an intercom system for the hospital. Well, maybe I should back up a bit. The secondary project is something every hospital group is supposed to endeavor in their ‘free time’ at the hospital. It can be anything from painting the children’s ward, to organizing storage closets and buying extra furniture for the hospital. Basically, its our non-technical contribution for the hospital, and we have been given a $100 stipend by EWH (thanks!) for this project. Now, last year’s group devised an intercom system between the different levels of the hospital (remember, its on the hill, so almost everything is built vertical), which was a hit for two months, before it failed. Nabil and I are probably looking to repair the system and perhaps expand it for our own project. But who knows, depending on the situation we see, we might see something else.

After the quick hospital tour, we were taken to our magnificent house. At our house, we were lucky to be offered a home with 3 rooms, 1 bathroom, a living/dining space, and a fully equipped kitchen. Score (thanks EWH!). We definitely have some of the nicest living conditions this month, which is a nice turn of events since I think we were with one of the poorest families for the first month. While they provided an excellent stay and experience in Makumira, I won’t say it wasn’t without complaint. Anywho, we met Tea (pronounced Tay-uh) the housemaid and Shao the security guard. Shao is provided by the hospital, since the adjacent home is occupied by a doctor, but Tea is an optional helper, for about 5000 Tsh/day. Nabil and I are currently figuring out how often we want her here. Probably twice a week.

After we acquanited ourselves, we tried having a short discussion with Tea, but quickly realized the limits of our Kiswahili. Seems like we still have a long way to go. After trying to communicate with her to have her cook our dinner that night, Nabil and I headed out into town to buy a powerstrip (so we could charge both our computers at once) and some food. Once we had picked everything up, we went to open the door to our house to realize…it was locked. We waited out on the patio for Tea to return from her grocery shopping for about an hour. Smooth.

After learning how to cook beef stew (we will be cooking some days ourselves) and eating, we cleaned up and unpacked. Later in the night, when I went around the house turning lights on to figure what did what, I accidently overloaded the home and the fuse switch went off. While the house is real nice, we’ll have to be very mindful of what is on and what is off, to avoid that happening at random times. I think it was the fact that I was boiling water for tomorrow that really pushed the breaker.

Actually the water heater was broken. They fixed it for one day, but its still broken. Back to the bucket baths for a week until the hospital can get a new one.

Lots to learn, loads to do. I’m super excited. We have a huge task ahead of us in trying to help our hospital out, and living in Tanzania with only each other will be a touch task in itself. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

PS – Because I know everyone was super concerned about it, my bed is big enough! YAY!

PPS – After two days in the hospital, we had fixed an incubator, dentist chair, blood pressure monitor, and a microscope. The biggest thing hindering our ability to work is the lack of electricity. And Africa Time.

1 Comment

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One response to “First Day Out

  1. Hamid

    Hey Ankit,

    So I finally took the time out and read through all your posts today. It sounds like Tanzania is an absolute blast and I am crazy jealous. 🙂 I look forward to hearing about more bargaining antics and a perfected intercom system. Say hi to Nabil for me! 🙂

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