Saturday, July 12, 2014

My final day in Tanzania

Well, this is it. My last day in Tanzania has come to an end. I accompanied Karen Klemp, Nancy Comello and Amy Martin to the mother and baby clinic in Arusha today. The three of them hosted another Healthy Births and Babies and Helping Babies Breathe class. 
Practicing newborn resuscitation during Helping Babies Breathe

The classes focused on some good birthing positions, some complications that may arise during birth, such as shoulder dystentia, what to do if the umbilical cord is wrapped tightly around the neck, and what to do if the baby is not breathing.

Amy, Karen and Nancy stressed the importance of not cutting the umbilical cord right away. Leaving the cord attached for a minute or two after birth can prevent anemia in the first 6 months. They also told the gathered midwives that putting the baby against the mother’s skin helps keep the baby warm. Two very simple things, but they can make the difference in a young baby’s first moments and days of life. 

The second part of the class focused on what to do if a baby is not breathing. Amy told the midwives that if a baby is born and starts crying, that is good. But if the baby is not crying, they should clear the mouth of mucus and dry it. If the baby is still not breathing on its own, they should start doing newborn resuscitation, or rescue breaths. 

With about eight practice babies available, each of the 15 midwives in attendance was able to practice the skill. This is just the first class the trio will be hosting. They are planning to return to the clinic on Monday before they travel to Dar es Salaam, where they will host similar classes.

The graduates with Leah Narans (left) and Karen Klemp (right)
After the classes and lunch, we headed back to Eliza’s. Jane and I are sadly flying out tonight, and we needed to finish packing before heading to Ondo’s for the graduation ceremony. Leah Narans’ Medical Sciences and Lab Skills students successfully completed their five weeks course, and we had a fun ceremony to recognize their success. Leah said with all they learned during her class, they would be ready to draw blood at a hospital. What a blessing it was to have her volunteer her time and her summer to teach the students skills that can translate into a profession.

Speaking of students, I was finally able to meet the student I sponsor, Onory Godfrey, the other day. I began sponsoring his education at the New Life Band School last August, and my parents agreed to split the cost of his education with me this year. He is doing very well in school and would like to one day become a teacher. My parents sent me with a Brewers hat and Packers shirt to give him, and he loved the gifts. 

There is a very distinct difference between high school students in America and those in Tanzania. In the United States, high school students usually graduate at age 17 or 18. The average age of a graduate at the New Life Band School is 19-24. That is because their education may be interupted. If a student cannot afford to go to school, they may have to take a year off before they can find the funds. The big thing is getting good grades to continue their education. 
I have traded phone numbers with my student, and I hope to stay in contact and hear about how his education is going. 

My student, Onory Godfrey
Here I am, sitting in the Kilimanjaro Airport with Jane Krogstad, and I cannot believe that my two and a half week trip is at an end. It has been an amazing experience, and I am very sad to be leaving. I know I must return, but I am afraid that I will not see my own country the same way. 

Everyone in Tanzania is so happy, so cheerful, and they do not have the same opportunities I do as an American. At the same time, it seems like the people of Tanzania are happier than many people in America. 

Well, our flight from Kilimanjaro to Istanbul will be departing in about an hour. We have about a 3 hour layover in Istanbul before the final leg back to Chicago. Even though we fly out at 2:10 a.m. on Saturday, July 12, we will be arriving in Chicago by 5:30 p.m., and I should be back in Janesville by 8:30 p.m. World magic, I like to call it. 

To everyone who has followed along on my journey, thank you. I have immensely enjoyed my trip, and am glad to be able to share a bit of it with all of you. I know it is not a matter of if I will be back, but when. My goal? Summer 2016!

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