After many months of preparation, our mission to Tanzania has finally commenced! Our first week in Kibosho Hospital has been an interesting adventure. We have been so overwhelmed by the hospitality and welcoming of the staff, sister Françoise, Nicholaus and the Tanzanian people living in Kibosho. Each morning we wake up to the beautiful nature in Kibosho, as Mount Kilimanjaro fills our horizon and the African sun warms our skin. Our day starts with a prayer as the staff in the hospital gather each morning to bless the working day they are about to embark on. Respectively, each staff member goes to their department to start helping the patients in the hospital, while we join our Physiotherapist to organize our day. The need to help the patients is vast, as there are many who need our services and support. Patients arrive from near and far to the hospital, with various forms of ailments leaving them deconditioned, weak, fragile and in need of rehabilitation. Minor conditions may lead to heightened sequelae secondary to possible cultural barriers, poverty, lack of education, and resources for the patients. Thus, our challenges are immense and require a tremendous amount of education and resources to help the patients. We hope with some of our expertise, that we will be able to share our knowledge with the staff, the physiotherapist, the families and patients in order to help improve their provision of care and quality of life.
Our week has been filled with challenging cases, that has allowed for revision of assessments, interventions and plan of care for our patients. Furthermore, Marize presented a lecture on Lymphedema, a topic that is important in Africa secondary to Filariasis and various other impairments that lead to lymphedema. The lecture was well received by the staff doctors, nurses, medical students from Europe and physiotherapist. After the lecture, we discovered a patient who had lymphedema secondary to cancer, and we took this opportunity to show the multilayer bandaging compression treatment to the doctors at the hospital. They were so interested and excited to try this new technique in order to help the patient, which created a wonderful exchange of information between the therapists, the staff and the patient. As we embarked on each day, we are thrilled with the rapport we built with our patients, their families and most importantly the rehabilitation progression we note in our patients. The smiles on their faces spoke a thousand words of thanks and gratitude, which left us sometimes with tears of joy.
After our day filled with patient care, we have the pleasure of enjoying the nature in Kibosho with long trails sometimes accompanied by the locals working at the hospital. The children in Kibosho loved to welcome us as we played soccer and jump rope after school together, which filled our souls with warmth and joy. We look forward to another week filled with new surprises and adventures here in this rural village at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro!