Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hello From Africa!

So right now I sit in an internet cafe in Njombe. This is the town we have stopped at on our way out of Jessica's village (Kifumbe) and on our way towards our Safari in Ruaha. The trip so far has been absolutely amazing! I arrived about a week ago and spent the night in Dar Es Salaam. The next day Jessica and I travelled via bus to Iringa, halfway to Jessica's village, where we met up with Charlie. After a night in Iringa Jessica and I headed on towards her village in Kifumbe.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Jessica and I worked at the village clinic. Monday was baby weighing day. All the momma's bring the children into the clinic to be weighed. Each child is weighed once a month and their weight is plotted on a graph to see whether they are healthy weight or not. The children also receive their vaccinations at 9, 15 and 21 months. Jessica showed me how to help her and even let me give a child a few polio drops. It was awesome. Tuesday was prenatal checkups. Jessica taught me how to feel a momma's belly to locate the fetus and then how to use my fingers to count the weeks of gestation, definitely not a technique we use in the US! I was so glad the momma was willing to let me learn on her. Then Thursday Jessica and I taught our nutrition lesson to the mommas. We covered boiling water, weaning foods and then did a cooking demonstration on how to make tomatoe sauce/soup. The momma's really liked the food and we taught eachother how to slice tomatoes and onions. It was so much fun!
But I have to say the highlight of the entire week was the text we received Friday morning from Momma Love, the lady who runs the clinic. Her text basically said, "Come to the clinic now!" When we got there we got to witness the birth of a baby. It was so empowering. The mothers here barely make a noise throughout the labor and birthing process, maybe just sigh here and there. Unbelievable considering the fact that they are laying there completely naked, on a board covered in cloth, with no drugs, and a window open to provide light into the room. A window without glass or nets that the wind blows straight through. Unreal. After the birth the mom delivered the placenta then stood up and walked to the next room which is known as the recovery room. Tomorrow she will probably be back to work! Very different from the American way but actually much more appealing to me, it just seemed so peaceful. Lucky for me Jessica had a cold and I was able to carry the baby from the birthing room into the recovery room. He was so sweet.
This will probably be my only post while I am in Africa. Tomorrow we continue our journey on towards Ruaha where we will be going on a three day safari. Lucky for us we saw some twiggas (giraffes), tembos (elephants), and swalas (impalas) on the bus ride to Jessica's village. Hopefully on the safari we will be able to see them closer up and actually take photos. I am also hoping we get to see a lion and hippos. After the safari I will be heading back to Dar to return to the US. Hard to believe I am only halfway through my trip but then again hard to believe I am ALREADY halfway through my trip.


Stephanie said...

What an awesome experience!

Have fun on the safari!

Paige said...

Wow, I never though I would hear you say you found a birthing method you I guess when it's time we'll just send you back to Tanzania. =)

Jess Clark said...

I am glad you posted about this, I thought it was incredible too. And yay for my cold!