John Gossen
John Gossen
Tanzania 2016
I graduated from Belmont University with a B.S. in biology. I have been a certified Advanced Emergency Medical Technician for four years, working in ambulances and emergency rooms. Over three months I will use my experience in emergency medicine to volunteer in a government hospital in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Read More About John →

A first time for many things

My Grandmother is 100% Irish.  As an ardent Catholic, she goes to church every day, reads during mass, and even has a rosary with shamrocks on every bead. Naturally, I have to start off my Lumos blog with a confession; I have never blogged. In fact, my grasp on the term is so tenuous that I turned to google for a more precise definition.

Blog: A Web site on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences. *

Sounds pretty straight forward to me. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog!

I cannot believe my Tanzania trip is just around the corner.  The last 9 months have led up to this moment. I recently received my hospital placement, and will be volunteering at Mwananyamala Regional Hospital (hereafter called MWR) in Dar Es Salaam. The flights are booked, my Visa stamped, and vaccinations almost completed. However, it wasn’t until recently that my departure seemed imminent. I think all the good byes have helped in this realization; from saying “goodbye” to my wonderful co-workers in the SMC Emergency Room in Nashville, as well as telling my extended family to “have a nice 4 months”, and my friends to enjoy their last semester of college.


From SMC to Tanzania.

All the farewells pale in contrast to my excitement. Part of what initially attracted me to the medical field was the ability to experience a myriad of cultures, standards of living, and a diversity of people. For many years, volunteering abroad has been a dream of mine, and I cannot thank the Lumos Program enough for this incredible opportunity. I am already reading up on tropical diseases and their clinical presentations. I cannot wait to bring my experience as an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) to MWR, while understanding that with an entirely new set of diseases, available resources, and languages, there will be a very steep learning curve.

Most importantly, I feel a profound sense of gratitude. Truly there are too many “thank you’s” to go around; Thank you to Lumos for funding this amazing adventure, the professors at Belmont University, my friends at the SMC Emergency Room for teaching me some of the intricacies of Emergency medicine, and most importantly, my family and friends for their continued support and care. None of this would be possible without all of your help, camaraderie, and support

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The fam with the plan.

I am still unfamiliar with this whole blogging thing, but my gut is telling me to say another goodbye. So good bye until next time dear reader! The next time you hear from me, I’ll have completed a mere 38 hours of travel, and blogging live from East Africa!

Have a great day!


John Gossen


P.S. I would appreciate any and all feedback to make this a more enjoyable experience. So post any recommendations you have. More colors? More talking? Less talking? Let me know. Thank you so much! Have a great day!


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