Weeks eight and nine and it’s going fine!
Monday we celebrated 4th of July surrounded by British volunteers six of them compared to two from the United States was an interesting experience but they were good sports about the jokes. Tuesday was another day at the hospital but a new volunteer who’s a recreational therapist back in the United States will be at the hospital three days a week and foundation the other two following my schedule. It’s nice to have a companion to travel with to work. Wednesday I brought a friend to the hospital run making the 12k much more bearable and then we went to several of my housemates last social dinner.
Thursday was a Tanzanian holiday called Saba Saba with the day off of work my boss took me to get our nails decorated and lunch to celebrate before another Swahili class with the other volunteers. To say goodbye to some of the great volunteers that made the house so full of life and fun we went up to a campsite for a goodbye campfire!
Friday I brought some volunteers to destiny to play with the children between occupational therapy sessions and later went on a home visit to check on children too far from the foundation to come for therapy.
Friday night we made s’mores and one of my childhood favorites called banana boats. Saturday was spent cooking and prepping to host church at the house on Sunday before some school work and card games. On Sunday we went out to breakfast and bought day passes to a local hotel pool to hang out before a big dinner with all the volunteers in the house back from weekend excursions. Also I learned how to solve a Rubix Cube.
On Monday it was tough saying goodbye to some good friends after three weeks of adventures. However it’s nice to know if I’m ever in England I have several people to grab coffee with and with social media it doesn’t feel like quite a permanent goodbye! Tuesday was another day at the hospital with seven Occupational therapists between the five Arusha college students finishing practical hours and the three volunteers. It’s great seeing how each person creates a treatment plan and approaches an injury in a unique way and being able to collaborate from different backgrounds. Wednesday we did a medical outreach seeing over 150 patients at a Maasai village outside of Arusha delivering medication. I took the blood pressure, thankfully not manually, of offer 100 patients.
Thursday and Friday I went back to the hospital for One of the volunteers last couple days. We also got to participate in an African drumming and dance class before volunteer dinner and karaoke night. The weekend was spent around Arusha catching up on homework at a local coffee shop and learning to cook with mama, and of course lots of playing with the host sisters and their friends!
While everything might not be as new and exciting these last few weeks have been some of my favorite despite all the goodbyes. I have enough Swahili vocabulary to communicate at a basic level still with a lot of gestures and google translate but its allowed for stronger friendships with some of the people in my house. It has also allowed me more comfort in the street talking with neighbors and using public transit and at more local stores and resturants. I have been to learning a lot about life in Tanzania from so many different people and truly feel a part of the community I have been able to create for myself between the hospital, foundation, and house.
Mary Kate Parmer