Saturday, September 20, 2014 – Rift Valley Children’s Village and Oldeani


Doug and I were scheduled to go to Rift Valley Children’s Village today for the mobile clinic, but there were two young girls for us to see who Danielle had originally seen in March of last year and we felt it best for her to be there for their follow up. We had room in the FAME support vehicle and we hadn’t announced a neurology clinic at FAME for Saturday so it was decided that would work. We made rounds in the hospital ward at FAME and then hit the road for Oldeani, the local village next to the Children’s Village.

Playtime at Rift Valley Children's Village

Playtime at Rift Valley Children’s Village

I’ve probably mentioned RVCV before, but it never hurts to do it again. India Howell, or Mama India as she is known to her children is a woman of amazing vision and heart. Essentially, she built a Children’s Village where she has adopted all the children who live there until they are 18 so they feel it is their home, partnered with the village to improve the public school where her children attend, and has funded a twice monthly clinic by FAME to maintain the health of not only her children, but also the local children attending school with them along with all the villagers. Visiting RVCV is an incredibly uplifting experience that makes one immediately realize what is possible to achieve here. Unfortunately, given the level of poverty and corruption it is also quite apparent of the massive resources it would take to make more than the dent we put here in the Rift Valley a reality for the country. Still that is not a reason not to continue with the work we are doing here to make life a little better in our little corner of Tanzania. The good news is that there are many others here working towards to the same goal so perhaps it will someday be a reality.

Patients waiting to be seen at the Rift Valley/Oldeani clinic

Patients waiting to be seen at the Rift Valley/Oldeani clinic

The clinic at RVCV was spent seeing a mix of patients and even though it was the second day, a number of new patients showed up who had either heard that we were there or just happened by. Either way we were able to see some epilepsy cases for Danielle while Doug pinch hit in his role as a pediatrician and helped out with 16 general pediatrics cases. It was a good showing.

Danielle and Diana (our incredible interpreter) evaluating a RVCV patient

Danielle and Diana (our incredible interpreter) evaluating a RVCV patient

We returned from our clinic at RVCV and all decided to go up to Gibb’s Farm to relax on their veranda that has one of the most amazing views in all of Tanzania (I’m sure some will argue that the view from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro may be more breathtaking, but then again you don’t have to spend six days getting to Gibb’s). Gibb’s is an old coffee plantation and community that has been around for many years here and was made into a five star resort that rivals any in Africa. They grow all their own food, cattle, have a wood shop to make all their own furniture and even have a small clinic there for the worker (though send many to FAME). We all sat on the veranda admiring the incredible view and decided to take them up on their local’s price for dinner of $25 for a four course absolutely amazing meal lasting over 1-1/2 hours. Roasted vegetables and a lovely mozzarella, beet and tomato soup, and a choice of four dishes for the main course. I had roasted turkey breast with couscous cake and a sauce of nuts and dates. Dessert for me was Tanzanian vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Yikes! Needless to say, this was a dinner worthy of any restaurant in New York, Philadelphia or San Francisco and couldn’t be found in any of them for mere $25.

We didn’t get home from Gibb’s Farm until 9:30 or so which is very late for here and we had to pack food and supplies for our safari the following day. Hey, someone’s got to do it 😉

More later,


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