October 26, 2017 – Our real final day of seeing patients, kind of….


As we had decided not to travel to Arusha until tomorrow, it only seemed reasonable that we should try to see some patients today if possible. Now, remember, this was not a day that had been announced to the community, but somehow patients still showed up today expecting to be seen by the neurology “mafundi” (That’s plural for in Swahili for experts). We still had other things to do, such as a debriefing meeting with the residents to go over what had worked well and what hadn’t during our visit here. Originally, the meeting was to be a larger affair, but that was quickly found to be impossible as William, in charge of HR, and Angel, our social worker and outreach person, were both unavailable. William was on his way to Arusha and Angel had gone out to do community outreach in preparation for another group of volunteers coming next month dealing with cervical cancer screening. Susan and Frank had left this morning on vacation after their tiring fundraising tour in the US so were also unavailable.

Our debriefing meeting – Whitley, Neena, Alex, Emmanuel, Baraka, and Sara (L to R) at the Lilac

The meeting ended up being the four of us along with Alex. Both Emmanuel and Baraka came at the beginning for us to thank them for all of their invaluable service to us during our time here. We couldn’t have done it without them and I would certainly look forward to working with them again next visit, as I’m sure everyone else would agree. I have always considered that our working with just interpreters is a lost opportunity here as the main goal is for us to work side by side with clinicians to teach them neurology, but it is the next best thing, especially considering that both Baraka and Emmanuel had an interest in medicine. Baraka would like to go to school to be a clinical officer and Emmanuel has already gone to nursing school. We were able to work with at least one clinical officer every day, which was all that FAME could spare from their rotation, and in the future, I hope to rectify this by helping fund a clinical officer so we would have at least two working with us. Spoiler alert – keep an eye open for my fundraiser in the future.

One of our patients Thursday morning

Our meeting had actually been planned for 8:30 or 9 am after morning report, but best laid plans are not always possible here which is often than not the case. Reception kept sending us patients and when I would communicate that this was our last patient so we could to our meeting, there always seemed to be one more that had traveled from far to see us. So we continued seeing patients until probably nearly noon, when we finally were able to hold our meeting at the Lilac Café, the small cantina on the compound that serves as a restaurant for families and guests as well as cooks all the food for the inpatients. We eventually had lunch after our meeting and had then planned to do errands for the afternoon. I had wanted to stop by Daniel Tewa’s home to say goodbye, but we missed him unfortunately and had to say our goodbyes by text instead. There was some last minute shopping to do for gifts and then we needed to stop by the fabric store for the what everyone had had made for them.

Women carrying cement in 5 gal buckets on their heads. A clear contributing factor to headaches, neck pain and cervical spondylosis

After that, we all headed back up to FAME so that those of us who needed to pack could do so and it was also another movie night. Alex cooked us a dinner of veggie burgers, pasta salad and couscous for our last meal at FAME, and then the it was time to watch “Into the Wild” that Alex had on his computer. Neena, Ke, Sara and Whitley all crowded on the couch in our house watching the movie playing on a computer and using a Bluetooth speaker while I finished packing and typing blog. We didn’t have to leave at the crack of dawn, and were actually planning to attend morning report, as Gabriel wanted to give a good sending off by all the doctors. We had a bunch of little errands and I had wanted to hit the road by around 9am.



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