Wednesday, October 4 – A quiet day in clinic and picking up clothes from Teddy…


It’s hard for me to know just how the residents feel during their last week here given the fact that I know that I will be returning soon enough. Three weeks, or even a month for that matter, is only enough time to get a small sampling of what it is like here. Though I encourage everyone to come back to FAME in the future, that is much easier said than done given the busy lives with families and academic careers. Therefore, given the low likelihood of their return, they must be having very mixed emotions during this final week of their stay, so I wanted to make sure that we got all our activities in for them. Yesterday was our visit to Phillipo and his family for our coffee tour and then to Athumani. Today, we were planning to visit Teddy again to pick up everyone’s clothes that they had made. Tomorrow would be a visit to Kitashu’s brother’s boma on the other side of Mto wa Mbu (we weren’t able to get back to Kitashu’s home as that would have cost us $60 each to re-enter the Conservation Area and that was prohibitive). On Friday, we were planning to visit the Galleria for dinner and shopping. For those of you old enough to remember, I often feel like the social director from Love Boat, the mediocre romantic comedy series that aired from 1977 through 1986, several years longer than it probably should have.

The Love Boat crew

Last night while visiting Phillipo and his family, we met two optometrists by happenstance, and I had invited them to stop by FAME this morning for a tour before they were heading out of town. They were taking a few days to sightsee, but the real purpose of their visit was to develop some type of collaboration between Cardiff University in Wales and Muhimbili University in Dar es Salaam. Though I can recall the name of the Tanzanian, Godluck, I apologize for forgetting the name of the British member of the pair. Regardless, they were both very impressed with FAME and it was very helpful for them to hear the story of how our neurology program has worked as it gave them many ideas of how to begin to create their collaboration here in Tanzania. Additionally, I am hopeful to put them touch with Sehewa, our amazing nurse anesthetist here at FAME who also does all the eyecare and refractions for our patients, though is present at Stanford University for some anesthesia training. Lastly, while they were here, I discovered that the African Galleria has entertained sponsoring some type of eye care program in the area which might be a great way for Muhimbili and FAME to collaborate in the future. This is how things happen here, by coincidence (or, as Father Bill from Carron used to say, “there are no coincidences, just God-incidents”), though there clearly must be some master plan as they happen far too often.

A pineapple and mango gin and tonic after work

We were quite slow throughout the morning as the weather had been a bit cool with some spots of rain which always makes things slow in clinic as it was not just neurology who was slow, but the entire clinic. One good thing was that our cute little girl we had seen previously with ataxia and nystagmus and whose CT brain was unremarkable came back in significantly improved. Though we absolutely wanted to consider a diagnosis of either acute cerebellitis or acute cerebellar ataxia in childhood, both self-limiting and benign process, but there some atypical features that made us concerned that something else could be responsible. Seeing her today, though, was incredibly reassuring as she was almost completely back to normal and had only some subtle nystagmus still on examination. We were so thankful that she had improved for she otherwise normal and a delightful child.

In the back seat of Myrtle – Wajiha, LJ (peeking through), Fien, and Whitney. One guess as to who is faking that they are sleeping?

Our plan had been to go to Teddy’s this evening to pick all the clothes she had made for the residents (neither Fien nor I were included), but first we needed to find a stationary shop as the residents wanted to buy some educational gifts for the younger children, we would be visiting tomorrow at the boma. Originally, they were considering colored chalk and coloring books, neither of which were available here in Karatu, though they did find some colored pencils and a ream of plain white paper on which they proceeded to draw some figures for the children to color. I thought they were quite ingenious in the who process.

Checking each other’s clothes out

We were on the main road in the center of town which is not my normal starting point for driving to Teddy’s, though I gave it go trying to make it to her place from there. I ended up driving a giant circle around her house, but it was an interesting tour of the outskirts of Karatu and places that we usually don’t get to see. We ended up looping back onto the Endabash Road on the other side of Kudu Lodge from the main tarmac, making it incredibly easy for to now find my way.

With Teddy in her shop

Visiting Teddy’s home is always a pleasure and not just because she greets us every time with a big plate for of candy, though that is part of it, at least for me. Everything that she had been commissioned to do for the residents was now finished, so it was just a matter of trying everything on and making any alterations that were necessary. Of course, being Teddy, she did everything while we waited and perfect on the first try. Everyone had something made for themselves other than me as I have in the past and don’t wear them, and Fien for pretty much the same reason. Most of the residents, though, will wear their clothes to work at times and absolutely love Teddy’s work. I guess it’s to each his own.

Teddy happily doing alterations

We were back home a bit later than normal, but our dinners were waiting for us as usual. Tonight was a ground meat concoction with mashed potatoes and a vegetable. Something like a shepherd’s pie that is one of the favorites, especially when we mix in hot sauce, at least for some of us. Tomorrow we were planning to work a short day and going to Kitashu’s brother’s boma in the late afternoon.

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