29 June 2009

It's that unlimited kind of sense...

[Post from last week, didn't have time to put it up until now]

I just finished watching Chris Rock’s Never Scared with Adey. It was hilarious!!

What a week :-0 ! This past Saturday (20 June) marked one month in Kilimanjaro. My time here has been action packed and there is still a lot left to do.

Class work consumed a lot of my time this past week. My group members and I reviewed a lot of literature to write the stakeholder, policy issues, and policy options sections for our case study. We are so close to being done! On Friday morning, Peter (one of my group members) and I conducted our final interview for our stakeholders. Our interview was at 10am and we left at 9:15am because we were going to take a “short cut”. I wasn’t given the best directions and we ended up walking the long way. Peter and I didn’t mind walking, it was good exercise and I learned more about the health and education systems of Tanzania.

In the health system, in descending order, there are referral hospitals (like KCMC) which have more staff, specialists and high tech equipment, regional hospitals with more staff than the district, district hospitals which serve as referral hospitals in the district, health centers which issue prescriptions, STI services, repro and child health and refer difficult cases to the district, and dispensaries which deliver basic care (prescriptions to minor cases, refer difficult ones). Two of the main problems, among many, are that the referral hospitals receive too many patients from the district (the district skips the regional hospitals because the service at the regional hospital is the same if not worse) and there aren’t enough doctors. Peter told me that the number of doctors was decreasing because they weren’t getting paid enough (only 200, 000 T-Shillings (TSh)-which equals 154 USD/month). However, now the government has increased the pay to 650,000 Tsh (500 USD). So, more people are going to med school. There are only 4 med schools in Tanzania!. Peter was amazed when I told him there were around 300 med schools in the US which made me think that I should be happy about getting into med school period.

The education system is interesting as well. Children enter the school system at age seven. First they attend primary school for seven years (Standard 1 -7). They are taught in Swahili and learn some basic greetings in English in English class. After primary school, they attend secondary school (Form 1-4) where they are taught in English and have a Swahili class. If they earn good marks then they go on to Forms 5 and 6. After Standards 5 and 6, they take exams to get into university.

So, back to the interview…
We interviewed the program officer at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), an NGO in Tanzania. EGPAF has many PMTCT and CTC (Care and Treatment center for HIV/AIDS patients) programs that serve a large number of the population. We asked our interviewee about the population served, infant feeding practices observed, methods of deterring stigma about HIV, etc. The interview went really well; we learned more about EGPAF than we could from any reading.

Too much chakula (food):
Tuesday was Adey’s 21st birthday and we couldn’t do much to celebrate since the electricity went out. It went out on Wednesday as well.
So, on Thursday, we (Jen, Ros, Adey, and I) decided to go into town to celebrate. We visited the Taj Mahal again and ate food from the grill outside. One of the employees recognized us from our first time at the Taj, and suggested we try Zanzibari pizzas (meat, veggies and an egg placed in flour which is then fried). We ordered beef shish kabobs, Zanzibari pizzas (delicious!) and Passion fruit juice (a must have; it more than satisfies your thirst). After inhaling our food, we went to Deli Chez, an Indian restaurant, for ice cream. We ordered three scoops for a total of 2,000 TSh, which is better than one scoop for 1,000TSh at the Coffee Shop (tourist hot spot in town). I had one scoop of chocolate, vanilla, and coffee ice cream. I’ve never had coffee ice cream before, but it was so good! We were spared from an electricity outage (Maybe because on Tues and Wed it was out) and took a dala home.

On Friday, my classmates and I decided to go to the rooftop of the Kindoroko to just chill and get some drinks. After ordering, we took group pictures and watched the sun set. Six of us decided to go to Deli Chez for some dinner, and the other six went home. At Deli Chez, I ordered minced curry goat with white rice. While I was eating it, I wished I hadn’t ordered minced meat because it was more like soup, but I still enjoyed it. I ordered Sprite to drink and 3 scoops of coffee ice cream with chocolate syrup for dessert. As we were eating the electricity went, but the owners of D’Chez turned the generator on so we weren’t in the dark for too long. I called Bwana Chuwa to come and pick us up because the electricity was out and it was almost 9pm.

The next day, Adey, Ros, and I met up with Tfffany (another student from Cornell) who was volunteering for Cross Cultural Solutions in Boma, TZ. We had lunch with her and one of her friends at the Coffee Shop. I ordered my favorite, a crepe with eggs, bacon, and cheese. We talked about our work and plans for the remainder of our time in Tanzania. I love the Coffee Shop because the atmosphere is so laid-back and the garden setting is great. If the couches didn’t smell like cheese, I would take a nap there (LOL) - end quote Roslyn.

In the last two days, I spent over 10thou Tsh on food alone! (I need to control that…)

At 3pm we said our goodbyes and headed to our professor’s house for our weekly meeting. At the meetings we usually talk about the happenings from the past week of class, our home stays, anything and everything. It’s also a good time for us to relax and get delicious dessert (chocolate, zucchini, and pumpkin cakes). At around 5pm we headed home. Adey went to town to meet her aunt, her aunt’s sister in law and her co-worker who were visiting from their work place in Kenya.

She returned with many bags filled with Ethiopian food (Adey is Ethiopian). There were pots of chicken, rice, beef, injera (Ethiopian/Eritrean spongy unleavened bread), and much more. She was quite overwhelmed actually; she thought her aunt was just going to bring a pot of food. Her aunt told Mama Chuwa that she didn’t have to cook for the night. So, they heated up some food and we had rice with peas, eggs and beef, all wrapped in injera. The meat stews were so spicy! The spices were a bit tough on the stomach, but the dishes were amazing. The dinner was more like a celebration for Adey’s birthday; the entire thing was recorded, and many pictures were taken. It was great! Before Adey’s aunt and crew left for the evening, they gave us scarves made in Ethiopia. That was so kind of them.

On Sunday morning, they returned to say goodbye. We hugged, kissed, and took some more pictures. After they dropped me and Adey off at the classroom, they hit the road back to Kenya. Adey and I were in the classroom from 9am to 9pm working on our case studies. The final paper and Power Point were due on Wednesday so we had a lot to do!


I am excited for the upcoming week; class ends on Wednesday and I’m going to Zanzibar for 2 days and 3 nights!

Gotta go.. tu ta o nana baadaye (see you later)!

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