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November 2010

Hakuna Matata!   (published in Tanzania)

November 25, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Hi my name is Kathryn Kirk; I am the Program Adviser for Projects Abroad in the Australian and New Zealand office. I recently had the privilege visiting our placements in Tanzania alongside my colleagues Laurens from the Dutch office, and Mikkel from our office in Denmark. Visiting the placements enables us to inform prospective volunteers more accurately and to provide them with a firsthand account of what it is like in country.  Before I jump into things, I would like to say that every part about Tanzania completely exceeded my expectations. To sum it up in one sentence – happy volunteers, worthwhile placements and dedicated, friendly staff means there are no worries or “Hakuna Matata” as they would say in Tanzania!


A majority of our time was spent visiting hospitals and clinics and chatting to the doctors. They were all extremely positive and happy with the work our medical, nursing and physiotherapy volunteers were doing -whether that was assisting in surgeries or helping out on ward rounds.  Most of the volunteers were moving through departments such as surgery, emergency, paediatrics, family planning among others, and learning about common diseases like malaria, pneumonia, polio, club foot, typhoid, tuberculosis, and gastro related problems.


 Some of the hospitals run their own outreach programs where they deliver healthcare and provide vaccinations to people in rural areas. Our volunteers were also getting involved in this, and many also helping with HIV testing and the long term support offered to those who’ve tested positive. It was evident that the hospitals and clinics were under resourced and under staffed, one hospital saying they only had 15 nurses, and needed 40!  The maternity wards were particularly interesting because, unlike here in Australia, using anaesthetic is uncommon and after only 4 hours from giving birth, if everything goes smoothly, the mothers are asked to go home to make room for more deliveries. One mother was kind enough to let us see her new born baby!


We were also lucky enough to head out to the site of the 2011 Water Project. The conditions were extremely dry, and currently the local Masai are sourcing water from a trough which they have to share with their cattle. The water has dangerously high levels of fluoride in it, causing many of the villagers to get tooth decay and long term bone problems. Volunteers here will help to ensure that the local community has a self-sufficient water source by drilling a borehole to access clean, and more reliable water, installing new guttering on the buildings, and providing extra water storage in the form of polyethylene Afritanks. The number of people that this project will have a direct positive impact in was really exciting and inspiring!


The care and teaching placements were also extremely worthwhile and the volunteers were getting involved in a big variety of activities. We even have volunteers working in an orphanage set up by a couple from Australia!


Another thing that makes Tanzania so special is that it is surrounded by some of the world’s most spectacular and unique wildlife and landscape. Arusha is nestled under the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, and on a clear day you can see the top of both of them. A few hours drive and you are standing on the rim of the worlds largest crater – Ngorongoro, or stepping onto the vast plains of Serengeti National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Having previously visited them, I spent a week relaxing on the shores of beautiful Zanzibar – a definite must for anyone thinking of going to this amazing country.

You can find more photos on the Projects Abroad Australia & New Zealand Facebook page:!/group.php?gid=28361532850

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Hakuna Matata!
Hakuna Matata!