As the Volunteer Co-ordinator for KiCS (Kilimanjaro Community Support Project), a Leeds based NGO linked with Leeds University, I went out to Tanzania with a group of Medical Volunteers in the summer of 2014. The medical volunteers work in the Hospitals in Moshi every day as part of their 4th year medical elective. It is my job to arrange other activities for them in their free time.
Having volunteered in Tanzania since 2006, I know how important it is to get out into the interior to experience the ‘real’ Tanzania and this always appears to be the most rewarding for the volunteers. I have made many contacts and friends over the years and they are only too happy to assist in helping organise any activity our volunteers would like to experience.
The volunteers decided they would like to carry out a dispensary in the community so I contacted Frank Titus who I have known for many years. He was delighted to suggest Sanya Juu as a village with many deserving inhabitants. This year’s volunteers – Olivia, Hannah, Kayleigh, Amy and Meg – fundraised in the UK in order to carry out projects both in the Hospitals and outreach. With this funding, they bought medicines, paid Tanzanian Doctors and a nurse’s salary for the day and, of course, the transport costs of getting to Sanya Juu in order to carry out the dispensary.
They then assisted the Doctor with the tasks required. The girls also checked for head fungus on children, washed their hair and applied the relevant medication, giving each child a tube of anti-fungal cream to take away in order to complete the full treatment. We were completely shocked by how many people turned up on the day. Unfortunately, we quickly realised that we would not be able to see everyone despite sending for another Doctor.
As three of the girls were climbing Mt Kilimanjaro the following day, it was left to Olivia and Hannah to decide if they were prepared to return and see the remaining patients. Yes, yes, yes! Three days later we returned. In total, 183 patients were seen. We were able to use Arise School as our venue for the dispensary and the whole experience was a huge success.
Kisimani Kids’ Club:
The girls were also keen to enjoy some free time with children so, when I was invited to see the ‘new school’ spoken about with such passion by Frank and my fellow volunteers, Sue and Ron, I jumped at the chance to ask Frank if I could take the girls to the Saturday Kids’ Club. Goodness, what an experience! The girls were like ‘big kids’ themselves and thoroughly enjoyed playing games with the children so much so that they asked to return the following week as well!
Our volunteers are altruistic by nature and this year’s volunteers will become the UK’s 2015 new Doctors. One minute they are showing total professionalism working at the dispensary the next they are fully immersed in children’s games and thoroughly enjoying time out! This is the type of environment where you fall in love with a child. That happened to both Olivia and Hannah who now sponsor two beautiful little girls.