East Africa Aid Foundation

Our mission is to provide an opportunity, a helping hand, for those who have little-to-none to live by and learn with. We are a not-for-profit organization founded to assist with the collection of charitable donations from interested parties, multinational corporations, and healthcare organizations to fund educational & healthcare projects in multiple locations in the East Africa region.
Dec 25, 2013

UKUN Volunteer Diary (Week 16)

This week was really hectic as it was my final week before departing Bagamoyo for two months. I said goodbyes to all clients and passed on my duties to volunteers; old and new. Cindy, Stefanie and William started this week and for Sarelle and me it was the final week. Charles also went on a leave for two weeks. Abdullah had a bad week with his health and Captain’s family got a new kitchen built.

On Monday I visited Mr Captain with Sarelle. He reported that his son had showered him the day before as he is on his school holidays and paid a visit to him. This was great news knowing that someone from his family had got involved in his care. I asked if he was coming again this week but Mr Captain said: ‘probably not’. We cleaned his room and took him outside for a while. Afternoon was spent in CCS (Cross Cultural Solutions) meeting where we received a new volunteer Cindy from the US. She is an experienced nurse and will make a great difference to people lives here in Bagamoyo even if it will be only two weeks stay.

On Tuesday Cindy joined our team and CCS provided us a minivan with a driver to visit patients so we can orientate all our volunteers to the clients efficiently. It was great to have a big team of volunteer together; me, Cindy, Sarelle, David and Charles. We visited Mariam, Captain, Amina and Hamisi. Patients were happy to see so many volunteers! Mariam’s physiological observations were within the normal range and her skin looked fine. Volunteers were taught about her weekly visits and to purchase her mango juice weekly. William arrived Tuesday afternoon and was introduced to the program. He will be taking over a lot of my duties after this week. Charles went on his leave Tuesday afternoon and we were left to our own devices but with instructions of each of our roles for the next two weeks. David our local volunteer took over testing and counselling at the office and Godfrey will be helping with home care and assisting at the office. Me, Cindy and Sarelle will be doing home visits and orientation to William as well as getting things ready for next week when I won’t be here.   

On Wednesday Cindy was orientated to take over Mr Captain’s shower. He was happy about Cindy; he does not let many people to see his privates!  We also visited Hamisi and bought him a nice red jacket that covers his enlarged male breast so that he will not feel embarrassed to walk in public places. He was so greatful and loved the coat! We also paid visit to Hadija and her family to introduce Cindy and William. They were OK themselves as usual and happy to see more volunteers joining us.

David took Abdullah to the hospital Wednesday morning as he had a toothache. They ended up removing the tooth completely and he came back with lots of antibiotics and pain relief. They also told Davis that Abdullah needed his Hb (Hemoglobalin) checked but this could not be done at the hospital as they were missing some important equipment in the laboratory! He should go back on ARVs (Antiretrovirals) as his TB treatment is finishing soon.

On Thursday morning we took Abdullah back to the hospital again and did an orientation to Cindy and William. Abdullah forgot to take his hospital card so they could not do his CD4 or check his TB medications. We had to take him to the private hospital St. Elizabeth to have his Hb ckecked. It was only 5.3, which is very low. I asked to have it done again but they refused. All of us were very surprised as he does not appear to be that weak or tired to have that low reading. We took Abdullah back to the doctors in Bagamoyo Hospital to tell them the results. It was frustrating as the nurses were telling us to come back tomorrow as he did not have his card. I told them we did not care about the card and he needed to be seen right away because he was very sick. After a while doctor came to see him. He was told to have iron deficiency anaemia. His diet has been really good for the past few months so the doctors are suspecting it could be worms. Hookworm can cause iron deficiency. He was put on worm medication and folic acid with iron syrup and iron rich diet. Cindy said he will need a lot of Vitamin C in addition to this for the iron to absorb. We should recheck his Hb next week again. We took him back to the office to rest and explained all his new medications to him and bought a bag of oranges for C vitamin. Doctors informed us that he cannot be started on ARVs until his Hb will come up to 7 or 8. Later that day I took William to Mariam’s house to introduce him to the family

Next morning (Friday) we; I, Cindy and a new volunteer Stefanie took him back there to have his CD4 checked. Stefanie joined us from CCS and she is also an experienced nurse from the US and will be a great asset to our team! After couple of hours of waiting it was done and we will get the results sometime next week. After this we joined the other volunteers at Mr Captain’s house. Abdullah wanted to join us too. They had been building a kitchen that Chanzi had designed to family since the morning. Unfortunate thing had also happened. I had given money to one of his family members to buy materials for the kitchen and Charles said he will be joining us to build it. He never came and obviously took our money so everything had to be purchased again! However the smile in Mr Captain’s face made me to forget all of that. There were all of us there; Sarelle (saying goodbyes), David, Godfrey, Cindy, Stefanie, William, Chanzi and our local friend Omari. It had been an on-going problem to our patient to have the kitchen outside his room. All the smoke had been going inside and him being vulnerable for chest infections.  He often suffers from a bad chest. The family had not shifted the kitchen elsewhere even after several discussions with them so we thought the only way was to just come and build one ourselves. Sarelle wanted this to be done before she left so she got things moving.  The kitchen was ready before midday and looks amazing! After that we built an exercise pole on his yard and stood Mr Captain against it. His limbs are very weak but volunteers will come few days a week to do physiotherapy so he can build his strength. We are not sure if he will ever walk again but at least we are hoping that he will build up enough strength to transfer independently from bed to chair.  At last I washed his mosquito net and sheet and also said goodbyes, which was so sad. I will be returning after two months. The kitchen was a great finishing to the week and everyone left exhausted but happy.

 I did some last orientation and job lists for William. Sarelle had organised medications and other things at the office so it will be easier to access things now. Her leaving will be big loss to us but she had a great impact here on her short visit. This week I and Chanzi also made a fundraising project for ‘Every Little Helps’ by selling his handmade shoes for friends and family. This turned out to be great success. Chanzi makes beautiful shoes from leather including nice decorations from colourful beads. £5 for each pair purchased will go to our home care clients. I will be taking these pairs to Europe next month. Some of our volunteers also ordered few pairs!  We received 10 orders already this week and hope we will get some more.

 Next week William will take charge on the ‘Every Little Helps’ sponsor money and report writing. They will still have great team of volunteers and the week after Charles will be returning. I will be in regular contact with all the team and come for a short visit in few weeks time. I will miss my clients and work so much, it has been my life for 16 weeks. I cannot wait to return! 

Oct 7, 2013

UKUN Volunteer Diary (Week 6)

My sixth week at UKUN was really busy with trip to Muhimbili Hospital, painting the office and Mariam’s hospital appointment as well as Captain’s showers and laundry.

On Monday we went to Muhimbili Hospital to Dar Es Salaam with three of our clients; Hamisi, Hadija and Sulemani. Charles organized a car and also drove half of the trip! We left at 06.30am and arrived to Dar Es Salaam 09.30AM. First I was dropped at CCTRB Hospital (Eye specialist hospital in Dar Es Salaam) with Hadija and her grandmother who had come with us to escort her too.  Then Charles drove to Muhimbili Hospital with Hamisi and Sulemani.

 First half of the day in Muhimbili was spent looking for his file and once they finally found it he was only given a new appointment to come back next month! We paid a lot of money (Debbie from UK sponsored it) for the car and it took two hours there and another two hours to get back and the patient were not even seen! Now we will have to find funding again for the second trip. Another patient Sulemani went there to be seen by surgical doctors as he is suffering from haemorrhoids that have grown very large. His trip was successful as he ended up being admitted for surgery so we left him there to Muhimbili. He has some family around Dar Es Salaam who will visit him and we informed his wife that he was admitted.

I went to CCTRB with Hadija, our blind lady. They told her she will never see again and there was nothing they could do as it had gone too far. She will have to come to terms with being a blind rest of her life. It was really sad. She has already been blind few yrs due to some pressure in her head. Perhaps it could be tumour but they said it was too late and no point to do a scan for her head, her sight was irreversible. Hadija was still smiling and her happy self as always. Her grandmother seemed more upset.  She does everything in the house so I want to give her lots of support in the house. I think she is scared what will happen to the rest of the family if something happens to her. I think she can live a long life if she keeps healthy like she has done!  We arrived back in Bagamoyo after sunset and dropped all patients back to their houses (except Sulemani who was admitted).

The rest of the week Tuesday till Friday we were cleaning and painting the new office with Mathilde and Sophia. We kept painting layers of white (on the top of the old blue) but it just never seemed to be covered! It looks better though and next week we will continue our hard, messy but fun work! We had some local boys to volunteers with the painting so we bought them a beer afterwoods at the local bar next to the office to say thank you!

Wednesday I took Mariam to Bagamoyo Hospital to have her CD4 checked. We picked her up with ‘TucTuc’ and one of her daughters came with us. It was all done in two hours and we took her home. Mariam seemed little uncomfortable on the trip back and when we arrived we noticed that she had had an accident and had her bowels open in the seat. We cleaned it and she was taken to shower at home. She was given ARVs enough to last her a month and I bought he mango juice to take them with.  I need to pick up her CD4 results in few days time.

Captain had two showers this week and was happy. I started funding Abdullah’s meals from sponsor money and need tlo sort some kind of system for this. He has already put on few kilos! Next week will be busy again finishing the painting and fitting new floors to the office.

Oct 7, 2013

UKUN Volunteer Diary (Weeks 7 & 8)

This week we continued the office renovation and had it all finished by the end of the week. We also did three visits to Mr Captain, one to Mariam and started physiotherapy with Hamisi’s sister Amina. Afternoons we spent doing office work and we created Facebook page for our home-care.

After four layers of paint we were finally done with the painting and fitted plastic floors/carpets on Friday.  It had all got a bit expensive due to choosing a water paint instead of an oil paint (call us professionals!) but the result was amazing and we were so proud of ourselves with Sophie and Mathilde.  The total cost was $115 and was taken from my marathon sponsor money. Now we can start to plan the opening party!

Afternoons we did office work all week. We sorted out the files to active clients and lost follow ups. We did basic profiles of our active clients with pictures so that Tarek can put them on Global Giving website to get sponsors for us. We did Facebook page together with the girls called 'Every Little Helps', which we will share to all our family and friends. In there we have put specific costs for things we are spending for clients. My sponsor money will be soon finished so we thought to get something quickly instead of applying for grants that takes long time, which can do that once the office is running properly. We were really successful with ‘Every Little Helps’ and sponsor money is already coming in! The girls are really good photographers and the patient profiles look great.

 Mr Captain was taken to the hospital for his monthly appointment on Monday by Charles and received his ARVs. We showered him three times this week with the girls and we have a great routine now for his visits. We work great together as the ‘three musketeers’ (we like to call ourselves!) with Slophie and Mathilde. It such a nice thing to have those girls here with me, I could not have done without them, they have worked so hard. At the end of the week we discovered that Captain had developed fungus on his testicles (inspite of frequent showers!) and we gave him antifungal cream to apply several times a day and lots of gloves. He is in a lot of pain with it poor man.

I went to visit Maria Philipo on Thursday. She is the last stage of AIDS. I got really emotional because she looks so much better and was smiling a lot. When I first visited her she was in a bad stage. She hadn't been to the hospital in 15 months and was not taking ARVs. Now she has had two visits, been on medication for a month, her blood pressure is up from 80/70 to 110/90! Also all the small cuts all around her body are almost cleared. That really made my day and gave me so much motivation to carry on here. The daughters are also happy. Her CD4 is now 148. It had not been done for almost two years. She smiles now when I go there as she knows me now. I took Mathilde there with me and she took great pictures of the family to our FB page. We also bought her Mango juice to take her medication with. 

 We got introduced to Amina; Hamisi’s sister who is also HIV positive and lives in Bagamoyo town in the same household with him. She has two children who are not HIV positive and two of her other children have passed away.  She has reduced mobility now (she says this due to some malaria medication she took in the past) and has started to walk with a zimmer frame to get mobile again. She wants us to visit her for her walks few days a week to monitor her progress and motivate her! We feel that she is already really motivated and are happy to help her.

Next week I will be away in Zanzibar and the girls will take care of Mr Captain’s showers and Amina’ s visits. We also have a new local volunteer Ali, who wants to do some counselling with our clients. He has just qualified as a counsellor and he promised to do some home visits next week too while I am gone.  He will be great asset to us as he speaks fluent Kiswahili. I gave Mr Captain and Abdullah both a big bag of food and snacks before I left. It is I will be back on Monday 29.04.

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