This week was a sad and busy week for me, the girls and our patients. We visited all clients and girls said goodbyes. We also did another trip to Muhimbili Hospital.
Monday and Thursday was spent with Mr Captain with showers and laundry. He also got a new mattress; bigger one and better quality. On Thursday we went to visit Amina and Hamisi Tanga first and girls said goodbyes. After that it was Mr Captain’s turn. After showering him we took him for a walk in his wheelchair. We went with him to visit Hadija and her family who live nearby and girls said goodbyes there. Mr Captain was happy to see Hadija. Then we took him for a goodbye lunch in a local restaurant. He was very happy but had no appetite to eat much. Girls found it hard to say goodbyes and promised to come back before the end of the year.
Girls spent a lot of time this week with Abdullah. They have created such a special friendship with him now and I am sure Abdullah will also miss them so much. On Wednesday we went to join Abdullah to a HIV children’s group BaoBao, which is run by great local volunteers George and Bernard and they often get other foreign volunteers to work with them. Most of the children were much younger than Abdullah who is 17 years of age and he was not joining in fully. This could have just been due to nerves as the both leaders said. We played ball games and had snacks with them after. This group meets every Wednesday afternoon for few hours and Saturdays for the full day 9am till 5pm. They have activities like games, exercises, life skills, counselling and days at the beach or swimming pool. On Saturday we went with him and the group to swimming pool in a nice hotel and spent the whole day there. Abdullah does not know how to swim and he had so many teachers there. He really enjoyed this day and all the children got ‘chips mayai’ (chips- omelette) to eat and were so happy!
On Wednesday there was a meeting here at UKUN with local home- care volunteers, which Charles attended. We had organized them to come here with their supervisor. They are not active anymore and most are lacking motivation and supplies. I wanted to take some of the burden away and work together with them. Charles asked for their ‘bed-ridden’ patients but they said all the patients need to be reassessed for their needs before they can give us information. They promised to come back on Friday for another meeting having to have reassessed the patients, however they cancelled it. I will go next week to the hospital to find the supervisor again, mama Kizunga.
On Friday I and Sophie took Sulemani back to Muhimbili Hospital in Dar Es Salaam to get his biopsy results. Last week they told us they were not ready and asked to come on this day. We left again early at 6.30am with the same driver Ally as last time. Unfortunately we received the same news again that the results were still not ready! I got little angry with the doctors as we had come from really far twice and spent a lot of time and money for the car. One of the doctors then organized to get the results that had to come from a different hospital in Dar. We waited about an hour and then they told me Sulemani has carcinoma (cancer) in situ in his bottom. I was told not to tell the patient yet but come back next week to admit him to the hospital. He will need a surgery or maybe radiotherapy. This was really sad news but at least it was now found and we could start treating it. Doctors think it can be detected early and he will be fine. I have to call back on Monday to get the date to go there.
On Sunday we had a leaving meal with Charles and Abdullah and the girls in town. We followed this with ice cream bar for deserts! I hope Mathilde and Sophie will be back soon, it will be extremely difficult to find as wonderful hard- working volunteers as they are!
Next week I will have things to sort out in home visits and I won’t have volunteers with me. There is also another trip to Muhimbili and meetings with Hannah to look at UKUN’s future plans, structure and funding options.