Day 4: Tanzania Mission 2015

| Global Initiatives

Dinesh Kommareddy, RWB Secretary

Day 4:

Following a relatively late evening last night, the RWB team was up bright and early this morning eager to tackle the second half of our mission trip. We started the morning off in a section of the hospital called MOI (Muhimbili Orthopedic Institute), which is one of three interconnected hospitals within the MUHAS health system. The objective today was to find a room where we could establish a web-based connectivity between MUHAS and Albany Medical Center.

The objective is to use a type of web platform that will allow for both MUHAS and Albany Med Radiology residents to share cases and learn from one another. The hope is that by establishing this type of collaborative learning, MUHAS residents will have new opportunities to enhance their clinical knowledge by having access to resources otherwise unavailable. Additionally, Albany Med residents will have the benefit of being able learn from and consider several unique and trivial cases that can be particular to the African population.

Putting this endeavor into effect has since required a significant degree of close collaboration between RWB and the IT department at MUHAS. From what the RWB team has assessed so far, connectivity between the two hospitals is very much possible after having performed a test run the following day. In order to realize this goal, we hope to maintain a positive relationship with those responsible at MUHAS so that any technical operations can be managed after we leave. I am incredibly optimistic that this will turn out to be the case in the near future.

The rest of the morning continued with the final portion of Dr. Gill’s presentation to the MUHAS residents. As an incoming first-year medical student, I was pleased to see how committed these residents were towards learning as much content as Dr. Gill had time to teach. A career as a physician is a career of life-long learning, and I was pleased to see how committed these residents were towards pushing their limits of understanding. Many of them were squeezed together on a bench while they used their laps as a surface to jot down every word. I really hope I can carry the same willingness to learn as these residents when I someday graduate medical school. They truly are an inspiration.
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Following the presentation, a resident by the name of Dr. Rahma Hingora stood up and asked us all to stay in the room. Before we knew it, a flood of hospital personnel entered the room with a belated birthday cake for Dr. Gill! It was a very touching moment, as the whole MUHAS Radiology department came to say thanks to Brian, Laurie and Dr. Gill for their years of dedication towards improving the quality of patient care at MUHAS.
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Even as a new member of RWB, I couldn’t help but share in the pride of what it meant to have long-standing relationships with people across the globe as both colleagues and friends. To experience just a taste of what Brian, Laurie, and Dr. Gill must have been feeling at this time, certainly makes a fourteen-hour plane ride worth it any day of the week. And once you get that taste of being honored by people who trust you to bring out their potential, you develop a craving that I anticipate to last a lifetime—even more so than warm apple pie.

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Following the excitement, we were taken out to lunch by Dr. Lulu Fundikira and Dr. Rahma Hingora. They told us the restaurant we were being taken to was a surprise. Turns out the surprise was a little slice of home—ba da bum. “Authentic” New York Pizza and Fried Chicken; Rahma was chuckling as she saw the look on our faces. Of course, we walked in. In terms of exploring the city of Dar Es Salaam, we hadn’t really left our hotel unless we were traveling to MUHAS. This is due in large part with how comfortable we were at our hotel, but hey, pizza is pizza and I’m certainly a sucker for melted cheese.

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After lunch, Rahma (pictured below) drove us back to our hotel and we all had quite a spirited discussion during the drive. Rahma is one the residents that RWB has become very close with over the years. Upon meeting her for the first time, it was made very apparent that she had a very personal respect for RWB. During the drive, she spoke to Dr. Gill about what it means to both be “Taureans”. Taurus, the second astrological sign in the Zodiac, is often suggested to represent a strong-will, perseverance and tenacity.

D4 P1010470After Rahma dropped us off at our hotel, the conversation continued outside. Rahma shared with us how she has embraced her inner Taurus and how it has helped her achieve much of what she has today. She brought up stories of watching her father, and how he taught her the importance of carrying resiliency in the face of adversity. As a young girl, she says she was never afraid to fight for what she believed in and it has since led her towards a career of helping others and fighting for underrepresented patients.

We all are faced with personal struggles and negative circumstances that can devalue ambitious endeavors as farfetched. Brian, Laurie, and Dr. Gill understand this notion well, and I could see how impressed they were with the resolve of this young woman. She is destined for great things and gives me reason to believe in this young generation of residents that RWB has supported for years.

Day 4 Impressions:

Say Yes To The Dress.

I’ve been meaning to write about this impression for quite sometime. At great risk of being mistaken as a member of the paparazzi, I couldn’t help but take several pictures of some of the most brightly colored garments typical to Tanzanian women. The cloth that these garments are made out of is called ‘khanga’ and it is made from pure cotton. If you notice closely, there is a border design along the periphery of each cloth which is customary. Different types of khangas can be used for different functional purposes such as to carry children, accentuate attractive features, and even to display educational messages on the fabric. Laurie managed to get her hands on some of this fabric and was able to get it tailored into a custom dress right in Dar Es Salaam! Seeing the vibrancy and complexity of some these dresses makes me feel silly for owning two different shades of grey suits. If only pink and yellow suits were easy to find…
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