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Tanzania Mission, Day 4: Tears in the morning

Woke up early and saw an elderly woman passing by with a cane, she seemed to be crying. I shortly found out that there had been a death in the village the previous night and word had spread and that everything would be a bit subdued today as everyone prepared for the burial.

That set the tone for a sobering day.

We spend most of the morning with Dr. Elton, the resident clinician who is a dentist by training but does everything from pulling teeth to delivering babies to treating malaria, managing AIDS cases, and overseeing various forms or birth control and family planning. The morning was overwhelming—just to see it. The medicine on-hand was probably less than you have in your bathroom medicine cabinet (and this is a clinic that treats 4,000 patients from five villages). Heartbreaking doesn’t begin to describe it. When I think about more developed areas of the world spending money on frivolous medical procedures and I wanted to cry. Karissa did. All morning.

The whole thing was confounded by a gorgeous modern clinic within walking distance that had been built by the Roman Catholic Church but had no doctor and sat empty because of a political situation regarding obtaining a license. And they can't coordinate with the Lutheran clinic which promotes birth control. Ah, religion, you somehow get in the way of God and Man.

But lest you harp on organized (or in this case disorganized) religion, the Lutheran mission here offers free medical service to anyone without regard to faith and without this clinic the mortality rate in the villages would be far worse than it already is.

So if you’re a proud atheist or agnostic who thinks organized religions have caused more harm than good in the world, look around. I don’t see any atheist missions caring for the poor and dying.

The rest of the day was filled with Swahili lessons, visits to the school, meeting with Haran, the headmaster, running into a group of Italian and Polish aid-workers, visiting the Catholic orphanage, meeting with a Spanish monk, and walking back beneath power lines that could provide electricity to the village but the nearest power station is hundreds of miles away. Frustrating to look up and see electricity running from hydroelectric dams and yet no way to access it.

Dinner. Assignments and planning for tomorrow. Leesha will head to the clinic and the rest of us will head to the schools. I’ll be teaching Math. God help us all!

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Reader Comments (1)

Crying... Right now. Thanks Jamie. ; ) Miss and love you guys!
June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJess

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