*disclaimer* This was written a few days ago and now being posted!
Mambo from Arusha!
It has been two weeks into our four month long stay with Tanzania. The blog will be updated intermittently by visiting students, residents, and myself and Emily.
I think there are several varying thoughts I have had since arriving. We have rounded for two weeks now on the internal medicine service and now Emily and I will be alternating medicine and pediatrics to disperse the team.
Two years have passed since any residents or chiefs were able to come to Tanzania, due to COVID-19. Due to the connection that previous chiefs have made with Damas the internal medicine registrar, we were already acquainted with him virtually prior to our arrival which has been very helpful. Other registrars and consultants mentioning the names of previous residents and chiefs that have made lasting friendships is also nice to hear and comforting. It reminds us that we aren’t complete strangers but have a connection through others that have come before us.
I think for the past two weeks and time moving forward, having the role of an observer / learner of the culture and hospital is primary. Secondarily, developing relationships with the registrars that seem interested in working with us (namely asking us to help with educational support with interns) seems to be also a worthwhile endeavor.
A rotation that is 4-6 weeks for residents and students VS us for 4 months VS individuals like Dr Swanson (American pediatrician who has been living in TZ for the past 8 years with his family and practices NICU at affiliate hospital ALMC) who are here long term, I think grapple with similar thoughts but varying degrees of questioning of the following, I believe:
(I don’t have answers for the below, but I think hard questions with no clear answers)
1) What is the best way to foster sustainable relationships?
2) What value do we provide to the host country institutions that have welcomed us here
3) What is most meaningful for the learners from the US
4) How are relationships built between institutions and how do we re examine them periodically?
Until next time!