First week completed!

More meetings – June 9, 2023
I “only” had three meetings today, but my head is spinning with information, locations, names, conditions I need to do some reading up on (albinism), the impending and complex residency permit process – now I’m just writing all of my thoughts and plans for next week down as well as straightening out all the information I have on all the projects from all I’ve met this week. Today’s meetings were with Villages of Hope (where I sorted out his spine, as you do), TAHEA (about an exciting new idea about a preventative community health clinic) and Steve who runs his own charity for orphans and widows. Brian, the head of my NGO, has gone home this morning, and my most extraordinary tour guide of Mwanza, Sarah, will leave me to my fate on Tuesday, so I gotta squeeze her good for all stories and names and facts! Such as: What should I reasonably pay for a medium-sized maparachichi?? Where’s the best chipsi mayai?

Sarah and I did have the most exciting food-related experience today: I had previously connected with a Mwanza-based Indian chef on Facebook and after some trouble we hunted her down, organised 2 large curries and 6 naan each, even though she only does food to order. We also got a bit of her life story, which I won’t share here but it was … rough. She’s putting her son through college in Winnipeg of all places, at U of Manitoba! I have already declared that I will buy her food so often the next 3 years that she will tire of me – to which she said, Impossible!! (headshake included) Also, I totally have plans to partake in her cooking classes. There’s a large Indian community here so great food is coming my way!

Daladala and fabric shopping – June 10
We went on a very local bus situation (Daladala, set price for a ride, get to know thy neighbour = packed, but they don’t go very fast, so mostly safe and very cheap) to a second-hand clothes market in Igogo – didn’t find anything to our liking. Back in the city, Sarah has been a great guide to all the nooks and crannies, I now can find the best hidden secret of where to get the best chipsi mayai (I will not share here, you will have to come visit me). We also went to the area that sells fabrics and with some guidance (on origin and quality of the fabric as well as colour choice!) I bought 2 sets of fabric to have the fundi (tailor) make into a set of pants, a jumpsuit, a fun clinic jacket and maybe even some tote bags! We left one with the fundi and I’ll pick up my pants Monday 😊

Sunday a day of rest – June 11
Met with a retired American chiropractor through the director of Villages of Hope, we chatted for an hour and exchanged numbers. Even though he’s been here for 5 years, he wasn’t sure if practicing chiropractic is illegal (= the authorities will find you, fine you and throw you out) or simply unregulated (= they don’t know what you are doing, so whatever). I’m hoping to find out for him in my upcoming conversations with Dr. Kahema.
Sarah took me out to a beach place she used to manage called Tunza (now Kwatunza). Swimming in Lake Victoria is discouraged unless you want to be crocodile food or get infected:

So I took a pass at swimming and just enjoyed the company, conversation and sunset (that’s the picture).

Up and at… someone else – June 12
Met with Steve, whose sister is a manager type person at the Bugando Medical Center, biggest in the region. We had chai first before hiking up the hill, about an hour’s walk. Every available pikipiki driver always signals me if I need a lift, but I’m crazy – I like to walk and orient myself and learn landmarks etc. Steve and I passed an area that makes coffins by the road side close to the hospital; I said, I sure hope we won’t be shopping here anytime soon! He had a giggle about that. And then I saw the most weird thing being transported on a pikipiki so far: Yes, a coffin! Up the hill he went, coffin perpendicular to his motorcycle!

At the Bugando, there was some confusion of what I came to do there, they clearly thought I wanted to be a student (for which they get money) so we left the front desk and simply did a tour with Steve’s very pregnant sister. They have a back log of histology samples of up to 10 days at times – not because of lack of people to assess them but the histology prep techs are few. After chatting about my intentions, we figured I’d write a letter explaining what I was offering and she’ll make sure the heads of the orthopedic and physiotherapy departments get it, and hopefully we can sit down and have a chat soon.

Feeling a little hot and somewhat deflated, we started our journey back down the hill. I spotted a Children’s Hospital who also had something about Texas in their sign on the road. I figured: Americans. They would know what I do. So I pulled “a Sarah” (just walk in and hope for the best), got signed in to their visitor’s book, met a head receptionist, waited for the head of pediatrics – and she got it, she got me. She was excited to hear a chiropractor was in town, she was keen to have me come in once a week and help them do triage and treatment, as well as recruit clinical officers and nurses for the Clinical Kinesiology program designed by Global Peace Network. She’s meeting with her counterpart at Bugando Wednesday, so asked me to write a letter explained the situation and she’ll pitch it with Bugando!

Final meal with Sarah, Mama Tina, Steve (of course, Chipsi Mayai for me) and one of Sarah’s kids, a final guided tour to the local fruit and veg sokoni (market) where a normal sized pineapple set me back a whopping 40 eurocent.

Every single day works out differently than planned and/or hoped for, and still good things fall into place. It still feels a tad wild that I was at a concert in Utrecht two weeks ago to the minute, and now I am getting used to the roosters making a ruckus, the moslim praying business very early in the morning and sweating all the time.


2 comments on “First week completed!

  1. Wat fijn om te lezen hoe het met je gaat. Wens je heel veel succes en geniet ervan.
    Groetjes Claudia Bakkum

  2. Het klinkt allemaal heel spannend en echt iets voor jou. Ik blijf je volgen!
    Gr. Cynthia R.

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