From Finland to Tanzania

A nursing adventure

The long goodbye

After more than 4 months in Tanzania, it really is time to go home. The last month has been full of mixed experiences.

I had a bit of a problem with my operating theatre practice. There weren’t operations everyday and there were similar operations most days.  The main problem was the scrubbing and circulating nursing, largely due to the language barrier. During the anaesthesia nursing, I had many good opportunities assisting and working with the anaesthetist. So it was disappointing that I didn’t get to learn as much as I was hoping for the scrubbing and circulating part.  The theatres are VERY basic compared to ones in Finland.  The only electrical equipment was a diathermy machine and suction.  The drugs and gases are the same to anaesthetize the patient and the care is the same.  It seems that most surgeries are caesareans, gynaecological operations and smaller procedures such as tonsillectomies.  Seeing as this was a small hospital with only a handful of surgeons, I think that more complicated surgeries were done in the national hospital in the city centre.

My last day at the hospital was a really tough day.  I was in the delivery room helping out and the doctor realized there was something wrong with the baby.  We all listened to the heartbeat (with the old-fashioned listening device, there is no electrical monitoring equipment) and the heartbeat was weakening.  When the baby was delivered, it had the cord around its neck, was blue and wasn’t breathing.  The midwives took the baby to be resuscitated and everyone left the room.  I stayed in the delivery room with the mother.  She was bleeding heavily and she was obviously very worried about the baby. She was asking me where is baby and if he is ok. It was difficult for me to know what to say.  I tried to reassure her that the midwives were doing everything they could.  When I went to the resuscitation room, the baby was dead.  It was quite confusing because it seemed like it took a long time for the doctor to tell her that her baby had died.  I hope I made things a bit easier for her, even though I was just holding her hand and trying to calm her.  The matron weighed and wrapped up the baby in a kanga (traditional cloth) and we both cried a little.

To add to my sadness, it came time to say goodbye to many good friends I had made over the last few months.  I have met people from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, America, UK, and of course Tanzania!

On a happy note, I spent christmas day on my favourite beach with my friends. Mahaba beach is a short piki piki ride from Bahari beach.  We spent the day sunbathing, drinking and having fun 🙂

Some of us had more ‘fun’ than others, pole sana Aleksi!

All in all, it was a fun, happy day with my Bahari Beach family 🙂