From Finland to Tanzania

A nursing adventure

Category Archives: Activities

Extensions, safaris and Zanzibar

So, my 3 months on exchange are up. Time has gone so fast, I can’t believe it.  But, I have applied to extend my stay in Dar for another month to complete perioperative practice here. I have been to the operating theatre a few times already, and I found it interesting and I wanted to learn more about how things are done here with fewer resources and technology.  The principles are of course the same, such as preparing the patient pre-operatively, ensuring aseptic and sterile conditions, administering anaesthesia drugs and caring for the patient post-operatively.

I had to do quite a lot of organizing, extending my visa, changing my flights and applying for changes to the learning agreement with the school. But, now I will continue at the same hospital and will experience my first African Christmas!


After my 3 months of practice, I arranged to go on safari. We travelled by coach to Moshi. It was a long 10 hour trip, but it was nice to see the different countryside and landscapes. We spent 4 days on safari and started from Moshi to Maasailand, Serengeti, Ngorogoro and Lake Manyara. It was pretty amazing to see so many animals and our guide was so good we got to see the big five and so much more!


Mount Kilimanjaro




Maasai village


We also took long weekend break to Zanzibar. We spent one day in Stone Town and the rest of the ime chilling on the beach at Matemwe.Zanzibar was nice, and stonetown was interesting,but be prepared to be harassed by touts and random people wanting to sell you something, be that a tshirt, a taxi or a boat trip! But,it was a well-deserved break and now I am ready to carry on with the final month of practice in the operating theatres!

Goat races, traffic jams and car crashes – just another weekend in Dar

We went to the annual charity goat race in Dar es Salaam.  It is an annual event to raise money for various charities and health initiatives in the region.  It was my first time at a goat race and it was a very fun weekend.  I even won a bet on a race 🙂


The aim is for goats to race around a track with ‘jockeys’ pushing them with a large stick.  They sometimes get confused and run into the sides or just stop, but it’s entertaining 🙂


On your marks, get set….

On the way home, the traffic,like all days, was really bad.  It took us 3 hours to get home on the bus.  Everywhere you go there are traffic jams.  It is important to leave places in good time, especially to the airport, for example.  Our traffic jam on the way home from the goat race was the worst so far.  It was so bad that people just left our bus and walked back in the dark.  It seemed like everyone else in all the other tuktuks and dala dalas just left and started walking.  It was quite scary to be left in a small group with an angry bus driver, but we got back eventually and carried on partying 🙂


Practical training starts

I started my practical training at Massana Hospital .  It is about 20 minutes travel from our accomodation in Bahari beach.  My first day there was quite a shock.  Even though it is a private hospital, by Finnish standards it is quite dirty and has basic equipment.  But, as with most things, it just seems to work.

I realized straight away that the nursing is quite different to what I have experienced before.  I think this is because the family members do so much of the basic care of the patients including dressing and feeding the patient and being with them most of the day.

I met my mentor Dennis and two other AIT volunteers there.  We started with night nurse’s shift report about patients who were already there.  We were mostly in the emergency room and day clinic and today was a comparably busy day.  There were patients from young to old, with diseases ranging from malaria to sickle cell anaemia, along with age related disorders such as hypertension and stroke to young children with severe burns.  It was quite a shock to get such a wide diversity of patients, but it was interesting to see how the nurses dealt with each case.  We also spent the day in the ‘dressing’ room where patients with wounds come for post-surgical dressing changes, stitch removal and other small procedures. We also went to the labour ward and looked round the neonatal unit and looked after a premature baby born at 30 weeks

After a hard day’s work we went to Kunduchi Beach, about 20 minutes tuktuk ride away