Medical Mission to Tanzania
17 - 23 February 1980
17 February 1980, Sunday
After rounds I rode with Shadrach to Majombe, 5 miles west of Chimala. I "preached" and
Shadrick interpreted. The sermon and interpretation only lasted 15 minutes. We ate lunch at the
Farrars'. I slept much of the afternoon. Church at Chimala started at 5 p.m. During evening
rounds we found an ectopic pregnancy, which we took to surgery. I did most of the surgery. Dan
& I got home just before the lights went out.
18 February 1980, Monday
We changed burn dressings this morning. I saw clinic patients with Mr. Senga till 1 p.m. Dan did a
D&C at 2:30. I assisted Senga with putting on a leg cast. I wrote Jeannie a letter.
18 Feb 1980
Dear Jeannie & Angelique,
I love you & miss you both. It is strange being so far away from you that I cannot hear if
everything is all right with you two. I wrote my last letter on 14 February. But I'm not even sure
it will reach you before we get back. But it is worth writing you now even if there is only a chance
of it reaching you.
On 15 Feb, Friday, I assisted Dr. Farrar in removing a cancer of the penis. Later I did the
anesthesia & Dan assisted in removing a dead fetus. That was gross! On Saturday, 16 Feb, a
young girl died right before our eyes on morning rounds. Apparently, she had been given native
medicine. She just quit breathing & she really hadn't been that sick. After rounds we changed 3
pediatric burn dressings. That morning Dan went with Mrs. Farrar, Samantha, Esther (the head
nurse), & Shadrach (the hospital secretary) to Esther's parents' house & farm which is an hour on
the other side of Mbeya. I sewed up a laceration of the foot made by an axe injury. Afterwards I
took several pictures of the eclipse of the sun by several different means. Did you know there was
an eclipse here? It was between 80-90% eclipsed, with its peak about 11:10 a.m. Dr. Farrar ate
lunch with me at our house. When we got here, the ants had invaded our west wall (outside) &
were starting to come in the kitchen. I have never seen so many ants in my life. We got some bug
spray & discouraged them from taking over the house. I sat out in the sun from 1:30-3:30 p.m.
working on my sermon for Sunday morning. My shoulders got terribly sunburned. Dan got back
at 7:00 & we ate supper at the Farrar's after rounds.
After rounds Sunday morning, 17 Feb, I rode with Shadrach to Majombe, a village about
5 miles west of Chimala. There were about 10 people in church there. And, of course, I was the
only white man. I preached a simple lesson on the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13) &
Shadrach translated. It was quite an experience. Dan went with the Farrars to Chosi. We ate lunch
with the Farrars & slept much of the afternoon. We went to church at Chimala, near the hospital
by the way, at 5:00 pm. During evening rounds we found a patient with an ectopic pregnancy. We
had to take her to surgery right away. I did most of the surgery. I cut her open & I closed her up
after we excised the fallopian tube that was bleeding. We barely got home before the lights went
Today, Monday, 18 Feb, has been very busy, but there isn't much to say about it. We
changed the 3 pediatric burn dressings today. I hate to do that. Oh, Dan spoke in chapel this
morning with Shadrach as his interpreter. From about 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. I saw clinic patients
with Mr. Senga (who is almost the equivalent of a doctor) & Dan saw patients with Dr. Farrar. At
2:30 we did a D&C. Later I helped Senga put on a leg cast. Now it is about 5:20 & I am very
I wish you could be here to put lotion on my shoulders. I know they are going to peel like
a snake in a couple of weeks. Tomorrow we will go to Mbeya where I will mail this letter. We
will try to send a telegram tomorrow. It will go to Alisa since you got the one before. At least I
hope you got it. Please keep smiling so Angelique will continue to have such a wonderful
personality. I am enjoying myself here & learning a lot, but oh, how I long for 8 March! Please be
there waiting with a smile & with Angelique. I'm sure you will be as beautiful as you were when I
got back from Rhode Island. Jeannie, you are the most wonderful and beautiful woman that ever
lived. Please kick me the next time I am inconsiderate to you.
Well, I wonder if Angelique has any teeth yet. Is she walking yet? I miss her cute little
smile. I wish I had brought a picture of her, made just before I left. Does she still like her cereal as
much after she got to eat better tasting foods? Has she been spoiled rotten?
I probably shouldn't talk so much about how I miss you two. It probably just makes you
sad. I do hope that this time we are apart has not been too hard on you. Remember half of
Angelique is me & she is with you. I am confident that I am coming back to you healthy. I'm
really sorry I scared you so much before I came, but I really thought it was going to be uncivilized
over here. Except for the malaria, it would be okay for Angelique to be here. Perhaps, some day
you will be here with me if God wills & you think you would like to come. I miss your
encouraging words. You make life worth living. Thank you for being so sweet. May God bless
All my love always & forever,
19 February 1980, Tuesday
We went to Mbeya. Dan sent Alisa a telegram for 89/90 (US$11.24). For flour and tea we paid 26/- (US$3.25) and for
eggs, 18/- (US$2.25). I got a letter from Jeannie today!
AEROGRAMME VIA AIRMAIL PAR AVION
Sunday afternoon, 3 Feb 1980
I decided I had to communicate with you somehow and this seemed like the only logical way. Alisa told me about these mailers.
After watching your plane take off into the wild blue yonder, Alisa and Tim went back to the apartment with me. Alisa played with Angelique while I packed a few more things. Then I put Angelique down for a nap and took a load of things to Diane's. Alisa and Tim stayed with Angel and they all 3 slept while I was gone. The weather sure was funny. It was snowing and the sun was shining. It was pretty and the roads weren't bad. I came back and loaded our things in the car and they all woke up as I took the last load to the car. We ate tuna sandwiches at Ruth's at noon and rested. I was tired. About 2 p.m. we went to Henry Sim's furniture store at Breckenridge Village and didn't find anything we liked. I got the phone turned in and the pop bottles returned. Angelique and I got back to the apartment about 3:20 and Diane came over and we got the bed and mirror down. Diane took Angelique and her car seat to Evelyn's to pick up Laura while I vacuumed downstairs. I turned the keys in to the office at 4:50 p.m. I was exhausted. I went back to Diane's and called the Poe's and told them I wouldn't make it for supper. We got Angelique's bed put up around 9:00 p.m. and we both went to bed shortly thereafter and got a good nite's sleep. Next morning I called your mom and she said come on up, so I ran by the post office and got these mailers and filled out a change of address card since I didn't know if you had. Then I went to the bank and deposited your Navy check ($422 some odd) into my savings and wrote a note on the envelope about change of address since I had forgotten to call. We left Little Rock at 9:20 a.m. and got to Harrison at noon. Angelique slept the whole way. I had a car load.
We're doing fine. Angelique seems to be perturbed about something. Guess she's missing you. She kissed your picture last nite. I bought her a blanket sleeper for $3.00 since she's woke up in the middle of the night both nites we've been here. She sure is being sweet except when she gets sleepy. She sure would like to play with her Daddy. We both love you very, very much and miss you very, very much. I feel like part of me is missing and she probably feels the same. Just 33 more days left I guess. Maybe we'll make it. Sure would love to have you here, but I would hate for you to miss this trip. I guess you're in Dar Es Salaam today. Have you seen Mohammed Ali? He's supposed to be there. Glad you got to see some of New York and ride a subway. Have fun, but please be careful. No risks!
Colleen called last nite. The bond money is coming thru at less than 9 3/4 so I mailed in the other contract this morning. She's suppose to call me Monday to tell me exactly what down payment and monthly payment will be. We'll see how close she gets.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY to you. Guess you'll get this later than Feb 14, but who knows. I love you so much. Be sweet, careful and learn a lot. Check your bed for snakes. Brush your teeth. Stay healthy. Convert a lot of people and help them get well. Have fun preaching with an interpreter. Don't lose too much weight. And come back to me and Angelique!!!!! We pray for you 2 or 3 times a day. They mentioned you at church this morning, but couldn't say "Tanzania."
Love you always,
I Love You, Daddy
(Handwritten with assistance from Mamma)
19 Feb 1980
Dear Jeannie & Angelique,
Today I got the greatest blessing since I got over here. I got a letter from you today!
Thank you ever so much. It has changed my outlook on things, on everything! I didn't even think
you were going to write. You are truly a blessing to me! I have read your letter many, many
times. It is wonderful just to see your handwriting. You just don't know how I've longed for
something that reminded me directly of you from you. I realize that things
were too hectic before I left for us to think of that. But I did need something
from you. And today I got it. Thank you, honey. I got your letter today when we went to Mbeya.
It took 16 days to get here. I have written you several letters, but if it took that long for them to
get to you, then as of this date, you haven't even received the first one. Even though the news
from you comes so late, it is still comforting to know you got out of the apartment okay & got to
Harrison safely. You should be in Searcy right now. I still pray that you got there safely. If you
wrote me any letters after the 10th, then I doubt I will get them. This will be the last letter I will
mail you. Esther will take this letter to Dar on Thursday & I hope it will reach you before you
leave Searcy. Keep in mind that all the letters I have written probably won't arrive in the proper
order. I think this is the 5th letter I've written - the others were dated 5, 10, 14, & 18 Feb.
sent Alisa a telegram this morning from Mbeya at 10:30 a.m. I hope it gets there quickly & I hope
Alisa calls you as soon as she gets it. It cost us 89/90 (about $11.00). Dan hasn't heard from Alisa
yet, but at least part of your letter was about her. I'm glad she helped you with Angelique. I don't
know how you could have finished moving & watched out for Angelique at the same time without
Alisa's help. It sounds like you very efficiently took care of things. The post office should be able
to forward all our mail since they now have 3 (three!) notices of change of address.
Angelique still miss me? I will see you in 18 more days. Your letter said 33 days. But by the time
you get this there will be only a few days left. Though we are only 9 hours difference in time, we
are actually days & days apart. It is sort of a strange feeling.
Well, we didn't see Mohammed Ali.
He did stay in the same hotel that we did, but we were there the night before he was.
for praying for me. I'm sure that has made things better for me. Everything is really going well. I
really need to go to bed now. I will try to finish this letter tomorrow, but tomorrow is going to be
a very busy day. I love you both. Lala salama.
20 Feb 1980
Hi again. Indeed today was very busy. I assisted Dr. Farrar this morning with the removal
of a parotid gland tumor. It was a very difficult operation, especially with Dr. Farrar's failing
eyesight. I don't think I've written anything to you about how poorly he can see. Maybe you have
heard from Alisa about what Dan has said. His vision is affecting his whole personality and how
he treats Dan & me. He is procrastinating having his cataracts repaired. I wish I had you here to
talk it over with so I could somehow learn to put up with it all. Thank goodness I only have to be
here for 1 1/2 more weeks. Please don't try to imagine how it is. I will explain it all when I get
Jeannie, I love you. It is very difficult to be so far away from you & Angelique. Of my
time away from you, it is finally more than half over. It is hard to accept that there are so many
days remaining before I see you again. I miss you terribly! But I'm sure you also miss me. I hope
Alisa has gotten the telegram by now & you know I'm well. I pray that you two are also well. I
will never go to the mission field again unless you come with me. And I never again want to be
separated from you this long unless America is at war. Nothing but war or death shall ever
separate us again. Please don't ever forget that I need you. You are very special to me. You &
Angelique are the greatest blessings I have ever had in my life. Please don't ever leave me. Thank
you for putting up with me these past 4 1/2 years. I know it takes a special kind of person to put
up with me. Thank you for being you. I will see you soon.
All my love forever,
I love you, too!
20 February 1980, Wednesday
We started making rounds this morning at 7:30. I assisted on a parotid gland tumor removal. Mr.
Senga started vacation today, making clinic busier for us. Church was at 5 p.m. My sunburn
stopped hurting & my bronchitis got worse. We heard drums beating east of Chimala, probably
because they needed rain.
21 February 1980, Thursday
Esther left this morning early for Dar es Salaam. We finished rounds at 9 a.m. I observed with
Laiten then with Dr. Farrar in the clinic. We went to Chimala at 3:30 with Shadrach & Mrs.
Farrar. She bought kangas (wrap-around dresses) for Jeannie & Alisa. I spent 70/- (US$8.75) for 5 large & 2 small bracelets for
Jeannie. The women carry everything but their children on their heads. We never see any woman carry anything in her arms that she could carry on her head. We even saw a girl going barefooted carrying her shoes on her head. We ate supper at the Farrars' with Cheryl.
21 Feb 1980
Though I will never mail this, I am going to try to write you occasionally so when I return you can read this and find out what I've been doing better than I can tell you once I get home. I still think of you constantly. You are in my prayers several times daily. I hope all things are going well for you.
I wrote my last letter to you yesterday. Before I got up this morning, Esther Wilbolz (sp?) left for Dar Es Salaam with her parents. By now she should have mailed your letter. I hope you get it quickly. This is the 6th day since you should have heard if I passed the FLEX. I wonder if you sent a telegram and if it has taken this long to reach us. We are anxious about hearing.
Yesterday, Mr. Senga, the medical assistant, went on vacation for 2 weeks at the request of Dr. Farrar. On days that we weren't here or were tied up in surgery, Mr. Senga would see and treat all the outpatients.
Mr. Senga is Roman Catholic. There are many Lutherans working at the hospital. It is unfortunate that all the employees can't be members of the Church.
From now until we leave [for the States] we have to begin rounds at 7:30 a.m. instead of the usual 8 a.m. This is because Mr. Senga is gone.
Walking home after rounds last night (about 8:00 p.m.) we heard drums beating east of here. It was impossible for me to tell how far away. Dr. Farrar said they were beating because they need rain here. Though this is the rainy season, it has rained only about every two or three days and then not very much.
My sunburned shoulders got much better yesterday. I am starting to peel and itch. For some odd reason I have had bronchitis since I got here. I guess it is something in the air here. It is better sometimes and worse other times. Most of the time it is okay. I've never had bronchitis in my life before that I can remember. I hope I don't develop asthma.
This morning we finished rounds at 9:00 a.m. Since there was no surgery to do, we spent the morning and part of the afternoon in the clinic seeing patients.
We had fish and french fries for lunch. Zabron ran out of white sugar so he put brown sugar in the lemonade. It really tasted awful, so Dan & I picked a bunch of lemons and squeezed them to add to the pitcher later this afternoon. I think Zabron put too much sugar in the lemonade. I doubt you've ever seen coke-colored lemonade.
This afternoon Dan & I went with Shadrach, the hospital secretary (and administrator while the Smallings are gone), and Mrs. Farrar, and Samantha (who is 11) to Chimala. This was the first time we had been to the village itself. We were shopping for kangas. I finally found one that I wanted to get you, and Mrs. Farrar insisted on paying for it as a gift for you. She also bought Alisa one. Yours was 70/-. I also found the cheap bracelets that all the female patients wear. They were 80 cents each (-/80). I bought 5 large ones and 2 for Angelique. I will let you be the judge about whether she can wear them.
It is now 6 p.m. and we are due at the Farrars' for supper. I have to study for my talk in chapel tomorrow when I get home from rounds tonight so I will write you again another time. I love you.
22 February 1980, Friday
I spoke in chapel at 8 a.m. Shadrach interpreted. We went to the train station at 3 p.m. to get our
reservations. The magistrate (like a county judge) came almost begging Dr. Farrar to stay at
Chimala. Dan assisted Dr. Farrar on a hernia repair. I assisted on a tubal ligation. Tonight Dan
got a letter from Alisa dated 1 February. We went to the Farrars' for devotional. Dan & I played
dominoes. We got Cokes tonight.
23 February 1980, Saturday
Rounds began at 7:30 a.m. Dan & I rounded in the men's ward & Dr. Farrar saw the patients in
the female ward. We went to chapel at 8:00. Dan & I then saw the children in the measles ward,
then followed Dr. Farrar in the pediatrics ward. Dan sewed up a facial laceration, then I sewed up
a nose. Dan then had another facial laceration to suture. After lunch we went to the Kimani River
& later to Brandt Mission on the plains north of here. Patients were admitted by the dozen it
seemed during rounds. I sutured a laceration on the right lower leg. I wrote a letter to Jeannie.
23 Feb 1980
Hi, Honey. Yesterday was Friday. I spoke in chapel on Ephesians 1:7. Shadrach interpreted for me. After rounds, Dan assisted on a hernia repair while I took care of the anesthesia. Then I assisted on a tubal ligation.
By the way, the only anesthesia we have used since we got here is spinal anesthesia or ketamine. The ketamine is given IV or IM and the patient simply goes to sleep. There are a lot of possible complications, but fortunately none have occurred. There is an ether machine here, but I guess we won't get to use it.
Cheryl, the nurse that is here as a Baptist missionary at Mbeya, comes on Fridays and is our scrub nurse. She volunteers to come here. She gets paid nothing from this hospital.
By the time we finished all the surgery, it was time to come home and eat. Zabron had fixed us chicken and dumplings. It was good, but not as good as my grandmother's.
In the afternoon Dan and I changed the burn dressings while Dr. Farrar saw outpatients. Then we went to the train station to make reservations for 2 March. Dan and I are counting the hours until we leave.
Later in the afternoon the Magistrate for this area came by, practically begging Dr. Farrar to stay in Chimala rather than return to the U.S. next month. The people here really need a doctor. Dr. Farrar is the first doctor here since 1972.
The husband of the woman that we tied her tubes, brought the mail from Mbeya tonight. Dan got a letter from Alisa dated 1 February. (Yours was dated 3 Feb and got here before last Tuesday.) The same man also brought the Farrars a case of Cokes. Dan and I went to the Farrars' for a devotional. Then we came home and played dominoes and drank Coke.
This morning we got up at 6:50 a.m. Zabron came as usual at 7:00. I told him to scramble the eggs from now on rather than fry them because I like his scrambled eggs better. He fries eggs much too fast for my taste, though Dan likes them that way.
At 7:30 we went by the Farrars' and went to the hospital with Dr. Farrar. We split up rounds--i.e., Dan and I went to the men's ward and Dr. Farrar went to the female ward. After chapel Dan and I went to the measles ward while Dr. Farrar finished the women's ward. Then we all went to the children's ward. After that Dan & I spent most of the morning sewing up faces that got cut up last night from drunken fights. Dan sewed up the first one. I sewed up the second one--which was a lacerated nose. It was cut clear though. Dr. Farrar was seeing outpatients. We did this completely without supervision. There was not even a nurse to help us get all the equipment together. There was no way to do it sterile because we had no drapes to put around the wound while we sutured it.
Just as we finished these two patients, another lacerated face came in worse than the first two put together. He was cut to the bone lateral to the left eye and almost through to his gums between his nose and lips. Dan sewed him up.
We then spent the rest of the morning "observing" Dr. Farrar in the clinic while he saw the last half dozen patients.
For lunch, Zabron fixed beans and cornbread. The beans look like pinto beans, except they are a little larger and taste a bit different. We also had some corn beef, which I never want to eat in America.
After lunch, Dan drove the land rover and we went with Mrs. Farrar and Samantha to Kimani River, about 14 km east of here. Dan and Samantha had bathing suits but couldn't actually swim because the water was too swift. But we all enjoyed wading in it a bit. I took pictures of some butterflies. One was markedly different from anything I have ever seen.
At 4:30 we picked up Dr. Farrar and went to the Brandt Mission. It is Lutheran and 30 minutes to the north of Chimala on a bumpy dirt road. It is out on the plain.
During rounds tonight, it seemed like patients were being admitted by the dozen. There was a boy about 12 who had fallen out of a tree and had a big gash in his right lower leg. He was scared to death. There was only he, Dan, and I in the minor theatre and the boy didn't understand a word of English. As you can imagine, we had a terrible time calming him down. I sewed him up while Dan tried to settle him down. Finally, Dan showed him the pictures in his wallet to get his mind off of it all. Then Dan had the boy read out of our Swahili For Travelers phrase book. I guess the kid imagined all kinds of things, probably even wondering if we were going to cut his leg off. After I had his wound completely closed, we let him see it and he was ecstatic with joy and gratitude. He enthusiatically shook our hands and shouted, "Asante, Asante, Asante!" ("Thank you.") It was the most rewarding experience I have had in medicine since I started to medical school. I wish you could have seen his face. It made every hour I've ever studied worth it.
But even so, it hasn't taken my mind off you. You are forever in my thoughts, my dreams, my prayers. It would be so much easier to continue here another week if I could just have one kiss and a word of encouragement from you. You are indeed the dearest thing I have. Even though you won't read this till I get home and I am with you physically again, it has helped me tremendously to write to you tonight.
I am sorry that this may be difficult to read. The lights went out before I started and I have been sitting here writing with a lantern. Dan was up with me for awhile, as he was putting the finishing touches on his sermon for tomorrow. Then he took a shower and went to bed. I feel as though I am now alone with you. I so much look forward to when I can see and touch you again. It's 2:00 p.m. right now in Arkansas. I hope that you and Angelique are safe. When I go to bed in 2 weeks from now I will be holding you in my arms once again. Doesn't that sound wonderful? But now I must go to bed alone and somehow convince myself to be satisfied with only dreams of you. Jeannie, I'll love you always.