Medical Mission to Tanzania
24 February - 1 March 1980

24 February 1980, Sunday

We made rounds at 7:45. Dan & I went to the male ward and the measles ward. I went with Dr. Farrar, Simon (the hospital interpreter), & Michael (the pharmacist) to Majombe where Dr. Farrar preached. Dan took Mrs. Farrar, Samantha, & Lazima to Igurusi where Dan preached. We ate lunch at the Farrars. I spent most of the afternoon collecting data on Chimala Mission. I invited Simon, a very intelligent Roman Catholic, to come to the house this afternoon to study the Bible, but he never showed up. We attended church on the compound at 5:00 p.m. We ate beans & cornbread for supper. Rounds took 2 hours this evening. We had to bring a woman from the road to the hospital in a wheelchair.

25 February 1980, Monday

The hospital ran out of type & cross factor. I did an I&D of an abscess of the right buttock. I spent over 2 hours of the morning helping Dan do a cut down. This afternoon I sewed up a laceration over the left eye. And right after it, I sewed up a left ear that had a horizontal laceration. Dan changed burn dressings. We saw a child who had been having seizures for 2-3 days. After a blood transfusion from Dan (who is O negative, the universal donor), the child improved. Surprising to us was how ungrateful the mother appeared. (So many people around Chimala seemed disheartened about life.) Someone brought me a letter from Jeannie.

8 Feb 1980, Fri Nite

Dearest Michael,
      Well, this 1st week has gone by relatively fast. Angelique keeps me busy. In 29 days you'll be in my arms again! I can hardly wait. It seems like just the other night when I wrote the first one of these. I guess it has just been 6 days. (Your Daddy is talking in his sleep again. Hope he doesn't wake Angelique.) She has woke up every night 3 or 4 times since we've been here. I let her cry herself back to sleep, then go check her covers. Your parents have to get up in the middle of the night and put more wood on the fire. That usually wakes her and me both up.
      It snowed last night 6 or 7 inches. More is expected Monday. I wish Angelique could play in it, but I guess we can wait till next year or the next. I hope I can get out of here next Saturday. I won't go if it's slick. What's the weather like there? Is it raining a lot?
      Are you being a good Doctor? Are you having trouble with the language at all?
      We got the car inspected and assessed and all. It will be mailed tomorrow along with the AP&L bill for $8.97. I've just filled the car up once since you left, so I've still got plenty of money. Gas is $1.17 here in Harrison! I'll fill it up again before I go to Searcy.
      I've looked at a couple of furniture stores here in Harrison just so I can get an idea of what I want in a couch and bedroom suite whenever we can afford it. I've found a couple close to what I want. Now, I won't waste a lot of your time later by dragging you through a lot of stores and trying to decide what I like and don't like. Of course, your opinion will be heard and weighed also. I don't know if we'll make it to Fort Smith before I leave for Searcy because of the weather. Your Daddy thinks we ought to order it from here, let him haul it up there and save the trip and gas to Fort Smith. But, I'd hate to move appliances if it's not necessary. I told him if he'd guarantee their condition upon arrival, I'd do that. Maybe I can get Mother and Daddy to go with me one Saturday and go on up to see Rex, Barbara, and Allan.
      I think Angelique has grown this week. She sure gets around anywhere she wants fast! She has to be watched constantly. She's learning how to get down from standing, by using her hands or bottom to fall on. She spends a lot of time practicing it and going from one piece of furniture to one close by. She makes a funny face when I feed her pears. She'll only eat half a jar at a time at 10:00 a.m. She'll have changed a lot by the time you get back. She's really enjoying your mother's attention. She laughs at Buttons and Kitty Cat. It brings tears to my eyes to hear her really laugh. I wish you were here to share it, but I know you're doing the Lord's work. We pray for you every day. I love you with all I have within me. I hope you can still feel it half way around the world. I don't like being single and on my own. Come home and be my husband again. I want and need you. Angelique loves you, too. You're a special man. God's loves you for doing His work.
      I got the Valentine Monday. I got your telegram Wednesday. Thanks.

      25 Feb 1980, Monday

      Dearest Jeannie,
            Today I got a letter from you. For some reason it came to Chimala. I was quite surprised. (Now I won't get one when we go to Mbeya tomorrow.)
            Yesterday was Sunday. I went with Dr. Farrar, Simon (the hospital interpreter who is Catholic), and Michael (the hospital pharmacist) to Majombe where I preached last week. Dr. Farrar preached yesterday in Swahili. Actually, he read the sermon since Swahili is so easy to pronounce. Dan preached at Igurusi with Shadrach translating for him. Mrs. Farrah and Samantha went with them, also Lazima, the x-ray tech and O.R. supervisor.
            We ate lunch at the Farrars'. I invited Simon to come study the Bible with me yesterday afternoon, but he never showed up. I spent most of the afternoon collecting history and other data on Chimala Mission. Dan & I figured how much more money we needed to change into Tanzanian shillings when we go to Mbeya so we will have enough to get out of the country. We went to church at 5:00 p.m. Then we had beans and cornbread (leftovers, of course) for supper.
            It took us two hours to make rounds last night. Just as we finished, Dan and I had to take a wheelchair to the highway, about 50 yards, to get a sick woman.
            Today is Monday. We are leaving Chimala in less than 1 week. Dan and I are both getting excited about going home.
            After rounds this morning I did an incision and drainage (i.e., "I & D") of an abscess in the right buttock of a 2-year-old. Then I spent over 2 hours helping Dan try to get an IV going by doing a cut-down. We did get it going and came home for lunch.
            Zabron cooked a chicken. It tasted great, but I'm not sure how he fixed it. Maybe marinated it. We also had small potatoes that were left whole and apparently fried, but they were cooked completely through. We had raw carrots and slaw, too.
            In the past week we have had at least 20 patients that have been beaten. About half of them had to be sewn up. I don't know why all of a sudden there's so much violence going on in the neighboring villages. This afternoon I sewed up a laceration over the left eye about 3 inches long. And immediately after it, I had to sew up an ear that was split clear through midway horizontally. Both cases had been in fights. Every patient we have sutured has acted guilty and embarrassed. We certainly are getting a lot of experience in repairing facial lacerations.
            Dan was changing the burn patients. There are only 2 now. We discharged one this morning.
            The lab ran out of type and cross factor today so Dan gave 250cc blood this afternoon for the baby we did the cut-down on this morning. Dan's O negative blood makes him a universal donor.
            Just as I finished sewing up that last laceration, someone brought me a letter from you. It came just in time to seem like a reward. The first chance I got after that to be alone, I sat down and read your letter through twice. Thank you again for writing. You are super special to me. You wrote the letter on Friday, 8 February [17 days ago]. I will see you in just 12 more days. It is wonderful to get news from you, even though it's over 2 weeks old. I'm glad the first week went by quickly for you. I hope each week is going quickly for you.
            You asked about the language -- Well, I can communicate with most of the patients if they will give me the answers that I can understand. But my vocabulary is mostly limited to medical things. I can recognize all the numbers now when they are called for singing or whatever. Most of the time I can find a scripture that they mention in sermons. It is easy to sing here because the language is easy to pronounce.
            The Swahili songbooks have words but no music in them. Many of the translated songs are sung to a different tune than at home. I am planning on taking one of the songbooks home for you.
            I am with you; I think it's crazy for us to buy the appliances in Harrison, then let my father haul them to Fort Smith. I hope you made a wise decision regarding the matter.
            I can't believe Angelique is learning to sit down so soon. I guess she'll be walking when I get home. She will be 7 months and 1 week old next time I see her. Sounds like 1/2 jar of pears is good. I wouldn't expect her to eat a whole jar at her age. I suspect she will cry for you when I hold her after I first get back. I hope I am mentally prepared for that. You are certainly doing the right thing in letting Angelique cry herself to sleep when she would wake up in the middle of the night.
            It sure is wonderful to get a letter from you. I still pray that all is going well with you. I'm sure we will have a lot of talking to do when I get back. I guess we will have to get to know each other again. I'm sorry I can't be there with you now to help make decisions. There aren't many decisions to make around here except at the hospital.
            We are learning so much. I wish you were here when I get home every day so I could tell you all I've learned. I need you after a hard day to help me relax. All my kisses are being reserved for you. I can't wait to relieve myself of them. There are many beautiful flowers here, but not one as beautiful as you. I sure miss your smile. I guess I miss your voice most of all. You have the most beautiful voice of anyone I know. I want the days to pass quickly till I can hear and see you again. My heart belongs to you and to you only and it will forever. There are a lot of wonderful memories about you. I'm sure there are even better things to happen in the future.
            Nikupenda -- that means, "I love you" in Swahili.

26 February 1980, Tuesday

We went to Mbeya. Dan got 2 letters from Alisa, one telling him that he passed the FLEX (licensing exam). We went to the bank where Dan & I changed $80 into shillings. I got 648/45. He got 650/. We bought beef for 24/- (US$3) per kilo. We paid Dr. Farrar 456/ (US$57) for our first train ticket. I bought a pumice stone for 2/- (US$0.25). It came from Tukuyu near Mt. Rungwe which last erupted about 50 years ago (if I understood correctly). We bought 1 dozen eggs for 18/- (US$2.25). We also got flour, cooking oil, fish, beef, & chicken today. We got sugar for free because Dr. Farrar made a "house call" in Mbeya. We got back to Chimala at 2:15 p.m. I spent only about 30 minutes this afternoon at the hospital. I played dominoes with Dan for over an hour. We ate supper with the Farrars. After rounds Dr. Farrar signed our medical school grade sheets giving us "honor passing." We then played Parchesi.

27 February 1980, Wednesday

One of our measles patients died last night. We thought he was doing better. I almost did a C-section at 9 a.m., but the baby delivered vaginally. Dan then assisted on a hernia repair while I provided anesthesia. I later saw 20-25 outpatients with Laiten. It rained today for the first time in about a week. This was the gloomiest day since we came. This afternoon the baby who received blood from Dan's transfusion began having Cheyne-Stokes respirations. It died while we were doing a spinal tap. It appeared that pure blood came from the tap. We went to church at 5 p.m. Dan & I made rounds almost by ourselves tonight.

      27 Feb 1980

      To my Jeannie,
            When we went to Mbeya, Dan got 2 letters from Alisa. One of them told him that he passed the FLEX. But I still have no idea. It is a bit depressing that I can't know how I did. I really wanted to find out before I get home. That way, if I failed, I will be over it when I see you. I keep wondering if you sent a telegram like you were supposed to. After hearing Alisa's letter, I am doubtful if you have even found out yourself if I have passed. I assume the letter wasn't first class and wasn't forwarded to you. So it is probably in the mailbox at the apartment right now unless you had Diane or Alisa go by and check. I keep hoping you figured that out. Even if you have sent a telegram, there is a chance that it won't reach me before I leave.
            I learned that you were up at Fort Smith buying a refrigerator on 12 Feb. I hope you got it without too much trouble.
            It sure is terrible that every house Dan and Alisa tries to get goes to someone else.
            Last night Dr. Farrar filled out our grade sheets. I couldn't believe it, but he have us "passing with honors."
            I would write more but all I can think about is the FLEX score. Maybe I can write some more tonight.

            Hi, again. It is 9:00 p.m. We just finished rounds. Dan and I did almost all of it by ourselves. We are getting pretty good at treating the patients here; just in time for us to go home.
            Yesterday in Mbeya we each exchanged $80 more. We got about 650/- a piece. It wasn't until yesterday that we paid Dr. Farrar back the 456/- for our train ticket to get here.
            We had a good shopping trip to Mbeya yesterday. We were able to find everything except milk and butter. We even got some hard-to-get sugar from the people who run a candy factory because Dr. Farrar made a "house call." A dozen eggs cost 18/- (that's $2.50). We got back to Chimala by 2:15 p.m. We usually got back between 4 and 5 p.m.
            We only spent about 30 minutes yesterday afternoon at the hospital so Dan and I played dominoes for over an hour. We ate supper at the Farrars'.
            One of our measles cases died during the night. We had thought he was doing better.
            I almost got to do a C-section this morning at 9 a.m., but the baby delivered vaginally. Dan assisted on a hernia repair while I took care of anesthesia. Later I saw between 20-25 patients with the nurse in clinic. I made most of the decisions about treatment.
            As far as the weather is concerned, this morning was the gloomiest day since we came. It rained today for the first time in about a week.
            This afternoon the baby that Dan gave his blood to started having Cheyne-Stokes respirations. It died while we were doing a spinal tap. It appeared to Dan and me that we got back pure blood from the spinal canal, but Dr. Farrar tried to tell us that we were in a vein, but we think we know better.
            We had church at 5:00 p.m. tonight at Chimala Kanisa la Kristo.
            While we made rounds tonight, Dr. Farrar was working on a kid with a broken arm. The boy had a cast put on in the government hospital in Mbeya, but Dr. Farrar said it obviously needed a pin, so he sent them to Moshi, up near Mt. Kilimanjaro, clear across the country (about 500 miles).
            For lunch today we had fish and french fries and cole slaw and lemonade and corn on the cob. Zabron had made some cookies, too. We warmed up the leftover fish and fries for supper. And we ate the rest of the cole slaw and some carrot sticks from a couple of days ago. We had pancakes without butter for breakfast. I thought you might like to know that I'm getting good food to eat while I'm here.
            In just 10 more days, I'll hold you again. I can hardly wait. I think about you constantly and think about Angelique, too, almost all the time. I love you so very much. I miss you terribly. Until next time ...

28 February 1980, Thursday

I assisted on a laparotomy for pseudocystic ovaries secondary to pelvic inflammatory disease. Then Dan did a D&C. Then I did a D&C on a patient who had been 3-4 months pregnant. We went to the train station and bought a train ticket for 456/- (US$57). I changed 2 burn dressings; they were much improved. The clinic was slow this afternoon. We started packing to go home.

29 February 1980, Friday

I spoke in chapel. We did more skin grafting to the burned face. I saw clinic patients with Laiten, then reduced a Colles' fracture (at the wrist). We paid Zabron 300/- (US$37.50). I bought 2 woven hot pads for 10/- (US$1.25) from the basketmaker. I put on a boot cast and assisted Dan in putting on an arm cast. We saw a few patients in the clinic this afternoon. Many things were difficult at the hospital. We were helpless to prevent the deaths of about 2 children every week from measles, something from which well-nourished kids in the U.S. almost always recover. By splitting up, rounds took Dan & me 20 minutes this evening. We ate supper at Esther's.

      29 Feb 1980

      Dearest Jeannie,
            Only 2 more days here. I can't believe it! I will see you in a week from tomorrow.
            Yesterday, Thursday, 28 February, I assisted on a laporotomy. We found pseudocystic ovaries secondary to pelvic inflammatory disease. Then Dan did a D&C. Then I did a D&C. My patient was 3-4 months pregnant. I suppose we killed the fetus, but she had been bleeding several days and had an inevitable abortion (miscarriage).
            Dan and I then went to the train station and paid 456/- for our tickets to Dar. We changed the two burn cases after lunch; they were much improved. Clinic was very slow yesterday afternoon probably because it was pouring. After we got home we both started packing to go home. It sure was fun!
            Today, Friday, we got up at 6:50 a.m. Zabron came at 7:00 a.m. We had scrambled eggs and homemade bread (it all is) with honey. Dan happened to ask Zabron how he was and he told us he was very sick with malaria. First we told him to go to the clinic at 9:00, but I counted my Chloroquine and decided we would just treat him ourselves. I gave him 2 to take today, then 1 daily for 4 days. That should cure him. By lunch he said he felt better.
            At 7:30 we started making rounds. Dan and I went to the male ward and Dr. Farrar started in the female ward. We discharged several and had time to see the measles ward before chapel at 8:00 a.m. In chapel we always start with a song, then a prayer. Then I spoke on being thankful, and Shadrach translated for me. I used Luke 17:11-19 as a text. I spoke 10-15 minutes. Then we had another song and a prayer.
            We went to the children's ward after chapel, where I noticed my zipper was broke. We planned on doing a hernia repair on a 3-4 year old but he got sick yesterday and is jaundiced. So we canceled that. Starting about 9 a.m. we did more skin grafting to the baby with the burned face. After that I saw clinic patients with the nurse. One man fell out of a tree and broke his distal radius (a Colles' fracture). I got to reduce it myself. It really felt neat when the arm bone popped back into place. That was the first time I had done that.
            Then we came home for lunch about 12. Zabron had fixed corn on the cob, cole slaw, french fries, and some sort of tuna patty that he fried. I then sat out in the sun for about 45 minutes.
            We went to Dr. Farrar's at 2 p.m. and went with him to the hospital. There I put on a boot cast and later assisted Dan in putting on an arm cast. There were less than a dozen patients in the clinic this afternoon. It seems there have been fewer and fewer patients every day since Mr. Senga left. I'm afraid too many patients know that Dr. Farrar is about blind.
            We finished about 4 p.m. and came home where I shaved and took a shower. The water wasn't as hot as it usually is. One of the workers probably let the fire go out under the water heater.
            We are supposed to eat with the Farrars tonight at Esther Wildbolz's at 6:00. Then we will probably make rounds at 7:30 p.m. together with Dr. Farrar for about an hour. This was payday around here, since it is the last day of the month. Dan and I are afraid too many will go out, drink pombe (sort of like beer), and get into fights, then keep us busy sewing them up. I hope not, even though I like the experience.
            Tomorrow we are planning on going to Kutulu on the other side of Mbeya, so we will get to check the mail. I hope there will be something from you.
            Dan is counting the minutes till we leave. I am getting more and more excited about leaving, because then I will be on my way back to see you. It sure has been a long time since I last saw you. I wonder occasionally if Angelique has a tooth yet. Or if she can walk yet. Or maybe she is saying "mama" already. I wish I could see your face and share your joy when Angelique does something new or does something better. You are truly the BEST mother I know. Also you are the best wife. You are more than I ever dreamed for. God blessed me beyond measure when He let me meet and marry you. I have been blessed every day I was with you. And I am blessed when I am away from you because of your prayers. Here I really cherish every special moment we ever shared. How I dream for more wonderful times with you. Thank you for always being so kind. It has really helped me be a better person. I honestly love you!

Michael & Dan teaching in Chapel

Michael speaks in chapel Dan speaks in Chapel
click on a photo for a larger image

1 March 1980, Saturday

Dan spoke in chapel this morning. He sewed up a lip. We left Chimala at 9:40 a.m. We picked up Cheryl & Esther at 10:40 in Mbeya. We then drove up the mountains to Kitulo at 12:30. It was a foggy & rainy day. It was so cold there (at about 9,000 feet elevation) that we had to wear our coats. I drove the land rover from Mbeya to Chimala from 5:40 to 6:40 p.m. I got no mail today. Supper was at the Farrars'. We had a devotional at the Farrars' then went home to pack and went to bed excited.

more photos

next page

previous page | table of contents | next page