How Can I Describe It?

By Steven L

  • My Experience
  • Photos

I was incredibly fortunate to be awarded with one of Travelocity's grants, and used it to explore the healthcare system of Tanzania. Many thanks to Alison and Suzanne at Travelocity for making all this possible!

It would be easy to dive into a sea of statistics detailing the health-related deficiencies in Tanzania. Before I left, that was all I knew. Having seen several hospitals with my own eyes, I can say that healthcare in Tanzania (at least in the major cities and towns) is much better than I had expected. Specifically, I rotated in obstetrics, medicine, and pediatrics. To be sure, there is a lack of resources (some infrastructure, much funding), but the staff are well trained and highly skilled - in fact, so skilled that my role as a volunteer was limited. They are well aware of the deficiencies and face them with a brave courage which I can only describe as a combination of calm acceptance and optimism.

Cross Cultural Solutions helps expose volunteers to this local culture - along with volunteer placements, they organize cultural excursions. The people of Moshi, Tanzania are incredibly friendly, and children and adults alike often waved hello to us around town. Strangers often call each other brother or sister, bridging boundaries with the belief that we are all one big family.

The odds are against changing the world as a short-term volunteer, but perhaps you can change lives, including yours. I would like to return and volunteer again one day, and hopefully there will be fewer holes in the system by then!

Additional Info:

Trip Duration: 3 Weeks
Country: Tanzania
When: May 2011
Travel Provider: Cross-Cultural-Solutions
Volunteer Experience Type: Health and Medical
Organization: Volunteer Abroad - Tanzania, Kilimanjaro

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