Town Square

Post a New Topic

The Travel Clinic Would Not Be Happy

Original post made by AnnaMirsky, another community, on Feb 21, 2013

Now I've been here for almost a week and am getting into the swing of things at Light in Africa and how things are done the Tanzanian way. Floors are washed by dumping a bucket of water on the floor and using a squeegee to maneuver it out the door, a surprisingly effective technique requiring both rhythm and technique.

Things are also easily misinterpreted. I taught the kitchen staff how to make cheesy garlic bread yesterday. When we ordered garlic bread, tuna and salad for our dinner tonight they had placed the tuna on top of the bread in the oven. When they showed me we did some creative adaptation of what was already there by adding mayonnaise and cheese on top to make a sort of casserole on toast. There goes my figure!

Today I've been thinking about what the travel clinic said to me about visiting Tanzania, the do’s and don’ts and realizing just how many of them I break in a single day. Suggestion one is absolutely under no circumstances should I interact with local animals. We have some dogs and a few litters of puppies on the property, I've already bathed two of them and regularly hold one in my lap while pulling out ticks, fleas and other sorts of bugs from their faces, bodies and ears. I've already treated some puppies, the mama dogs have let me do a bit to help but the male dogs are still cautious.

The kids help me by holding a cup of water to drown the bugs and showing me where the bugs are. I have the kids and my friend Jamie checks me for ticks afterwards. So far none have made it past the first check. The doggies know me now and happily greet and follow me around when they see me.

Suggestion two through five, wear your seatbelt, don't swim in fresh water, don't drink the water, don’t eat off the street, beware of saliva, blood, etc. Today we went to visit a gorgeous natural spring and swimming hole in the middle of the desert. The water was clear, blue and turquoise, there were even fish there that would nip at our feet. We hired a taxi and took 4 older boys with us from a orphanage nearby. So we had my friend Jamie, myself, a staff member, taxi driver and 4 boys in one car about the size of a Toyota Corolla. We had 5 people in the back seat and 3 in the front. Seatbelts did not even enter the conversation.

And of course, the swimming in fresh water that followed. It was such a gorgeous place and we spent a few hours there. I of course, unintentionally, did swallow some water. We brought sodas but no opener, not to worry; one of the boys opened the bottle with his teeth! We also had mangoes but no knife, luckily one of the vendors nearby let us borrow his large possible rusty knife that had 2 out of the 3 screws missing. Nothing in Tanzania is beyond a solution!

To be honest I didn’t realize just how unhappy the travel clinic folks would be to hear what I've been up to. But its now 5:30pm, it was a wonderful day and I feel absolutely fine! I do believe it is important to be careful and safe. Who wants to spend their vacation being sick with diarrhea or something worse?

But at the same time, I am in a developing country and things aren’t always perfectly clean or perfectly safe. It’s not the US and expecting or insisting that it be that way is a good way to have a miserable time. I have found it best to be cautious and just go with the flow.

Comments (2)

Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Wonderful stories can;t wait for more!

Like this comment
Posted by Rich Simrin
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 10, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Love these, Anna, keep them coming. I leave for Tanzania in 6 weeks!!

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Opening alert: Kyosho Sushi in Menlo Park
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 2,129 views

Umeboshi - The Macrobiotic Antibiotic
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,599 views

Love is a Verb
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,263 views