An experience I will never forget!

I have just arrived back from my trip to Tanzania where I worked at Mt. Meru Regional Hospital, in the Casualty department. Before I arrived in Tanzania I had no idea what to expect and I felt very anxious as the time grew nearer. I need not have been so anxious because my time in Africa was fantastic. The staff who organise Elective Africa were fantastic, we had drivers to take us to our placements and show us around Tanzania and our drivers and course leader made us feel like one of the family. If we needed anything they went above and beyond to help us. This included trips to work, or the orphanages we loved to visit and any trips we were interested in. The leader, Phabian, even took us to change money and would count it each time to make sure we were safe and were not going to be short changed; it was like having a big brother around. Phabian also gave us some Swahili to learn so we could communicate with our patients. We had a welcome meal and as it was two of the girls birthdays on the elective, all the staff came together and made a big effort providing us with a roof top BBQ which was amazing, we were also invited into their life's with invites to watch basketball games and go around the markets and on scenic walks. Elective Africa is an all round amazing experience. We were pleasantly surprised with the accommodation which was clean and spacious and the accommodation is guarded day and night which made us feel safe at all times. Now for the hospital. :) Mt. Meru will really, really open your eyes if you have never worked in an African hospital. The things you see in this hospital are extremely shocking and you will be emotionally challenged every hour of every day. The amazing thing about Mt. Meru though, is that once you have proved to the doctors and nurses your hard working and keen to learn, you will gain experience, insight and skills that will never leave you through your career. The doctor I worked with in Mt. Meru was amazing (Dr. Philemon) and really tested my knowledge and skills. Mt. Meru is in desperate need of medical supplies so we took stacks which were not only needed but greatly appreciated. We always took medical kits to work as the lack of supplies really shocked us. I would recommend to anyone who would like to contribute medical supplies to buy them over there too, Tanzanian shillings go a long way. I would also recommend always taking a big bag of sweets to work some of the children who visit Mt. Meru have nothing at all. We had the most amazing experience on this trip from start to finish. I will never forget the memories of my time in Tanzania and all the amazing people I met there. If I get the chance to go again I will be there in a heartbeat :) I have never cried so many tears of sadness, joy and laughter all in one go. Thank you to everyone at Elective Africa for this amazing experience.

Joy Wilson

University of Cumbria