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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Work, Play and Worship

Friday was a day of challenges for the team. When our daladala pulled into the Mazimbu lot, our queue completely filled our “check in” area and spilled out and around the corner. Dr. John had nine patients right off the get-go—people that either had waited all day a prior day or a few that we checked in late in the day and told them to be back early on Friday. That meant that we could add only about five more patients to his queue for the day. So the decision was made to check in only 35 new patients in the hope that Dr. Kivuma could see about 30 that day. However, Dr. Kivuma had four procedures, so he would be away from his office for big chunks of time. That meant we had very bad news for about 170 people. Episilon and Samwel were calm and kind but worked with a very agitated crowd for almost two hours. It was impossible to determine who had arrived first and would be served that day. Finally, the security guards stepped forward and were able to identify those that were there first. Once the selection of the 35 lucky ones was made, the crowd accepted the decision and melted away.
Dr. John in OR

Using the gurney to move the patient to recovery

Emily continued working on our suture shortage and Nancy joined in the hunt. They got the OK from the anesthesiologist, Christina, to go through every box of suture in the OR. By doing that, they discovered a box of mixed sutures—probably the last piece from different boxes that was just tossed into the mixed box. Most of them were also expired but this process yielded two pieces that were usable. That made a total of three pieces, so the first two procedures were scheduled for that afternoon. A call to the dermatologist at the sister hospital, SUA, also yielded the “loan” of four sutures. And finally, Emily’s connection at Aga Khan bore fruit: she was able to talk to the clinical instructor that worked under her at Aga Khan, who met with the main hospital supplier, who agreed to order some sutures, who saved them when they arrived, who gave them to Gamma’s best friend, who took them to the bus station and put them on a bus to Morogoro to get them to Gamma, who drove to the bus station to meet them and pick them up. We now have enough suture to perform the procedures!

We did not leave the hospital until about 7pm Friday night and went directly to Dragonaire’s restaurant for pizza. Although we really enjoyed the fellowship with the team, the staff was busy that night so service for our party of 18 was slow. It was midnight before we fell into bed and off to sleep.

Saturday is a day off for the team and we all opted to take the trip to the local Maasai cattle market. We were joined by Amanda, a student from Vermont that is studying at the language school. Samwel and Epsilon rounded out our group. Samwel is a Maasai from the same village as Tisho, Melela, and was an excellent guide, answering all questions about Maasai culture and practices and offering interesting items we didn’t know to ask about. After walking and shopping for a bit, we joined Bishop Mameo under one of the bandas for food and drink. This is really a treat at the cattle market—cows and goats are slaughtered and butchered in the morning and slabs of meat are set to roast over open fires. Bishop ordered both beef and goat. This is sliced into bite sized pieces with a machete by a Maasai warrior and passed around, where portions are dabbed in a bit of salt and eaten with the fingers, hot and flavorful.

We were also honored to sit with and be introduced to the Chief of all the Maasai, Chief Moreto. While we were sitting enjoying our food, many many Maasai strolled through to give the Bishop and the Chief their greetings.
Maasai cattle market

Eileen and Maasai admirer

Driving cattle to market

Roasting meat
Under the banda

Mid afternoon found us back at LJS for a brief rest before we went to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner—the Oasis. The specialty here is sizzling platters served with vegetables and sauce and the meat of your choice. It was a great meal and we would all vote to return!

Our weekend would not be complete without worshipping with our Tanzanian brothers and sisters. Bishop Mameo specifically requested that we come to a celebration for the opening of a new pastor’s house. We did not know what to expect but we were treated to an amazing service. It began with tea and “bitings” of cassava and taro root before church. Then we were seated in seats of honor, being sure to ask Kilatu and Epsilon to intersperse among us to help with translation during the service. The sound of a brass band signaled the start of worship with a processional into the church that had toes tapping and hips swaying. Following the band were 18 pastors, the Bishop in full regalia, and the assistant to the Bishop. There were three choirs—the regular church choir, the youth choir and a special choir of university students. During the service, each choir sang at least twice. Although the three-and-a-half-hour service was much longer that we are accustomed to, it was a wonderful worship experience. We were given lunch, along with the whole congregation, and made our way back to LJS for a bit of a rest before dinner.

Recessional with 18 pastors

Tea and bitings

Maasai woman and daughter with Dr. John

Our young friend


  1. Habari, Team! I wish I was there with you. I imagine you’re all in the common room at LJS reading this. Eating some snacks, looking at your phones, and possibly enjoying some wine (hey Patti). It is comforting to know you are all there doing God’s work and enjoying the unique fellowship only a mission like that could provide. Keep up the good work. The people of Morogoro, and beyond, greatly appreciate ad deserve it. Please say hello to my at Mazimbu and I will see you next year!

  2. We are awestruck by the challenges you face and the creative way in which you solve them. The work there is more stressful than you reported when you last spoke about that mission. We are grateful that we can be in partnership with you and the whole team in this important work. We keep you in our prayers. Pastor Solberg

  3. This is a superbly interesting report and so vivid with photos of the cattle market, line of pastors, and sharing a meal with brothers and sisters. We pray with encouragement to the end! We are inspired by your love! Anne

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