Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Malaria?,Tanzanite, and the Doors of Zanzibar

So, for starters, in regards to malaria everyone is fine. The kids and I have been feeling fine but this past week and even a little before Heather has been in a mental fog and then had this persistent headache with tiredness. Sounds like pregnancy too right? But a number of the girls from the team were having the same symptoms and some of them were testing positive for malaria. Heather’s test came back negative but malaria tests you have to take with a bit of salt and the general rule is, if you’re still not feeling better in a few days, just treat it. So we did. And Heather has feeling better ever since. Part of the blessing and curse of taking malaria prophylaxis is sometimes it dulls down the symptoms so you have a hard time realizing you have it. So she probably had malaria but thankfully a mild case and the treatment has helped. Thank God.

As I said, the kids have been feeling fine and they continue to do well in school. This past week we went to a small museum (a showcase really) about Tanzanite. If you’re not familiar, Tanzanite is a purplish, blue gemstone, found only in Tanzania in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was discovered in the late 60’s and brought to New York where Tiffany’s put it on the map as something to be coveted. It really is a beautiful stone but it wasn’t long before the kids were bored and I had to break out the puzzles. Meanwhile I was getting the whole history of Tanzanite from one of the museum employees/salespeople? and was beginning to get worried that this lady was expecting me to buy something at the end of all this. (Although Heather certainly would have been happy with that) it wasn’t going to happen and when I explained to the lady I wasn’t there to buy anything she backed off and was still pleasant enough. Interesting fact: supposedly there’s only about 30 more years of mining before the mines will run out. Buy your Tanzanite today!

This last week was once again filled with lectures (Mon-Tue) and hospital at the end of the week. As Bruce mentioned above I (Heather) wasn’t feeling well and so opted to stay home and rest on Weds to rest. I then went to the hospital Thurs. and had a very frustrating day of chasing down a case study.  As part of our lecture phase we have to find patients who have one of the complications of pregnancy that we are studying.  There are 4 in all.  This particular day the doctors who are normally very helpful were not really around at all and a classmate and I spent the entire day looking through paperwork and cases following leads to either find patients that met the criteria, find someone to translate, search for the woman only to find out they were already sent home and there was no record of their discharge, or they were semi-unconscious and unable to answer questions about their history. When we found a great case with 2 of the 4 we found that the doctor had incomplete notes and therefore we couldn’t use the case! Ugh! We had a headache halfway through the day and finally found our case in the labor ward in the last 15 mins of our shift!! Thankfully it was a case handled by one of our fellow students so we had all the info we needed and were even able to interview her with the help of a nurse just minutes before she was shifted to the post-natal ward. Whew! Friday it was arranged that Bruce would go into the hospital and work with some of the docs. He ended up in a pre-surgery clinic where patients were being assessed to see if they needed surgery or not. He had a good day hanging out with the docs and seeing some patients.  I had a great day home with the kids doing school and hanging out.  Bruce also took the kids to a play area and for pizza on Weds along with the Tanzanite Museum.

Its always so interesting and sometimes downright funny to see and read the recycled tee-shirts and hats that have made their way to East Africa. We've seen several Wisconsin Badger shirts, Chicago Cubs and even a Hoosiers shirt that the guy at the hospital canteen wears weekly. Thurs on the bus this guy was representin' ! 

This last weekend was set aside for any of the team who wanted to go visit the island of Zanzibar. After going back and forth a bit we decided that it would be worth it.  We took the 1.5 hour ferry Saturday morning to get there and enjoyed lunch at a great café, an afternoon with the locals on the beach,  and some dinner over looking the water and a pretty intense soccer game that was going on. We then ventured to the evening fish market where we quickly learned that we could have easily filled our bellies with yummy fresh grilled meat and even grilled pizza for the kids. (BUMMER) We did enjoy some after dinner popcorn and Bruce enjoyed 1 skewer of fresh grilled mussels. The kids enjoyed all the cats that were roaming the market. (I mean if I were a cat that is where I would be).
The next morning we decided to take it slow. Enjoyed a delicious included breakfast in the café below our room and then decided to head towards the more touristy historical buildings of Zans. We discovered that the historical sites although very interesting were poorly managed. Not that there wasn't an over abundance of young men hanging around asking (aggressively at times) if you needed a guide or private tour (apparently it was low season).
We quickly learned that winding through the cobble stone streets and off the main roads on our own was the way to go. We enjoyed taking in some of the culture as well as admiring the beautiful carved wooden doors that can be found throughout the city. The city has a rich history that is evident by its Arab, Indian and African influences in the carvings in the doors. Zanzibar was mostly built up by Omani Arabs and made most of its wealth through spices grown on the island and a very extensive and horrific slave trade that at one time extended all the way to the Congo! It was a pretty hot day so after a few hours we had to retreat back to the café. We then took a quick hot walk to the Anglican Cathedral that was built on the site of the old slave market. It was our last bit of sobering history before taking the last ferry home in the afternoon. Whew! It was a quick but rather much needed relaxing weekend. We all had a great time.  
the ferry ride

the kids favorite past time now. they love drawing!

this ones for all the sailors in my fam!

streets kinda reminded me of Israel.

ice-cream before dinner? yes please!

we had fun watching these guys pile into the tiny boat to get to the big boat.. 5-6 at a time!!

this girl was hilarious aside from the fact that her and her friends where eating sand! she kept filling her clothes with sand. 

I met this woman while dipping my toes in the water and she insisted we take a photo together but was unhappy with the outcome of each one! haha!

downside to the fish market. (upside if you are 3 and 5yrs old)

a little morning milk

A Masai young man that we bought some earrings from. He had "no" change so sent Bruce for a walk and then all of a sudden had change. :)

there is no shortage of Barack merchandise. I have seen everything from t-shirts to underwear. We even met a man who named his shop the "Obama Shop"

local bookstore

                                                    Some much needed rehydration!!

the actual pit where they sold the slaves from. :(


  1. Wow sounds like you are having such an adventure! I really enjoy reading your updates it is encouraging how God is using your family in such a powerful way! Prayign you will keep healthy! Sharon

  2. Wonderful photos-- keep on sharing!