MMT - Tanzania himo
Since 2006, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Mercy Medical Teams have provided desperately needed health care to thousands of patients in underserved regions around the globe. This short-term volunteer program offers medical professionals opportunities to volunteer abroad in a variety of clinical and health-related settings. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, other types of medical professionals, pastors and hard-working laity are coordinated and trained into specific Mercy Medical Teams, which work in conjunction with LCMS partner churches and international clinics to address needs of both body and soul.
The LCMS Mercy Medical Team from the United States arrived safe and sound in Tanzania on Saturday April 9th, tired, worn, and with much anticipation after 24+ hours of travel. The team was welcomed by Shara Cunningham(LCMS missionary to Eastern and Southern Africa) and Bishop Jesse Angowi from the Lutheran Church of East Africa (LCEA). We then took a short drive to the town of Moshi where we will be staying for the week. A restful night was had by all.
Sunday morning brought breakfast on the veranda and then a trip to Uchira to worship with our fellow Lutheran brothers and sisters in Christ. The church building is open air with a tin roof, metal framework in the windows, and blue pastic chairs as pews. Our team split up and took seats on both sides of the church. The service was led by LCEA pastors from Taveta, Uchira, and Himo. Pastor Dave from the United States also participated in the service. The order of service followed the liturgical order common in our home LCMS churches and even some of our familiar hymns were sung, such as "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" and "Praise to the Lord the Almighty." Scripture verses were read in both Swahili and English for our benefit. Pastor Dave from our Mercy Medical Team provided the sermon and was able to tie the message into our trip. The comparison was that our team continues to hear that Mt. Kilimanjaro is here in Tanzania, and we believe them even though we have not seen the mountain. This is similar to our belief in God. We cannot see Him and yet we continue to believe and trust in Him. One of the local pastors translated the sermon into Swahili so all could receive the message. Church concluded with warm greetings and welcomes by the congregation.
Pastor David gives the sermon as Pastor Peter translates
Bishop and pastors from the LCEA and Pastor David from the LCMS
The ladies after church
Bishop Angowi and Pastor Luca pose for a quick picture with Shara at the seminary
Out and about in Moshi
The busy streets of Moshi
Life continues even in the rain
Join us at the clinic
The Mercy Medical Team (MMT) consisted of five nurses and one pastor. The Tanzanian team joined us with several doctors, nurses who helped with intake and translation, registrars, a lab technician, an HIV counselor, pharmacists, and pharmacy techs. When a patient first arrives at the clinic they are checked in by a local Tanzanian (registrar) who writes the patient's name and age on a medical record paper. The patient then has their weight taken and is triaged by a nurse and translator (often a Tanzanian nurse) who take vital signs and investigate the patient's chief complaint. The patient is then seen by the doctor and can have additional tests or treatment completed, such as malaria and HIV testing, wound care, urine tests, blood sugar test, and injections of antibiotics. Finally the patient fills prescriptions at the pharmacy.
Mornings at the clinic began with Pastor David from the MMT assisted by the pastors of the LCEA leading devotions with the healthcare team and those patients waiting for clinic to open. The worship time began with a local pastor calling out a hymn number. He had his hymnal, but those waiting in the crowd did not. And they amazingly began singing from memory! Those singing added depth with their harmonies as well. Just a beautiful way to begin the day.
Bishop John and Pastor David say a prayer to start the day
Those waiting for the clinic join in singing hymns
Pastor David shares a message of hope in Christ
Bishop Angowi assists with translation as Pastor David reads scripture
Patients hold tightly to their registration form as they wait to be seen
The registration station
Nurse Tana (USA) and nurse Frank (Tanzania) does triage
Nurse Kimberly explains to her little patient what she is doing
Nurse Julia (Tanzania) takes chief complaints from her patient
Tanzanian pharmacists filling prescriptions
Nurse Mary (Tanzania) removes this boy's tooth in the treatment area
Shara and Dr. Cliff (Tanzania) at the entrance to the pharmacy. Dawa is the swahili word for medicine.
Ladies wait patiently to be registered
Sharon Thomas - MMT team leader makes a new friend
Adorable little faces
People waiting to go to the vital signs and triage stations