Anneliese (“Ani”) Michl, June, 19, 2014, Tanzania

Today we drove to a village called Wami Dakwai in Morogoro.  The drive was not as long and the dirt roads were less bumpy, which was greatly appreciated. We spent many hours traveling to and from the villages and hotels earlier in the week. Driving in Tanzania can be dangerous, especially on the main highway. The forms of traffic include pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, motorcycles, large trucks, buses, and three wheelers all trying to weave around one another on a narrow road. The smell of fumes and exhaust was so nauseating that we had to cover our faces with scarves at times.

Most of the drivers and motorists are fearless when driving. They will honk their horn and continue driving, forcing oncoming vehicles and pedestrians to stop. We passed several overturned buses and trucks off of the highway during our two weeks. One night at the hotel, we met a man who was visiting from Dar al Salaam for a friend’s funeral. His friend had an evening soccer game and was driving home in the dark on his motorcycle when he was hit and killed by a truck. The story was very sad and we offered our condolence.  The man told us to never drive at night in Tanzania because it is too dangerous.

When we arrived in Wami Dakwai, the people and their pets were already lined up waiting for us. There was a local church and a small home with a family. Dr. Nickson Ng’umbi noted that the religion of the village people in Tanzania is approximately fifty percent Muslim and fifty percent Christian. Dr. Hoenig remembered speaking to the mother of another family last year. She recalled that the mother aspired to be a professional nurse. However, her husband prevented her from becoming a nurse because he thought she would cheat on him with other men. So instead she had children and her dream of becoming a nurse was now only a memory. Most of the women are prevented from having careers and are expected to raise the children and take care of the house. It was very uncommon to see the fathers interacting with their kids. The women were seen surrounded by their kids and doing chores such as laundry and cooking.

We performed a total of 4 spays and nine castrations today. We vaccinated approximately fifty dogs and cats. The surgeries went well and there were no complications. We fed the testicles and ovaries to the nearby chickens and roosters. The chickens were so excited that they would flutter their wings and run away when a testicle was thrown at them.  We were happy to not let the reproductive organs go to waste. There is very little wasted in Tanzania and it made me realize how wasteful we are as Americans and how much stuff we have. Many of the children wore clothing that was sometimes torn and oversized and had no shoes. They didn’t have any toys to play with. One boy had a ball of garbage he was using as a soccer ball. Another boy was seen playing with a metal rod and another boy with a bike tire. Yet they all appeared very happy.  In retrospect, we wished we brought clothing, books, crayons, and toys for the children. We discussed that next year we would recommend bringing a suitcase full of things to give to the children.