Michael Rosser, June 18, 2014, Tanzania

Today, we drove about 15 minutes from Morogoro to Mzumbe village, which is home to Mzumbe University. We set up for clinics outside of a pharmacy in the village under the shade of a small awning, and got to work right away as there were dozens of dogs already waiting for us when we arrived. Dave and I began vaccinating dogs while the other three students started surgeries. There were so many dogs that we could hardly keep up with drawing up vaccinations and having supplies ready, but with the help of Anton, the technician, and Nickson Ng’umbi, the veterinarian, we were able to vaccinate 60 dogs throughout the course of the morning. All of the dogs received rabies, distemper + leptospirosis combo, ivermectin for parasite control, and imidacloprid topically for flea control. Many of the dogs in this area were very difficult to handle, so we showed Anton and Nickson how to use gauze muzzles for safe and effective restraint. Handling the animals was still a challenge though, and we had to be very careful and quick in giving the injections to remain safe. In addition to the 60 vaccinations, we completed 12 surgeries (9 castrations and 3 spays) as a team throughout the course of the day. Each of us had completed at least one spay and one castration prior to this day, so we were much more confident and efficient with our surgical technique. This allowed us to have two surgical tables operating at the same time with Dr. Bennett assisting at both tables. By the time the last dog was finally recovered from surgery, we were exhausted but very proud of how much we were able to accomplish in this village in just one day.

Veterinary students performing surgery in Tanzania

Dr. Bennett (right) observes students during a procedure.

Veterinary students with puppy in Tanzania

Relaxing with a puppies

After finishing clinics, we decided to go into downtown Morogoro to do some shopping. The city was much smaller than Dar Es Salaam where we had stayed on our first night, but it was still very crowded and busy. We were aware that Morogoro was not a city that is frequented by tourists, but we discovered as soon as we stepped out of the car that we stuck out like sore thumbs. Not only were we the only Caucasian people in the area, but we were still in our surgical scrubs from clinics. Feeling so out of place like this was something I can’t remember ever experiencing in the United States. We got a lot of stares while we walked through the shopping district, but everyone we met was very helpful and friendly. The stores in this area all had an open wall so that everything was visible from the street, and it was very interesting to just walk around and window-shop. Because tourism is not common in this area, most of the stores sold common household items and clothing geared towards local people, but it was still very interesting to see. We ended up buying a soccer ball to play with during evenings at the hotel. Though we felt out of place  in the city at first, it was a very interesting experience to see how people live in Morogoro and how different it is from home.