While driving through some of the more remote locations, we occasionally passed people wearing very bright cloth draped around their bodies that often have cattle close to them. These are the nomadic Maasai people. The Maasai believe the land belongs to them and therefore have the right to go wherever they wish with their animals. The Maasai believe every young man should have a machete because they equate it with power. We were told by Nickson, a Tanzanian veterinary student, as soon as the children can walk they are allowed to carry big knives. We also jokingly, I hope, were told if you take their picture- they cut your head off with said machete.
Today we went to the village of Turiani. Our surgical site was inside a small building on top of a mountain with a water tower. It was the first time we were inside a building for surgery. We did see some young military trainees practicing near by; they all wore red shirts. A local city official said they are all 18 and older, but I would have guessed them to be much younger.
We performed 3 spays, one of which was a young puppy named Police. We also did four castrations. The first castration had a bilateral perianal hernia. We were able to watch Dr. Bennett repair the hernia with whatever surgical equipment we had available. Dr. Bennett had me try using Vicryl on a spay.
He explained that there is no proof in literature that Vicryl holds bacteria despite being braided. It is softer and causes less tissue reaction inside the abdominal cavity. This is ideal for our situation where we would not be able to recheck incisions or remove sutures post surgery and after healing. One of the veterinary students from Finnland, Jonni, did a castration for the first time. We also gave rabies vaccinations, ivermectin, and flea spray around 20 puppies. In large contrast to the prison location, these dogs did not have ticks in their ears. When we began doing surgery, more and more dogs appeared. We were not able to finish all of them today, but we will come back to this area later during the program. For the first time, we saw a husband and wife together. Previously we had only seen women together or men together. Anthony, a veterinary technician, taught us the word Tayari– which means “ready” in Swahili.