Tanzania 

We were so touched by how engaged the Tanzanian nurses were in the classes we held.  Our classes were full every day.  The nurses took notes while we talked.  They would stay after to copy down all the teaching sheets we taped to the wall during our talks (there were no copy machines available).  We would ask them questions during our talks so we could make sure they were following our level of teaching as well as due to the fact that Swahili was their first language and English their second.  We had many of the nurses volunteering to answer our questions.  Keep in mind that this area is very hot and humid - 95 degrees during the day and 80 degrees at night, and without electricity there were no lights or air conditioning in our classroom.  Even so, the staff was so anxious attend our classes and really learn the material we presented.   From this experience, we felt that the staff at THI were very capable, but their access to knowledge was very limited.  TanzaniaThey appreciated every word we taught them.   I think we got just as much out of the experience due to having nurses who were so hungry for knowledge, and willing to spend many hours in class every day with us.  They were so endearing to us - they called us "Sista Sally and Sista Kristen" when they saw us each day.  They truly invited us into their lives……

Sally Moe, RN, Providence Portland Medical Center
Sponsored by: Tanzania Heart Institute
February 24-March 5, 2006, Tanzania

 

The THI nurses were amazing.  They were so attentive and interested in what we had to say and teach.  They speak and understand English for the most part.  Many took notes during class and several stayed after class to sit close to the bulletin board where we taped up our teaching material to finish taking notes and absorb the material.  There was not a copy machine (or the power to run one) to facilitate this.  They participated willingly by answering our questions about heart anatomy and physiology and other newly taught content regarding open heart surgery recovery.  A correct answer earned them a reward from our grab bag full of calculators, hemostats, scissors, pen lights, light-up flashing rings and candy.  They loved it!  And so did we.  By the end of our second class on 2/27, the nurses were referring to us as “Sister Sally” and “Sister Kristen”.  To be called a “sister” in Tanzania is an endearing term, meaning that you are well liked and part of the family.  From then on we were greeted as such, even passing in the hallways.  They, in turn, were eager to teach us their native language of Swahili.  What a great feeling, it makes me swell up inside.  Everyone seemed genuinely happy at THI and in Tanzania as a whole.

Kristen Lewis, RN,  Providence Portland Medical Center
Sponsored by: Tanzania Heart Institute
February 24-March 5, 2006, Tanzania