It's Complicated...

Today took an unanticipated turn, which is not at all uncommon in Tanzania. I had carved out some time to work on a grant proposal but first had promised our Head Nurse, Siana, that I would go with her to the District Office to pick up some “Plumpy Nut”, the nutritional food supplement we need for our severely malnourished patient in the ward. We can’t even buy the stuff anywhere in the country right now. Anyway, first thing this morning we went to the District Health Office to see if they had any stock they could share with us. When we arrived, we were introduced to the District Nutritionist, Jackie, who told us she had been trying very hard to get a resupply of Plumpy Nut because they also have many children in need of the product. Apparently, 40 boxes were waiting to be picked up in Monduli, roughly 2 hours away but the District car had been “out of fuel.” With the image of little John wasting away back at the hospital yet recognizing that this was a “quick fix” to a systemic issue, I decided to listen to my heart….”I’ll take you if you can go right now.” The three of us jumped into the car, drove the 2 hours to Monduli, loaded up the Land Rover with 40 boxes of Plumpy Nut and came straight back to Karatu. Once back, we helped unload 20 of the boxes at the government health center much to the delight of the RCH nurse and others and then returned to FAME with 20 boxes they gave us for our patients. I don’t know where one would even begin to address the larger systemic issue of crucial vehicles being out of fuel when patients are in need, but today that wasn’t for me to ponder. I just needed to get some help for John. And I think Jackie, and all her colleagues, felt the same way about their patients….as they helped us unload all the boxes. Yep, it’s complicated…

picking boxes up in Monduli

Siana & Jackie after packing up the Land Rover

Off loading boxes at FAME.