How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA?
Sarah Ehlers was wonderful and extremely helpful! She was always great about getting our questions answered quickly, and she had tons of information for us about the culture in Tanzania and what we should expect as volunteers.
How was work at the local hospital? What were you able to do as a medical volunteer?
Work at the local hospital was fun. It was really interesting to be able to experience a hospital in a different country and to see the similarities and differences from here in the United States. I was not able to do very much—it was mostly shadowing the doctors at the hospital.
What was your favorite memory of this trip?
My favorite memory of this trip was interacting with the local people and knowing that they were thankful for all of the medical care that they received. It is not every day that you get to experience that kind of gratitude when working in the healthcare field!
What was the most difficult thing you experienced?
The most difficult thing I experienced was just realizing how little supplies the hospital had to work with. It is really hard to watch people be sutured without pain medication and suffer infected wounds just because of the lack of resources available.
What was the one thing you wished you were better prepared for?
I felt very prepared. There was still some culture shock, but I don’t think that there is anything that can prepare a person for such a drastic change in lifestyle.
Any tips for future volunteers…(clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc)
Try to bring some supplies to donate to the hospital! I found that the supplies that were most needed were tape, gloves, gauze, and antiseptic wound care products. They will definitely be appreciated! If you have time, try to do a safari! We also climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, which was a fantastic experience!!
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Yes, I am.
Lindsay M. Cahill, OMS-II
Vice President, Sigma Sigma Phi – Phi Chapter
Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
Lindsay Volunteer Abroad in Arusha, Tanzania