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Simple Things, So Many Emotions

Another day at Kilema Hospital has come and gone. Today I was at the CTC. This is where they hold weekly clinics for community members with HIV and TB. It is an outpatient clinic that allows those with HIV and TB to come and receive free treatment and medication. Today was a TB clinic day. It was slower today with not much patient traffic. Another classmate and I spent our time there watching one of the doctors who runs the clinic and meets with every patient. He explained to us that a person who has been diagnosed with TB is on a six-month treatment regime here. People from the community needing treatment come every week or every other for their medication supply to last them until their next appointment. It was a privilege to just sit and watch him interact with a smile on his face with every single person you walked through the door. But something he said really resonated with me. He was just finishing up talking to patient who was receiving his last supply of medication, completing his six months. As he congratulated him for finishing his treatment, he told us that all of his patients are his best friends. He told us he sees them every week, and he is so proud of them for coming back each week. It was something about the way he said it, but you could just tell he truly cared about each and every one of them. Even though it was a quiet day, and it may not have been as exciting as others in different wards of the hospital, there was something about watching a man who is so passionate about what he does. It was another one of those “ah-ha” moments to add to the list. There has been so many of those moments since I have been here, almost too many to process.

Simple things that elicit so many emotions and feelings. As I sit here trying to come up with a way to describe my feelings about this trip, I am coming up short. There is simply no combination of words that I can put together to describe the way our short time in Tanzania has made me feel. I knew that this trip would have an impact on me, but I had no idea of the power it was going to have. I know this sounds cheesy, but this trip has been life changing. It has changed the way I look at things, and I don’t think I could go back to the way I felt before this trip. Last night we all walked over to the soccer field behind the school and watched the stars. I had looked up at the night sky and appreciated the beauty of stars so many times in my life, but last night was different. As I stood there surrounded by the people I have been privileged to spend the last the last 10 days with, I had a moment. I was overcome with emotions and I found myself thinking about home; how fortunate each and every one of us are to have what we have at our fingertips. We have the world in our hands, and I think we take it for granted. The past few days we have all expressed how we feel helpless and guilty here. I find myself getting frustrated at situations that are out of my control. Tonight during debrief we were talking about these frustrations and how they made us feel. I shared that all of this guilt and frustration had motivated me to do something about it when I get home. To take control of situations that I can have some control over. Someone said that they hope we never forget these emotions and all of the feelings we have here. And I could not agree more. This spark of motivation makes me want to be a better nurse, a better supporter, a better learner, an overall better person.