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Medicine & Healthcare in Tanzania with Projects Abroad

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Projects Abroad medical volunteer in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

I was a medical volunteer in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for 4 weeks prior to applying to Physician Assistant school, and the only regret I have is that I did not stay longer! This experience was life changing. I learned an insurmountable amount of medical and cultural knowledge, made friends who I will have in my life forever, and cannot wait to return. In fact, I am in the midst of planning another volunteer trip with Projects Abroad in the spring.

Throughout my preparation and travels to Tanzania, the Projects Abroad staff was always available for me to contact, especially when I had flight delays. When I landed in Dar es Salaam, I was greeted by a staff member from Projects Abroad and driven to my host family's home. I instantly felt at ease, despite my trepidation, since I had never been in a host family situation. I was always comfortable, well taken care of, well-fed, hydrated and constantly learning about the culture and people surrounding me.

The Projects Abroad staff in Tanzania went above and beyond. On my first day, Godwin, my savior from Projects Abroad, went through the steps to take public transit to arrive at my medical accommodation, Sinza Palestina Hospital. Godwin also helped me learn how to get the money I needed, have my cell phone and wifi work, and constantly was in contact with me to make sure that everything was running smoothly. Even if there wasn't a problem, the Projects Abroad office was available for me to stop by and discuss anything, even if it was as trivial as what type of bug spray I should purchase.

I spent Monday-Friday, from approximately 9:30-3:30 at Sinza Palestina Hospital for the next 4 weeks. Initially, I was the only volunteer in minor theatre (minor surgery), which was a bit daunting, but I was quickly immersed in the culture of the hospital. I was able to observe, ask as many questions as I could, and assist with as many procedures and patients as I wanted. The staff was friendly, accommodating, and grateful for my assistance. In fact, I still keep in contact with my supervising physician, Dr. Maganga, months after I have returned back to the United States. Within the first two weeks, I learned some key Swahili phrases that helped put patients at ease, learned that high-fives are universal, and ventured to the mall to find stickers. I always kept the stickers in my front scrub pocket and gave one to each pediatric patient I saw. I suggest that any future volunteers bring something like a sticker or stamp to help put smiles on the children's faces! After my second week, I was joined by 2 other volunteers at the hospital and as each week passed I gained more confidence in my abilities to connect with patients and perform the medical procedures that I would not have had the opportunity to perform in the USA.

On my final day, the medical volunteers went to a local orphanage to perform health checks. We started off playing with the orphans, who grabbed our hands and asked our names. They showed off their cartwheels and asked if I could do any. As a former gymnast, I said yes…not realizing that the next hour would be spent doing gymnastics skills on concrete that I hadn’t done in years. I was sore for a week, but their smiles helped me ignore the pain. We were separated into stations where each child was weighed, measured, had their temperature taken, and had their teeth, eyes, mouths, skin, and hair checked for any obvious abnormalities or fungal infections.

Beyond the medical aspect of the trip, Projects Abroad helped my friends and I arrange trips for the weekend in order to gain the most out of our experience. We traveled to Zanzibar for a weekend and spent 3 days at the Selous Game Reserve on a safari. These trips were monumental in showing me different parts of Tanzania, and allowing me to explore the country outside of a purely medical setting. The friends I made in my home, at the hospital, and at Projects Abroad team dinners allowed me to make friends that I will have for the rest of my life. In fact, one of my fellow volunteers (a European who now lives in New Zealand) is traveling to the states soon to visit!

I had worried about my safety being a tiny, American female, but I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. Projects Abroad did an amazing job making me feel welcome and appreciated. I gained more than I could have ever imagined from this experience. It truly changed my life and I miss Tanzania constantly. I recommend Projects Abroad, Tanzania, and the experience in general to anyone interested in volunteering abroad.

  • Projects Abroad responded to this review October 18, 2016 at 12:05 PM

    Hi Taylor! Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience! Those are lovely pictures! It's great that you were able to gain hands on work with patients while also getting to see some of the wonders Tanzania has to offer. That sticker idea is wonderful, thank you for going the extra mile in making the children happier at the hospital! We would love to have you join us again in the Spring, where will your next volunteer adventure take you?

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Nursing In Tanzania

I went to Arusha, Tanzania for ten days. While this trip was incredibly short and I wish I could have gone longer, I had to get back to the states for classes. I definitely couldn't have made it through my ten days without Projects Abroad. They were so supportive before my trip and even while I was there. I was assisted with the visa application, work permit application, and all questions before I left were answered. When I was there I was placed with the most wonderful host family and shown around by a worker from Projects Abroad. I was able to exchange money and was shown the different types of transportation throughout the city. I was placed at Mount Meru in the labor ward. This was the biggest blessing as I was able to assist with births and see nursing from a different prospective. Projects Abroad was always checking in to make sure that I felt comfortable with my placement and getting treated well by my host family. I can't say enough great things about this company or my placement in Arusha!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Medicine in Tanzania

My experiences in Tanzania with Projects Abroad were amazing. One minute I was working in a hospital helping patients with malaria and meningitis, and another minute I was on a safari. At all times I felt perfectly safe, and often played games with the staff. My fellow volunteers and I always had a great time, and we shared our experiences every time at dinner. Overall, if you want to experience a forign country, Projects Abroad is the way to go.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A Great Expedition for Hands on Experience!!!

I went on my five week expedition with Projects Abroad in January of 2015. In Tanzania, I was in the Medicine program at Mwananyamala Hospital in Dar Es Salaam. That experience was what made everything worth it. During the five weeks that I was at the hospital, I rotated through the laboratory, the minor surgical ward, the major surgical ward, obstetrics, gynaecology, and paediatrics. The doctors in most of the wards were extremely helpful and taught us a lot of the medicine that they were practicing. It was a very hands on experience and I not only got to learn a lot, but I got to do a lot as well.
Also while in Dar Es Salaam, we lived with a local family. Being able to eat the home cooked food was definitely another wonderful addition to the expedition. The food was so good that there were days where all I could think about was going home for lunch and dinner. Hearing the stories of those who I lived with for those five weeks was also spectacular.
A really cool thing that they did during the volunteer program was Dirty Days. These days wouldn't be spent doing the normal project, but would instead have all of the volunteers from all of the programs come together and help the community. I ended up spending a day at an orphanage and another day painting a couple classrooms.
The only critique that I have has to do with how I ended up choosing my country. There are so many places to go that narrowing down your choices has to do with 1) Your personal travelling desires and 2) The differences between the programs between countries. For me, the differences of the medical program were not clearly defined during my investigation phase and I was personally told that every country, in Africa, was the same. Part of me felt lucky that I had chosen to go to Tanzania and had gotten the hands on experience I did. However, because I did not go to any other country with Projects Abroad, I cannot conclusively say that my experience would have been any worse of better had I instead chosen to go to Ghana, which had been my original first choice.
Overall, the experience was completely worth it. There was so much support from Projects Abroad that it felt like it was impossible to go wrong.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Impact

    7

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

2 month volunteering in a hospital in Dar es Salaam

Last year, I spent two months volunteering at Mwanayamala Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. There, I rotated through the different departments of the hospital, bandaging wounds, growing lab samples, observing surgeries, and conversing with doctors. The doctors at Mwanayamala Hospital were incredibly friendly and taught me about medicine, infectious disease, and Tanzania. Several of them even took the volunteers out for lunch a couple times. Outside of my time at the hospital, I was also able to visit breathtaking beaches and waterfalls, and go on a safari with other volunteers. Although I didn't always feel safe in Dar es Salaam, because it is a large city with a certain amount of crime, the support provided by Projects Abroad was amazing. They gave me a tour of the city on my first day, made sure I knew how to make my way around town, and they were very easily accessible for any sort of assistance throughout my stay. Volunteering with Projects Abroad also helped me become comfortable with travel abroad and helped me discover my passion for service and for public health. Although Projects Abroad is quite pricy, the memories I gained and the friendships I've formed are priceless.

Institution Affiliates:

The International Volunteer Programs Association