University of Manchester 2013

Nursing, Tanzania Dar es Salaam

I chose Work the World (WTW) because it was highly recommended by our university and the reports from previous students were excellent. It was a lot easier than organising my own elective especially during busy term time! The website included lots of case studies and videos from previous students who had travelled with WTW and they were all very complementary.  I decided to go to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and I’m so glad I did!

The WTW house is really nice and all the staff are lovely! Mark & Alpha, the main managers in charge, helped with any problems we had and helped give loads of useful advice like how to organise trips to Zanzibar. There is a pool, which is brilliant for jumping in after placement when the weather is hot (often!). There are also sun loungers around the pool and an iPod docking speaker so it was a nice area to chill around in the afternoons.

The food is absolutely amazing and the cook, Rehema, caters for everybody’s tastes including vegetarians etc. Everything is homemade, and there is plenty of fresh fruit and fresh fruit juice everyday. If you suggest ideas for meals she will also be happy to make it - we all were craving soup and she made us delicious homemade soup for dinner. The BBQ nights were my favourite as Mark bought his laptop and played music for us and we also tried and failed to balance water buckets on our heads, which was really funny.

I really enjoyed my placement at the regional hospital in Dar es Salaam. I spent four weeks on the labour ward, which I absolutely loved! My main supervisor on the labour ward was lovely her English was really good and she was great at teaching me new skills. During my time spent on the labour ward I was fortunate enough to deliver a baby! This was a truly life changing experience and has inspired to me train as a midwife once finishing my nursing degree. I also spent time on the surgical ward and theatres. I got to watch a few procedures and also do my own wound dressings.

I would definitely recommend the Village Healthcare Experience to anyone thinking about going to Dar es Salaam as it was one of the highlights of my trip. I really enjoyed placement at the healthcare centre because we got involved in every clinic and the work everyday was very varied, so we learnt so much in a short space of time. We were involved in the under 5’s immunisation programme, the TB clinic, The HIV/AIDS clinic and giving tetanus injections to adults. 

The afternoons were filled with a different activity everyday. We visited a witch doctor and learnt how he treats people without medicine. We watched traditional dancing performed by primary school children. We also rode bicycles around sugar plantation and went on a waterfall walk, which was stunning. My favourite activity however was visiting the primary school sports day. We watched the races and football match and also joined in with the sack race even though I lost it was still great fun! My friend and I had brought school equipment donations with us to hand out to the winners of each race. It was lovely to see their faces light up when they received the gifts.

We visited a witch doctor and learnt how he treats people without medicine

I had a number of memorable travel adventures during my time in Tanzania. I went on a safari, which was arranged through by Work the World before I left, and was absolutely fantastic! We were lucky enough to see all of the big 5, which was amazing! It was such a surreal experience watching all the animals in their natural environment instead of in a zoo or on television. It was such fun to go with other WTW students and experience it altogether; we had a lot of laughs and giggles! We stayed in the park to watch the sunset and got some fabulous pictures. We stayed in tented accommodation with proper beds and mattresses. We had a chef and the food was delicious! We had a campfire and ate marshmallows whilst listening to Maasai stories from our chef. Going on safari was definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I will cherish forever.

I visited Zanzibar 3 times during my 8-week placement in Tanzania! It is definitely my favourite place in the world and I have such good memories from my trips there! The island has white sandy beaches and crystal blue sea clearer than a swimming pool, PARADISE! We went to the famous Kendwa rocks party on the Saturday night in the north part of the island! Where saw the very entertaining traditional dancing, acrobatics and the Michael Jackson tribute then followed by a disco! The pizzas and cocktails are amazing! During my time in Zanzibar I also went snorkeling, swam with dolphins, went on the spice tour and the sunset ‘booze cruise’.

Finally, some advice for future students based on my time away:

  1. Buy a guidebook they are helpful for finding nice restaurants for the weekends or interesting places to visit in free time.
  2. Get a currency card - they are handy when you are abroad because they aren’t linked to your bank account and often are insured if lost or stolen. They are also a safer alternative to carry around a lot of cash (WTW can recommend a good one)
  3. Bring a mosquito net with you as although one is provided in the WTW house, you may need one if you are travelling around because in some hotels they are either not provided or have holes in!
  4. Take advantage of the free weekly language lessons, as they are beneficial for learning the basics.
  5. Bring an extra camera battery and memory card, you might need it!
  6. Ask your university to let you know if there are any other students from your university travelling to the same place as you may be able to fly out together that way it’s not as daunting!
  7. Keep in touch with all your new work the world friends. 12 of us who visited Dar es Salaam over the summer recently met up in Manchester for an ‘Africa reunion’. It was lovely to see everyone again especially not in our Africa clothing on! Haha.
  8. Make sure you visit Zanzibar don’t be put off by the bad publicity recently because it is a beautiful place and I felt very safe there.
  9. Don’t waste a minute of your time in Tanzania – I did a lot, but could have done a huge amount more!

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