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Mayumi in Tanzania

Mayumi Mikawa, a nurse from Japan, worked in the dispensary in Iguguno and wrote long letters; here are some extracts:

MayumiSeptember (first month):

It was so - long journey!.. I was just able to see dry tree and dry sand and vast earth from the window of the car. Anyway, I arrived Iguguno safely. We have electricity, so we can use light, TV, ironing etc. Sometimes we get running water by windmill. Not every time! Depends on wind. (Now) we don't have running water at all. That's very hard! We have to draw water from a well. I'm using it little by little. Our kitchen doesn't have electric stove so we use firewood. Sometimes I gather wood, but there's plenty!...

Food is very nice here. They eat rice a lot. So I'm very happy with that. We have some papaya trees in our farm so we can eat it almost every day. They have bread and tea and coffee in the morning. They also have a kind of porridge - it looks not so attractive to eat but it tastes nice! I don't have any problem with the food here.

This dispensary was built by Italian funds. Opening times is 8am - 4pm. The diagnosis, malaria, urinary tract infection, pneumonia eye or ear infection, worms, skin infection etc. Every Wednesday we give vaccinations such as BCG, Polio, DPT-B, measles and vitamin A ...

Everything slowly here. even they walk slowly. I want to tell a lot of things here. Because everything is different, interesting, new to me!

Tanzania childrenJanuary:

Let me tell you what I like and enjoy here. One is 'song'. The songs which I have a chance to hear are gospel musics. They sing it so beautiful in Swahili. They're good at harmony using just human voice. Sometimes they use drum, that's nice. Sometimes choir practise songs behind the church. So sometimes after work, I went and sat next to the choir and enjoy listening to the songs.

There is another thing which made me happy. One mother told me that she'll come to this dispensary to check her pregnancy because of me! When I heard that I was so happy! You know, my Swahili is broken and not enough to explain what I want to tell them. So I haven't been having confidence of what I'm doing. I'm feeling it's not professional way. But at least one mother said like that! Thanks for that! I'll keep my best even it's not enough though!


Mayumi volunteering in TanzaniaCan you imagine this huge land covered by green everywhere? How rich land here is! When I arrived here first time, I wasn't able to see any fresh green at all. What I could see was just dry ground and sand and dust everywhere. But now. after their hard work I can see huge maize farm and beautiful sunflower farm! They'll make oil from that sunflower. This is so nice to see, without any chemical fertilizer they can grow so nice, I can say this land is rich and blessed well!

Since I came here I've been thinking - what is poverty? Not having TV? Not having mobile? No of course nothing like that. As you know it's not essential stuff for life. When we have good relationship with family and friends and when we're in good state of health so that we can work and get daily bread, this is the most happiest time in our life, isn't it? But once we want to have a lot of stuff, just then we start to feel we're poor. We are the one who make us poor.... But it must be hard, globalisation is everywhere even in this small village and man can't help competing as human being.