Manchester Metropolitan University 2023

Nursing, Tanzania Dar es Salaam

I chose to travel to Tanzania as it is home to several different national parks and I wanted to explore the wildlife. I wanted somewhere that I was probably not going to have the chance to visit again, and it really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The placement was eye-opening. When I first arrived I was surprised by the struggles staff were facing, but they were all still positive about everything. It was a raw experience and the lack of equipment and resources they had was challenging to witness. However, the staff were all amazing. They wanted us to learn and achieve our best.

I fed and washed a baby, which I had not done before, and played a part during a birth. I also observed a patient receive stitches. As an adult nursing student, these were areas that I would not have been able to see in England. However, after being exposed to the skills and knowledge of the local midwives, it’s an area I’d like to look more into.

I spent a week on Work the World’s village healthcare experience. While I was there, a lady came in to give birth. When the baby was finally born, it was not breathing and was declared stillborn. It was a shock because this was the first time I had ever seen anything like it. I noticed there wasn’t a lot of support for the mother who had just been through this traumatic experience, and that was even more challenging to see.

From what I saw, the biggest difference between healthcare in Tanzania and the UK was the lack of resources. If Tanzania had the money to support the staff with better equipment, there would be better outcomes for patients. At first, I struggled with the lack of sterilisation and with how slow everything seemed. It made me more grateful for the equipment and training we have in the NHS.

I learnt a lot about the value of teamwork and how to keep a positive attitude no matter the situation.

Outside of placement in the evenings, me and my housemates were always doing something, like eating in the nearby Thai and Lithuanian restaurants. We also went down to Slipway to get cocktails or just stayed in and watched films in the house. Some nights we sat by the pool having a chat.

Wednesdays were karaoke nights and Thursdays were BBQ nights, and these really helped people come out of their shells.

During weekends we explored further. We visited local islands where we tried fresh fish caught the same day. Going to Zanzibar was the best experience. Seeing the huge tortoises and seeing all the fish while snorkelling. We were also lucky enough to go and see some reggae performances which was amazing!

During the village week, we were always doing something in the afternoons — riding bikes in Zanzibar, weaving, going on spice tours, watching acrobatics shows, holding snakes and visiting the local beach while treating ourselves to some juicy pineapple from the local market. I was also fortunate enough to go on a safari, where I saw so many amazing animals.

If you want to do a placement like this, just do it. You only live once, so just go. It is an eye-opening experience and you will be welcomed into a different culture and way of life. It also is something to talk about to your future employers!

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