After an eventful few days in the boma and a visit through the Ngorongoro Crater, a restful and relaxing weekend in Monduli was much appreciated. We took the time to shower and wash our clothes, as at it had been 3-4 days. We had learned quickly to embrace the dirt, sweat, and grime. It was part of what made our trip so unique.
On Sunday, Killing’ot, our guide, took a few students and myself to explore the Maasai market. It was smaller, but very similar to the market we visited in Monduli Chini before going to Mbarangati. Tarps were neatly arranged on the ground and covered with fresh fruits, vegetables, shoes, notebooks, and school uniforms. The air smelt of sweet citrus. After the market, we ate lunch in the tiniest restaurant, the Flamingo. I ordered ndizi na nyama, which is a beef stew made with plantains. It was one of my favorite things I ate in Tanzania. On our way back to the lodge, we stopped at the “supermarket,” a small shop with dried goods such as bread, cookies, peanut butter, Snickers bars, and mango juice. The familiarity of these products were a comfort to many of the students, so the shop was frequently visited. Our schedule up until this weekend had been so busy, so a more relaxing and slower paced few days was nice. It provided us the free time to explore the town, play games, and catch up on sleep.
Monday morning we visited the District hospital in Monduli. The medical system in Tanzania is separated between private and government facilities. The government hospitals are arranged in a tier. The most basic level is the dispensary, which is located within the villages and contains a doctor or maybe only a nurse. The next level is the district level, which provides basic surgical, general practice, and obstetric care. The regional and specialized hospitals are next and located only in the big cities. The level and quality of care increases as the facility moves up the tier. The care received at a government hospital is much cheaper but worse quality than the private hospitals, however, most people in Tanzania cannot afford to visit a private hospital. One of the most interesting things I learned was that at the government hospitals, patients with diabetes or HIV receive free health care. I was surprised by this because these illnesses require frequent visits and a lot of medical supplies that would cost the government a lot. We learned that there is an extreme drug shortage within hospitals and patients often have to travel elsewhere to purchase their prescriptions. So its possible that the government doesn’t include medication in its healthcare coverage. Visiting the hospital and talking with the medical director was extremely interesting, especially since half of the students in our group are considering medical school in the near future.
Our time in Monduli was restful and relaxing and allowed us to prepare for our last boma stay.