Location: Glasgow, UK
We've returned! Just in case you weren't aware! We've been back for almost 3weeks now and things are slowly getting back to normal after a little bit of culture shock re-entering the beast which is NHS Scotland!
People have been nagging me to update the photos so I have obliged at last! Sorry it's taken so long! There are still some more to come but I can't be bothered right now to put them on!
As we all made it up Kili we are now collecting sponsorhip - so PAY UP!!! And if you didn't sponsor us before we went its not too late - jus send cash/cheques to one of us!
We're also doing a sponsored half marathon for the hospital in malawi so if you'd like to sponsor us for that then feel free!!
Ed (and ewan and ewan)
We know, we know, we know!!! We've been awful at keeping in touch with people and we apologise profusely (wish there was a spell checker on this thing!), but honestly it wasn't our fault! If the internet in Mzuzu had been any slower we might have thought our 5th yr blocks had been put up on time. As it was we spent the whole of our weekly trip to the internet trying to download the blocks, used up copious amounts of cash and each time found that, once again, the medical school had surpassed itself in it's tardiness! The long and the short being that we didn't have time, money (nor, perhaps, inclination) to spend time communicating with people, so sorry once again!
Anyway, a quick up date of the story so far..... we started off in Tanzania, honing our african medical skills (i.e. getting used to medicine without the benefit of investigations and procedures). My main impression from these 3weeks being that you could stop people complaining about the bed crisis in the NHS if you simply told them they could 'double up' - the wards in Teule often doubling (tripling) capacity in this way!
We then had a hop, skip and a jump up to Moshi from where we had a hop skip and a jump up Africa's highest peak... Kilimanjaro. From then on anytime someone said "Hands up who's climbed Kilimanjaro?" three hands shot in the air. Sad, we know, but are we ashamed - I think not!
Then we met up again with Jess and Karen... the two paediatric nursing students from Brummy-town we'd met in Teule for a quick whizz in a 4x4 round some of Tanzania's amazing national parks! After seeing our first zebra and taking a million photo's each, we quickly realised that there are certain animals in africa which are complete photo-whores and every photo we took seemed to include token zebra, wilderbeast, antelope (various varieties), warthog and a giraffe. I'm even tempted to place elephants in this category apart from the fact that they were so impressive!
It was a shame that Bob (the zebra) lost his battle with the lions but he fought bravely to the end, it also meant his mates could go get some water and it made great viewing pleasure. He should really have known that white and black stripes are really no match for tooth and claw. (Apologies to any of Karen's relatives who might be offended by the name Bob, any relation to real people or places is strenuously denied... although wasn't it Karen who suggested the name.... yes! in fact i think she wanted to call him Uncle Bob.......??) (ha!ha! no xmas presents this year Kaz!)
What next.... oh yes, I really must mention the Scandinavian bus service from Moshi to Dar. No people in the aisles. No people sitting on knees. No luggage on the roof. No animals in sacks and crates trying to peck/claw at your eyes. Not even a cockroach!! We were given 2 sodas (each!) (with straw!!!) and a pack of biscuits (sealed, and in-date) and these were INCLUDED IN THE PRICE!!! Move over Mega-bus!! 5hours passed like a dream.
Back in Dar, reality hit home. Ewan B has the knack of attracting weirdos, I don't know how he does it. There were a lot of weirdos in Dar. Anyway, our spirits were lifted when not only did we find a Barclay's Bank, which accepted cirrus but also.... a SUBWAY (no not a subterranean railway - the american sandwich chain). 3 Subs each later and we vowed to come back the next day! As if things couldn't get any better and we walked passed a book shop, where-in was the new Harry Potter!!! All I can say is, it was a good job there was a cirrus cash machine that day.
We went on a very crowded Dhalla Dhalla to the railway station to book tickets for the train to Malawi. Mums, you would rightly, and collectively, have feared for our lives if you'd have seen the transport that day. We vowed to take a taxi when we went back to catch the train.
We went for a another day of bliss on a beach near Dar somewhere in here - it was fabulous.
After the train ride down to Mbeya, things seemed to be going smoothly.
AERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGG- GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH- HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH- HH I just lost what I was typing. I'll take a break and finish this later!!!
Location: Mzuzu, Malawi
Sorry for the lack of updates to the site - internet access here is limited and VERY slow. We've been trying to find out online which placements we have when we get back, but as usual the medical school is running late.
Since our last message a month ago, we have been on safari (visited Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara, seeing most animals, including the Big 5, the only notable absentees being the elusive leopards); went to the beach in Dar Es Salaam (much nicer than the rest of the city); travelled to Malawi without any major hitches; and have spent the last 3 weeks based at Ekwendeni hospital.
The hospital is very friendly - we were warmly welcomed and have been for dinner at some of the local ex-pats houses, with another meal on the way tonight! As well as enjoying the hospitality (food is an easy way to our hearts), in the hospital, we have found the English skills of medical staff to be much better and that the nursing staff here are considerably more efficient than those in Tanzania.
Last week we travelled to the south of Malawi to climb the highest mountain in Malawi and Central Africa - Mount Mulanje. At a little over 3000m, it isn't quite in the same league as Kili, but was an enjoyable hike spread over three days. For this climb, we carried our own rucksacks and cooked our own food, which made it feel less like cheating. Since it was a full day's drive each way, we sadly had to take three days off work in the hospital to go, but it was our supervisor who took us, so it was acceptable skiving.
We've only got three more days work in the hospital now before the return journey back up to Tanzania and then a taxing few days on the beach in Zanzibar.
Two weeks from now, we'll be almost finshed our first day of placements somewhere in the UK (could be anywhere between Middlesborough and Inverness!)
Apologies again for lack of communication.
Hope you are all well and not missing us too much!
Location: Moshi, Tanzania
All three of us made it to the top of Kili!!
In spite of some interesting symptoms, we all arrived at Uhuru Peak at 6.30, in time for a gorgeous sunrise, the fastest time our guides have ever done with tourists. On the way, Ewan T experienced some breathlessness and even managed some mild ataxia near the top and Ed was nauseous all the way, holding off from vomiting until 200 yards from the summit. As we turned the corner after cleaning Ed up, we saw the peak, and our spirits soared. A mix of tears and giggles ensued as we skipped the last few steps to the summit!
Having taken 4.5 hours to climb, running down the scree from Gillman's Point to base camp took just over 30 mins and put big smiles on all of our faces!
Further down the mountain, Ed developed a headache, with misty vision and haloes around lights, which we assume was due to raised intraocular pressure due to cerebral oedema, however, some Diamox cleared it up fairly quickly.
Now we're in Moshi, about to set off on a 3 day safari to Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Crater and Tanganire Game Reserve.
We tried to upload photos, but the connection here's very slow - sorry. We'll put them on as soon as we have a chance.
Hope everyone's surviving at home without us!
Location: Teule Hospital, Muheza, Tanzania
We figure that now we've embarked on week three of our tantalizing Tanzanian trip we should really have written more than two diary entries!! So here goes....
As most people have probably gathered, our first weekend in Tanzania was spent recovering from the luxury of our accomodation at the hospital by the beach in Pangani!! It was nice to have a hot shower but to be honest just having running water in the mornings was a novelty!
After a leisurly lunch, some swimming (well, wave jumping anyway) we were getting used to being the only people in the Tinga Tinga resort we were staying at. Dinner was delicious - mainly fresh sea food delivered by bicycle and to order!
The following day, we embarked on a cruise in one of the local fishing Dhows. Health and safety features were somewhat lacking on this vessel although we were provided with an old flask in case we needed to bail out! As the trip progressed Ewan T's shade of green got steadly darker, although Mrs T, he was a little soldier and didn't really complain until about an hour into the trip when a meek voice piped up at the back 'can we go back to shore now?!' To his credit, he didn't feed the fish, and after the long walk back along the white sandy beach, we all tucked in to a super lunch.
After a rickety bus journey back to the world of bucket showers and crouching toilets, we were ready to start our second week which turned out to be much busier! A shortage of doctors in the hospital meant the we all managed to take ward rounds at some point, EB on paeds and ET and EP on general medicine. Only about 4patients died (mostly when Ed was in charge) although in my defense mainly due to a lack of oxygen or terminal illness. It takes a bit of getting used to when patients are two (plus) to a bed, cyanosed and the (single) oxygen concentrator doesn't work! Many seem to come to the wards with an incorrect history which we try and correct through an interpreter (aka nursing student) althogth it is a little disconcerting when 5mins of swahili is translated as 'no, they don't have a cough!'!!
Last weekend we spent in Tanga (Tanzania's 3rd City) only 30mins away by car after enjoying steak and red wine on the lawn of a rather nice hotel all for $8pp inc tip, we ventured down to the Swimming club for a dip in the Indian ocean. Ed and ETswam out
for a loop round a moored boat 500m out to sea, which seemed to get further and further away the more we swam. We made it (there and back!) and much to Ed's relief there were no sharks in sight.
Sunday we spent relaxing back at the hospital and making fish stew (they don't fillet it for you here and the flies add extra protein although this is pretty safe compared to the milk with giardia included at no extra cost) in preparation for our final week at Teule. We're all looking forward to our impending ascent of Kili, starting this sunday, and we are taking bets as to which one of us will succumb to mountain sickness first!!
Thanks for all of you msgs of congratulations!! Keep them coming!
Ed Ewan and Ewan
Location: Elephant Inn, Muheza, Tanzania
We all passed all of our exams!!!
Location: Teule Hospital, Muheza, Tanzania
Salaamo toka Tanzania!
It's our second day here in the hospital and we're all still alive and well. I'd like to say we've already been saving lives, but we're still just getting used to the language and the local system. We have seen many signs and illnesses in these first two days. The first basic rule of medicine here - if in doubt give them quinine tds!
Exams on Thursday and Friday last week were great fun! We'll hopefully find out in three weeks how we did.
Friday night was a bit chaotic! Finished exams at 5 and went to Brae's for a pint and some finger food. Packing and cleaning up took a bit longer than expected, so we didn't arrive in Perth til after midnight, at which point Ed got his head shaved. By the time we got to bed, it was after 2am and we had to be up by 4.
Saturday went without a hitch. Ethiopian Airlines provided good food and the oldest plane any of us have ever been on! We were worried at first that we wouldn't make it off the ground, however our worries increased when we realised the pilot wasn't proficient at landing either! Nevertheless, we made it to Addis Ababa safely and the rest of the journey faded into sleep.
On arrival in Dar Es Salaam, we found our way to the 'luxury' bus - a definition based on the number of seats in each row and not on the quality of interior or the driving. Luckily we were in time to catch the 8.30am bus to Tanga, which left at 9.45am after a sweaty wait. 20mins into the journey, there was a loud bang as one of the tyres blew up! So, careering across the road to a lay-by on the other side, we pulled over for a tyre change and toilet stop, where Ewan T teased the spiders. The rest of the journey was fairly uneventful - we alleviated concern for the safety of our luggage (and lives) by sleeping most of the time. Ewan B was particularly popular with the local ladies - waking up to find a new one in his lap every half hour!
On arrival at Teule Hospital, it was encouraging to know that we weren't expected and that our luxury accommodation was already occupied. However, everyone was very friendly - always happy to point and stare and we managed to make it into town for a couple of Safari beers!
We have now met our supervisors who were away for the weekend. We have picked up a bit of the local lingo - we can count to 10 and at least we can say 3 cold beers please (bieri tatoo babaridi tafadhali).
We are in the process of uploading some photos of our luxurious accomodation and we know you'll all be jealous when you see them. We'll update you again soon.
Location: Dastardly Dundee, Scotland
Well the countdown is on...4th year finished on Friday and in less than 7days time we will have left the dirt and driving rain of Dundee behind ready for a tantalizing taste of Tanzania!
We have sorted our money, most of our walking gear and clothes. I've written a packing list the length of my arm and ET's hallway is chocka with medical supplies courtesy of Mama Tevendale (Cheers!) for us to take out to the hospitals we are going to be working in! We're still collecting sponsers for the trek up tanzania, so if you want to donate something let us know and we'll come and get it off you when we get back!
None of the money will go towards our trip but it will all be donated to the hospitals (Teule Hospital, Muheza, Tanga Region Tanzania and Ekwendeni Hospital, nr Mzuzu, Malawi - if you do a google search you should find something) these places are really basic and any donation is gratefully appreciated! We're working in Tanzania for 3weeks before the trek and hopefully on the summit of Kilimanjaro on the 3rd August!!
The only thing we've got to do now is pass our exams.... Revision is erm.... going - wish us luck!!
Will update on Friday before we leave hopefully with photos of the our newly shaved heads!! And will let you know how the exams went :oS !!
ewan ewan ed
Location: Dunders!, UK
Although our acronym, somewhat unfortunately, is KKK we have no affilliation with that particular organisation (thanks for pointing that out Steven). In fact, we hadn't even noticed that our use of iteration could be so controversial. Besides, we'd look awful in hoods! Plays havoc with the hairstyle.
ciao for now!
Location: Dundee, UK
Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3!!
As you can probably tell, we are hard at work revising for our exams and not playing around setting up web pages.
So far we've been jagged a total of 20 times between us in preparation for the trip. The trek up Kilimanjaro, via the Marangu Route, has been booked. Our Visas have proved slightly problematic - we can definitely get in, but they seem relectant to let us back in a second time to catch our flights home - our reputation precedes us - once is normally enough for most people!
Watch this space!