After match day, I had a couple other electives at UH, and then I went to Tanzania for just over three weeks. One blog post cannot even begin to do that trip justice, but I'll do my best. I went with the program Work the World in Arusha, and I cannot recommend them enough. It was not cheap, but it was incredibly well-run, safe, fun, and gave me an incredible experience at Mt. Meru Regional Hospital.
I spent two weeks in the general medicine department, and I learned an amazing amount in my time there. The Tanzanian doctors were great to work with, and I got a lot of hands-on experience. I learned how to make do with very limited supplies (probably the most valuable thing I learned), I learned about typhoid and malaria and HIV and TB, and I learned so much about the amazing Tanzanian and Massai patients.
|the female ward (pics taken and posted with permission)|
|families waiting for visiting hours outside the ward|
|mzungu Dominic learning on rounds|
But enough about medicine - in those two weeks, I also got to visit St. Jude's, an amazing school for gifted but poor Tanzanian children; help out at two orphanages (Neema House and Paradiso); take a traditional Tanzanian cooking class; drink Konyagi; and go on a three-day safari to the Serengeti and to the Ngorongoro Crater with a fellow medical student on my program. We had a fantastic time, and saw all of the Big Five + some extras (like my personal favorite, the zebras).
|the beautiful Serengeti|
|Sarah and I in our jeep!|
|zebras are cool.|
And after the program, I climbed Kilimanjaro. It was very rainy, very very difficult, and I definitely got altitude sickness (which involved some vomit, and a lot of me trying to convince myself in the middle of the night that I had pulmonary edema... I didn't).
I (slowly) made it to the top with the help of my amazing guide Nicholaus and the rest of the crew. I cried on the first night because I was alone in a tent and I was wet and muddy and there was a giant spider and I don't like ANY of those things and I was like, "WHAT am I doing here?!" but after that first night, don't worry, I got more and more miserable the higher and wetter I got. But I was really good at faking smiles for pictures whenever the rain briefly stopped...
|only day 2 - not too miserable yet|
|but views like this made it worth it (I guess)|
|Uhuru peak. Phew. 5,895 m (19,341 feet) high!|
I suppose it was worth it because now I can say I climbed Kilimanjaro! And that's pretty cool. But I'm oh so glad it's over. :)
|Kilimanjaro beer > Kilimanjaro mountain|
Once I returned to the US, there was that minor thing called medical school graduation, and officially this blog is a misnomer because I am no longer a medical student, but Dr. Elena Welt, MD. After graduation, I packed up my apartment, had to say good-bye to my awesome roomie of FOUR years, and now I live in DC!
|My amazing parents without whom I couldn't have done any of the things I've done.|