Volunteering in Moshi, Tanzania and exploring everything this wonderful country has to offer
I volunteered in Tanzania on the medical programme in June 2022 for 4 weeks as part of my elective placement at Edinburgh University. I first heard of The Mighty Roar through instagram, and decided to volunteer with them as the projects appeared very well planned and were the best in terms of cost for any of the other companies I had looked at.
The pre-departure information was fantastic. I was made aware of how to get a visa, the best ways to book flights and important information about the culture in Tanzania. I found the checklist particularly helpful, and it meant that I didn't feel that I had forgotten anything once I had arrived.
"I cannot recommend this project enough. I will definitely be visiting Tanzania again, and can't wait to undertake my Medical Elective next year with the Mighty Roar. "
I travelled alone, which I found quite daunting but I was able to contact other volunteers through the facebook group who were already in Tanzania and those travelling at the same time as me.
I was picked up directly off my flight and had the option to buy a sim card at the airport.
I was welcomed into the Comfy Stay Hotel by Emmanuel who gave a tour and told me everything I would need to know whilst staying at the Hostel. Emmanuel also gave us an orientation on the first Sunday morning where he arranged our Visas for us. This time also allowed us all to meet other volunteers.
I spent 4 weeks at St Joseph's hospital, Moshi, volunteering Monday to Friday from 8am to 1pm with around 10 other medical students. During this time I participated in the ward round every morning and then followed up the patients throughout the day. I also spent time in theatre, and a lot of time on the Labour ward.
This placement differs hugely to my hospital experience in the UK, but I found I learned so much in a short period of time. The medicine is all taught in English,but the Tanzanian medical students spent time translating the consultations from Swahili and then the volunteers and students spent time with the doctor on the ward discussing the case and treatment options. We also spent a lot of time with the medical and nursing students teaching them how we do medical exams in the UK, and sharing this knowledge with the group.
I had the opportunity to participate in casting of fractures and was also involved in the theatre environment. My advice to anyone completing medical placement in St Joseph's hospital would be to follow a patient through their admission, as you learn a lot from going with the team to radiology and discussing the patient with the doctors involved.
There were so many things to do during our free time. We spent a lot of time in the town of Moshi. There are plenty of things to do in town, including visiting the gift shops (Mama Africa), and getting coffee in the local coffee shops.
The waterfall is at the bottom of Kilimanjaro and involves an amazing hike, and beautiful views at the bottom of the waterfall. You are also given the opportunity to make your own coffee from scratch. We sang songs around the fire whilst roasting coffee beans and drank coffee whilst taking in the views.
The hot springs are about an hour from the accommodation. It is an amazing swimming spot with clear waters with a rope swing and floats available for hire. There is also a market outside which is great for buying gifts. Included in the entry fee is a drink and lunch.
We paid a visit to the animal sanctuary which is about an hour away from the Comfy Stay. We had an opportunity to watch the baby elephants getting fed, and visit all the animals currently in the sanctuary. The aim of this organisation is to eventually release the animals back into the wild, and it was amazing learning about the work that they do.
We took a visit to the Masaai village with Emmanuel as our guide. We were taught how the villagers live in the rural areas and took a visit to the school. We sang songs and played games with the children. We were shown to the local church and into the homes of the locals. We participated in dances with the adults in the community. It was a really great insight into how the villagers live in this remote community.
For me, the Ultimate Safari organised weekend trip was the highlight of my time in Tanzania. We were picked up from the hostel and taken straight to Tarangire National Park. We visited Lake Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara National Park. The views were amazing and nothing really compares to seeing these animals in their natural habitat. Everything was organised from pick up to drop off, including accomodation, transport and meals. We spent the evenings dancing with the locals and eating food in the camp site.
On top of this, I also went on the Zanzibar Weekend trip which was an amazing weekend and a chance to see a very different part of the country. It is a much more relaxing weekend, where there are times to chill on the beaches and have food and drinks at the amazing restaurants and bars on the island. Our guide arranged all of our excursions for us, and we had a chance to go on boat trips, and explore Stone Town and Prison Island.
I cannot recommend this project enough. I will definitely be visiting Tanzania again, and can't wait to undertake my Medical Elective next year with the Mighty Roar.