postheadericon Solidarity In The Struggle

To be in solidarity with others requires first that we know them, and then together in that relationship, we join in their struggle for the things that they value.

As we neared the end of the first week, we spent time reflecting on our greatest personal accomplishment in the past few days. The common theme was the relationships that we built and nurtured and what was accomplished through working side by side for our common values.

We saw everyone, including physicians and facilities, pitching in to get the old x-ray system out and the new one in. Students were brought in from the technical and brought their joy and enthusiasm for being involved. Kevin got to witness the transformation of quiet and shy students to empowered and proactive participants and experience “the teacher in him coming out.”

Members of our team that had travelled in the past have seen the culmination of clinical skills previously taught in practice and are able to focus on building and adding competencies versus teaching the same skills again.   This is through the relationships they have established and are now seen as “part of the community of ALMC and Selian.”

Training classes have been packed and day by day the numbers have grown, the enthusiasm is contagious. The collective solidarity is shown through people travelling from Selian and the nursing school daily to learn and work for the common good.

Technology projects that were started 18 months ago are being completed in collaboration with the local IT team.

There have been many meetings focused on patient safety and planning to address opportunities to improve the quality of care. This is a breakthrough from previous years because of the alliance in the teams and the joint passion for patient safety.

Personal accomplishments came through simply doing something they did not think they would be able to do and pushing themselves to build relationships because Tanzanians are relational beings. Some were very apprehensive about coming to Africa but met people that have touched them in some way and now feel that kinship and a sense of comfort. Growth comes sometimes just in walking through the door of a patient room or a home with a hospice patient. It is recognizing that poverty can look different than we expect and that we are all poor in some way, whether it be material, physical, spiritual, or systemic poverty.

Accomplishments come through random acts like playing with the children at the Plaster House knowing that the care and infrastructure we are all working together to build will have a lasting effect on the lives of children that are sometimes the most marginalized in our society.

We come as a team from the US and struggle together with our Tanzanian brothers and sisters. This is the only way we will be able to succeed as a whole.

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