Dr. Skip Goes Back to Africa

You might infer that it’s really lovely in Sumbawanga this time of year because my dad keep going back.

But after listening to his tales about giant bugs and airless hotel rooms, somehow, I don’t think he’s there for the spa atmosphere.

For the fourth summer in a row, my father has traveled to a remote hospital in Tanzania to volunteer his surgical services to the local population. Each year, he’s tried to leave the hospital in better shape than he found it, personally shlepping supplies – not just obvious things like medicine and syringes, but really basic stuff like light bulbs – because everything, except for septic waste, is hard to come by in East Africa.

Last year he even brought a secret superpower, My Brother the Doctor, and together they were like a tremendous tag team of sanitary surgical sanity, performing and teaching simple procedures that we take for granted here in the U.S. (Much as we rail against health care, at least we have some.)

Dad’s always kept a fascinating – if kinda gory – blog of his experiences, and this year is no different. However, according to his last two posts, things are not going so well.

It seems that many of his efforts of his past visits have not been maintained, and the staff at the hospital appears beyond incompetent, letting a young boy’s IV lines dry up and taking off for days at a time. It’s enough to make even the most enthusiastic person question whether traveling around the world to help those who won’t help themselves is worth it, and Dr. Skip is feeling the frusturations:

There is simply not the will to do things right nor the capacity to teach people to change.

Please, if you some time today, read his blog, offer a comment of encouragement, remind him why he’s there. And please, keep Dr. Skip in your prayers.

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