I should write pages and pages about today but will have to settle for scrawling a few lines, if I can stay awake long enough.
Our farewell to the villagers, always emotionally overwhelming, seemed especially powerful this year because of Daniel Amma’s unexpected presence: it turns out his wife had suffered a miscarriage in her attempt to have a third child, and the doctors at the Catholic mission hospital see no reason to suspect cancer despite her vaginal bleeding. Although miscarriages do not often occasion joy, this was an exception. Now Dr. Susan will return to California with the conviction that she needs to find a way to get an ultrasound machine for the mission hospital.
Our concern for the Ammas had crowded out our previous worries about Daniel’s colleague at Ufani School, Rehema, whom Marianne and I have known since 2007, also the year we met Daniel. After her first child was stillborn last December, she miscarried in March and now comes to work less and less. Susan tells us that doctors in the United States have established reliable protocols for treating the kind of depression that afflicts Rehema, whereas treatment here seems to consist of courage and prayer. One could do a lot worse, yet it’s not modern medicine. Susan had wanted to see Rehema to discuss treatment with her, but she never showed up at school during the past week and did not appear for the farewell ceremony.
Judging by the Tanzanians’ speeches at the ceremony, Susan’s microscope made the biggest hit of our visit. She had brought it with the intention of donating it to Ufani School until Sadock Wilson, the doctor at the local public health clinic, saw it. His eyes lit up—and for good reason, as we heard today from Tanzanian speaker after speaker. Sadock’s tiny clinic in Dareda Kati Town now becomes the only rural clinic out of forty-nine in the Babati District which has ever had a microscope.
I want to write more but, at the moment, nothing seems as important as sleep.—Don Stoll