Voices From Tanzania, 3 of 4: What if…
This week we bring you a series of blog posts written by participants in Amizade’s summer service-learning course in Tanzania. The posts were written by program participants in response to their work with women from one of Amizade’s community partners, Women Emancipation & Development Agency (WOMEDA).
Interviewer: “Did your husband get treatment, such as medication for his tuberculosis?”
Woman: “He tried to get treatment, but he couldn’t make it to the hospital in time.”
She speaks softly in a voice that seems lost, telling us about her husband’s demise. They had a great relationship, she tells us, looking off in the distance, shading her eyes from the warm sun. We are sitting outside on woven mats in a small clearing amongst the banana trees. Her small, mud and cement house sits to my left and to my right is a large group of local children staring at us. I feel their eyes on my pale skin and hear their laughs as we ask questions. A lump rises in my throat when my eyes meet our interviewee’s; hers’ are sullen, tired, and lonely. When we ask how her husband passed away, I am shocked when she says he could not get to the hospital in time –it is four or five kilometers away and it is a challenge to get a car to come where they live, so they would have had to walk. I try to imagine a man with tuberculosis, a lung disease, having to walk up and down the winding, narrow dirt paths that are filled with ruts, rocks, and vehicles. He would have had to fight the red-clay dust clouds filling his lungs, the fatigue from the hot sun beating down, and dehydration from exertion caused by the grueling walk. What if a physician traveled through the village? What if healthcare were more accessible to this population? What if a car ride was more reliable? What if health education and medication were dispersed? If these questions were answered, this woman’s husband may have had a better opportunity to fight for his life.
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