Monday, August 17, 2015

Wrapping up in Tanzania

The conference is over, only a few hours left in Tanzania.  My time here was not always easy, but very memorable and so much has happened that I am still tying to process it all. Stepping out of the role of a university student and being a hands-on worker in a medical setting was refreshing. This does not mean I did not learn anything, in fact the opposite is true; I was like a sponge, soaking up information about engineering and culture these past two months.

I now also have the confidence to try to fix and troubleshoot devices. One of our projects involved totally rewiring a surgery lamp which I was hesitant to do at first because I had never done an electronics project of that magnitude. Here is a picture of Camilla with the original lamp insides that took 240V but stepped down to 24V and had 25 Watt special German bulbs. We could not figure out what exactly was wrong, it most likely a bad bridge or transformer so instead of wasting more time, we bypassed everything. We found 220V LED bulbs that could be found in Moshi for a reasonable 10,000 Tsh, ~$5.00 USD and altered the insides so that the bulbs could fit. This means that the hospital can easily replace the bulbs and the lamp will not get hot which is important for the staff in the summer months and long surgery. I really do not know if this surgery lamp will be used but I have hope.
The bottom of the lamp
The final product before we put the top on. You can see the hose clamps we had to use on the bulb holders because they were so much larger. There were not that many options of bulbs in Tanzania.
I made some great friends and really got to know the hospital staff. Below is another picture of Wingod, a student engineer who worked at our hospital. He really helped us out whenever he could and was always eager to learn.
This is me and Head Nurse of Orthopedics, Kwai. We had just returned one of many autoclave boxes we had fixed. These were really small items and simple fixes but they were really important to the hospital. 
I am definitely going to miss my Danish engineering partner Camilla. We had so much fun and kept each other sane with cookie and chai breaks. Due to lack of electricity, we made a lot of bracelets-below you can see our swapped flags-her with american colors and mine with Danish! Even though we came from different parts of the world, engineering and our curiosity to try more brought us together.



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