Tomorrow is my last day at the Jambiani Wellness Center as a volunteer chiropractor; I can’t believe how quickly these past six weeks have gone! What a remarkable experience for this small town American gal! It is difficult to put into words how much my time here has meant to me. To begin with, I am filled with such a deep gratitude. Pat and Alastair have hearts of gold; I have been truly blessed to be a small part of their vision to serve the people here. Both the school (run by Mama Pat) and clinic (Dr. Ali Baba’s) have fantastic reputations across the entire island. So a huge thank you to Pat, Alastair, and the volunteer teachers for all that you do!
A little about my time here… The island of Zanzibar truly is its own little paradise, worlds apart from what so many of us Westerners are familiar with. How can one not be in a constant state of joy when you get to start your morning off with either a jog on the white sand beaches or yoga surrounded by brilliantly colored tropical flowers? Along with enjoying the lovely weather, beautiful beaches, and suffering from TR (terminal relaxation) I’ve gotten to do and see several things. Spent one day snorkeling and exploring the wide variety of sea life along the reef. Went into Stonetown and had fun looking through all the small shops, then sat down for a lovely dinner and African sunset. Enjoyed several nights eating at small local restaurants and listening to local Reggae music. Everyday I learned something new about the heavily influenced Muslim culture here on the island and I’m sure there is still so much more to learn! Next time…
However, without a doubt, the best part of my trip has been working (or can we call it playing?) in the clinic. This chance to help and interact with the locals has truly touched my heart. I can only hope that I have left these people with as much love as I have felt from them. I was stunned by the compassion and care I saw as entire families would come into the clinic to support one another. It was exciting to see how every single patient diligently followed through with home exercises and nutritional recommendations (please remember this is despite huge financial limitations). People would travel several hours by public transportation (or even come from the mainland of Tanzania) to seek care. I loved how many times I was asked to explain what was ailing a patient and what they, themselves, could do about it (ie not being asked for a quick miracle pill instead). And I was brought to tears watching a stroke patient- who had been carried into the clinic- walk, with some assistance, out with determination and hope etched upon her face.
As a young practitioner, this was the best way imaginable to start off my chiropractic career- I am so grateful. Asante sana to all of you that I have had the pleasure of meeting during my stay. I will never forget this time and know it will guide me to serve from my heart as I have seen so many people here do. If you are a wellness practitioner looking for an adventure and to serve, this is the place for you!
With all my love,