I got a call from my dear friend Joseph. He is my communication connection to many Maasai friends. My little friend, Yasi, was very sick and repeatedly vomiting up the medicine she had been given for malaria and giardia. I had Joseph tell the mother to bring her to the FAME Clinic where I was confident she would be provided the resources to get well.
Severely dehydrated and malnourished upon her arrival, Dr. Frank explained that she needed to be put on an IV drip immediately. Unfortunately, she was so dehydrated and her veins so small, they could not get the line in. After many attempts all over her body they finally got the IV into a vein in her head. She stayed in the observation room at FAME throughout the day, receiving fluids and medication to treat the malaria and giardia.
I checked in on them from time to time and Yasi was resting peacefully, with her mother sitting on the bed next to her. Monica, a FAME Nurse Assistant who is also Maasai, went to great lengths to explain everything that was happening to the Mother in her tribal language. After returning a second day for IV fluids and medicine, Yasi looked so much better.
It was time to discuss what should be done about her malnutrition. You see, Yasi is almost 4 years old and her weight is just over 17 lbs. Pooling our resources, we learned of a program in a city roughly two hours away, where she could be placed on a special feeding program over a 10-day period. With FAME offering to finance her stay, the next step was returning to her boma, explaining the situation to Norkoranga’s father, and securing his permission to enroll mother and child in the program. He agreed and thanked me for my help.
Ten days later we received news that mother and child were doing well and could be discharged from the program. Babu, the head security guard at FAME Medical, who is also Maasai, agreed to accompany me to the boma to translate. As a Maasai male, I felt his voice would be helpful. When we arrived all the women and children came out to greet us. We were invited for food in Norkorianga’s mothers home, where Babu explained each and every thing he learned about good nutrition and Yasi’s needs to Norkorianga’s mother and Yasi’s two uncles. Using their Mother Tongue, he talked about the importance of good nutrition in making children strong so their body can fight illnesses, and they thanked us for helping Yasi to get well. I
In Tanzania, as in most of the world, it takes a network of people to make things happen. Family, friends, coworkers and medical personnel all worked together for the good of Yasi. She is back home now and doing great!
– Pam McClendon, FAME Volunteer Coordinator
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