Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Welcoming Our Brothers and Sister from Tanzania

Last week was difficult for us Americans…especially those in Boston because of the tragic bombings. Our sentiments at GBMC included anger, sadness, and dismay. However we ended the week on a hopeful note.

Since 2009, through Gilchrist Hospice Care, we have had a partnership with the Nkoaranga Lutheran Hospital in Tanzania. Since then, we have donated just more than $100,000 to help our African partners with their work. Over the past two years, we have sent two small delegations to visit Nkoaranga and last week they sent a group to visit us.

Our visitors included Mr. Jeremiah Kaaya, the Hospital Administrator, Ms. Sarah Swai, the Director of Nursing, and Dr. Bartholomew Bakari, a physician and medical director of their Palliative Care program.

I spent some time chatting with our visitors before taking them on a tour of our main campus along with Tony Riley, MD, our Chief of Geriatrics and Medical Director of Gilchrist Greater Living; Cathy Hamel, our Vice President for Post-Acute Services and Executive Director of Gilchrist Hospice Care; and Debbie Jones, the Director of Volunteer Services at Gilchrist. We went to Unit 35, the SICU, the Newborn Nursery, the Dance Center, the cafeteria and a number of other places. Our guests were impressed with all of the resources that we have and the fact that in the U.S. almost all babies are born in the hospital (not the case in Tanzania).  

After the tour, our visitors gave a one hour presentation on their country, their region, and their work. Mr. Bill Benson, Cathy’s husband, did an excellent job of facilitating a question and answer period. I was amazed at how much our colleagues from abroad accomplish with so few resources. Most in the audience were re-energized and more than one person told me that they were going to make a special donation to help them.

The major underlying cause of the catastrophe in Boston is hatred. Hatred often begins with a fundamental lack of knowledge of the other. Working to communicate and understand people both in our country and in other countries is one thing that we can do to reduce the hatred that often leads to violence. Reaching out to others in a spirit of friendship, and seeking mutual understanding and respect is wonderful work to help bring peace to the world. 

Our relationship with our friends at the Nkoaranga Lutheran Hospital is a wonderful example of this and spending some time with these friends last week helped lessen the sadness of the events earlier in the week. 


  1. Akufaaye kwa dhiki ndiye rafiki.
    This is a swahili proverb that means: "A friend in need, is a friend indeed".

  2. Please remind our GBMC family that the Nkoranga hospice volunteers need cell phones to communicate from the field, and Gilchrist asked us to donate any old (still working) cellphone and charger for that purpose. They're looking for 50. Thank you!

    1. The representatives should contact their contacts in the US for resources. We have plenty on resources just need to reach out.

  3. Thank you very much our friends, God bless you all for what you have done so far.


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