Tanzania - Mivumoni

Population facets: 

Partner Organization:  Capuchin Franciscan Sisters and Capuchin Franciscan Friars

Location: Mivumoni, Tanzania

Number of Students: 2

Dates: Site determines dates with some flexibility.

Participation Requirements:

  • Language & Proficiency Requirement: Students will be expected to learn basic Kiswahili before arriving and take initiative to learn Kiswahili on site.  An openness and desire to learning Kiswahili goes a long way. While English is the medium of instruction in higher education, a few Sisters know some English and some students may be able to communicate using basic English, but the vast majority of patients and villagers do not speak any English.  Knowing some Kiswahili and key phrases is very important especially when working in the dispensary.
  • Gender Requirement: Female
  • Required Experience:  Interest in medicine and public health is necessary. Experience in basic medical skills (i.e. EMT certified, blood pressures, vital signs, etc.) and general experience in healthcare settings is ideal and preferred.  For students working directly with doctors providing direct patient care, prior clinical experience is required. For students working in the laboratory, medical lab experience is not necessary but helpful. Interest in education and working with children and youth. Tutoring experience helpful but not necessary.
  • Major Requirement: Open to ALPP or SCPP pre-med, nursing, science majors, or healthcare related majors. Nursing and pre-medical majors, including chemistry and biology, depending on the individual’s career interests, would be most suitable for work in the dispensary.
  • Student Minimum Age:  None
  • Special Requirements: It is strongly recommended that participants have already taken or plan to take an African related course prior to summer.  Since students live with Capuchin-Franciscan sisters, students are expected to participate fully in the community and faith life of the Capuchin-Franciscan Sisters and Friars.
  • Other:  None

Special Training Required Prior to Summer Deployment:  

(The following sessions and workshops will be organized and provided by the ISSLP during the Spring semester. Additional training sessions may be added as needed.)

Students are strongly encouraged to attend introductory Kiswahili lessons at the Center for the Study of Language and Culture during spring semester prior to summer placement. Students also need to attend introductory Kiswahili sessions with past participants and regular weekly meeting, days and times to be determined at the start of the spring semester coordinating schedules with accepted students and past participants.

  • Red Cross Certification
  • Laboratory  Safety Certification
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Training
  • World Religions
  • Self-Defense Session

Site Description:   

This website for the Capuchin Franciscan Sisters of Tanzania is in Swiss German. It has pictures and updates about the different convents, including the convent in Mivumoni. The Capuchin Sisters of Maua, Mivumoni are dedicated to a prayerful, simple life working as farmers, gardeners, teachers, doctors, nurses, and cooks.The sisters are dedicated to serving the community and work to offer training and educational opportunities for people in the Tanga-Pangani region of Tanzania. The sisters maintain four houses in Tanzania including the house in the rural Tanga province in the village of Mivumoni. In Mivumoni, they operate a dispensary providing medical care to villagers from the region including infant care and vaccination regimes. They also operate both a vocational and secondary school and a working farm growing maize and fruits and vegetables and keep cows, chickens, pigs and sheep to provide for their own basic needs.   

Scope of Work & Responsibilities:

Notice: Scope of work may have some changes based on the needs of the partner organizations at the time of student arrival.  

ISSLP students can expect to assist in medical related work in the dispensary and/or laboratory. Students may shadow and assist the resident doctors assessing patients and helping with patient interviews for diagnoses.There is only one doctor at a time in the dispensary, although ISSLP participants may assist in nursing or wound dressing capacities with the surgical specialist. Students with prior clinical experience could be involved with direct patient care (such as assisting with IV’s and drawing blood). In the laboratory, under the direction and tutelage of a lab technician, students run tests for malaria, parasites, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, full blood pictures, and other common diseases. Medical laboratory experience is not necessary due to hands-on training. General dispensary assistance includes help at the registration desk (Kiswahili required), making envelopes for medicine and assisting with infant weekly weigh-ins. Work at the dispensary and laboratory typically finishes around 2pm.

Afternoon opportunities include teaching and tutoring English at the Girl’s Vocational School and Franciscan Girls Secondary School and afterschool activities with students such as soccer, card play, etc. Students can immerse themselves in the culture and devote time to know the village and its residents and vice versa.

In the evenings, students help in the kitchen and receive cooking lessons from one of the sisters. While the Sisters work hard and enjoy providing hospitality, students can also assist with chores such as setting the table, washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen almost daily. Students should be persistent with their offers of assistance and be very willing to help wherever it is needed.

Housing & Lodging Information:

Students will stay in the guesthouse at the Sisters’ convent in Mivumoni. The guesthouse is split into three separate apartment-type spaces. Previous students’ area had two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a small living space. There is running water, and mosquito nets are provided. On the Sisters’ property, there is the convent, the dispensary, the guesthouse, a small shop, and a vocational school. The gardens and farm areas surround these buildings. Everything is very close by. The dispensary and convent are about a 1 and 2 minute walk from the guesthouse, respectively.  Mass is said every day at the sisters Chapel on site.

Three daily meals are provided by the sisters 7 days a week. The food is very fresh and very delicious! Breakfasts consist of fresh baked bread, eggs, and orange jam. Chai (tea) breaks are encouraged by the sisters very often. Lunch and dinner typically consist of some type of combination of rice, chapati, ugali (a meal made out of corn flour), soup, cooked vegetables, salads, fish or beef, and fresh fruit.

The sisters also love to celebrate, including for feast days and birthdays.

For More Information:

 (German-swiss) website of the Capuchin-Franciscan Sisters of Tanzania.

Former ISSLP Participants:

Grace Seibert ‘19 (ISSLP 2018)  (Sanya Juu)
Margaret Doyle ‘20 (ISSLP 2018) (Sanya Juu)
upd 9.12.18


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