Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Great Results

As the team try to settle back into normal life - I would like to share the results from the mission. 

In total they saw 78 patients during this mission. Of these 17 were brought in from the Geita region where AngloGold Ashanti operate a gold mine - this is part of their support for the local community, they also provide transport and food for the patients and provide the team with transport during the mission as part of their support of Rafiki.
The other 61 patients come from the community around Mwanza, either from word of mouth or referral from the Secoue Toure hospital where they may be in patients - as was the case with two of the most horrific cases I saw; Joseph's burned hands and Aqualina with the infected breasts.

54 operations were carried out from the 78 people screened by the team; many of those that did not have an operation had keliod scars which would grow back without ongoing treatment so were not worthwhile. A few babies with cleft lips were also denied operations as they were too small. Two of them were put on the list initially in the hope that they would put weight on during the first week; unfortunately they did not and their mothers were devastated and crying when they were sent home; which was pretty tough for Shannon who had to deal with. However, the Rafiki team do a great job at ensuring that they will be contacted and come back in the next mission - only 6 months to wait. There were a few cases that were too "big" for the team; in that intensive care, blood transfusions, ongoing care, etc maybe required; the one of these that constantly haunts me is Rashid - the cutest little boy with that terrible tumour we are hoping we maybe able to arrange something special for him and a few others.
The operations carried out were:
- 16 burns
- 20 cleft lips/palates
- 18 others 
I would like to pass on thanks for support to the following organisations who support with medical items, in addition to the many donors to Rafiki:

-St John of God Subiaco Social Outreach - they donated all the consumables and pharmaceuticals
- d.s. Medicals - they repair the suction machines and dermatome free of charge every time the team go to Tanzania. They also sharpen all the surgical scissors free of charge every time.
-St John of God Murdoch CSSD department - they sterilised all the drape bundles / packs

Taka, the mission co-ordinator advised me that the team would struggle greatly without this assistance. 

Finally, after the mission I joined my family for the most amazing safari which was part of our "prize" and was only possible due to very generous donations by Serena Hotels, &Beyond, TTT Worldwide travel agents, the Seacliff Hotel in Dar Es Salaam, Qatar Airways and of course Lily & Didier. The trip was outrageously luxurious and the animals we saw were incredible. I will leave you with some images - Tanzania is certainly an amazing country to visit, the people are very warm, proud and keen to progress. If anyone wants to learn more about my trip or Rafiki feel free to email me at
View from our tent at Kirawira Luxury Camp
Can I help you?
Saddle-billed storks
Just waiting for the wildebeest to walk underneath
Great migration....
Banded Mongoose
Me with Charles, my favourite maitre-d at Kirawira, Serena
Elephants visit the pool while we have breakfast at Four Seasons Serengeti
The fabulous - Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, &Beyond
So many cute cubs at Ngorongoro Crater
Only a few months old
Final sunset in Zanzibar

Monday, 21 April 2014

Last day

I just love how proud the parents look in this photo - what a difference to day 1?????

Rose and Mellisa

Matt and Ross with Mtani and Dad

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Good byes from the hospital today

Bye bye Rafiki....
Abisia - she looks amazing and so happy
I am trying to find out the story behind those shirts
Update: Palou (the local surgeon) got all the guys shirts and all the girls sarongs - so lovely of him!! The team all went to the hospital and had a goodbye celebration with the staff. Jamie bought a big black Forrest cake from the bakery to say thank you. 

The team gave all the nurses hats which were supplied by social outreach at Saint John of god in Subiaco - they really appreciated them.

I asked about high's and lows - the response was "I think we probably all agree that the entire trip was a high, the team all gelled so well together and we achieved so many amazing things. The biggest low is leaving and saying goodbye to all of the beautiful kids and adults that were operated on along with all of their families and the staff." 

Adonia - a different little girl and smiling - that photo just fills my heart with joy!
We are going to try and share some stories from the final few days of the mission together with some stats so watch this space...... There are also some kids that could not be helped on this mission so we are looking at options for them; I hope to share the stories; including Rashid who brightened every day I was there - he has that huge tumour on his bottom.

In the meantime you might like to read about the wonderful story of four children with cleft lips in one family on the Facebook page - the original three sisters feature in the 10 year video made by the wonderful Myriad Images; they provide so much support to Rafiki 

You can help Rafiki by simply liking our Facebook page; donors really value the number of followers we have when deciding whether or not to donate. Or if you have something you would like to donate for auction at our fundraising ball on 14th June please email me at - I am afraid the ball has sold out this year.

You can also find out more about the missions at and if you would like to donate click on the sponsors page for the link. Every little helps - on average each operation only costs $625 as there are no admin costs and the team are all volunteers.

Talking to my safari guide; when I showed him some pictures he said kids with cleft lips get called rabbit face and the locals are scared of them - he was very happy we could help them though so he remains my rafiki (friend). 

Monday, 14 April 2014

A day of rest.....

Sunday, the guys took a day off and explored; meanwhile I saw five Cheetahs at the amazing Kirawiri  Camp - I have been feeling quite guilty about the luxury here on Safari, however the Cheetahs were so incredible we could not help but enjoy.

Mardi has also sent some more fabulous post opp pictures.

Taka, Alice, Mell, James, Mardi & Shannon

Japheth mlalahasi post op

Masala buholo post op

Mashauri Dues post op

Mathayo Emanuel post op

Mardi's Pictures

Some beautiful 'after' pictures from the beautiful Mardi - don't these kids look great?


Sunday, 13 April 2014

My family join us

Today my husband, Andrew and his son James flew into Mwanza; this was not too easy....

Andrew's flight into Dar Es Salaam was diverted to Mombassa as a plane skidded on the runway so the airport was closed, then on landing in Dar the landing was aborted and they went around again; he arrived to huge flooding so after heading to the hotel had to turn back to meet James flying from the UK. The next day Andrew and James were due to fly to Mwanza at 7am but some people were angry due to delayed flights so they stopped the plane from leaving. They arrived three hours late and we managed a quick tour of the hospital. We got to see Denis waking up in recovery and then met Abisia, Rashid and Edward; the two who have had their operations looked great - especially Abisia who only had her pop yesterday and was up and about.
Abisia and Rashid with James

James and Andrew meet Edward and his gorgeous Grandad

More before and after photos

Mashaur after

Mashaur before

Mhuru after

Mhuru after

Mtani after
Mtani before

Rashidi after

Rashidi before

Rose after

Rose before

Vairet after

Vairet before