2013 – Still Going Forward

January 2013

Abasi seems to have an unending number of tests to do. This medical stuff certainly isn’t an easy way to get a degree. Still he seems to be doing well, passing most of them with B’s plus the occasional A or C. He gets very frustrated at not getting more A’s, but I think he’s expecting a lot from himself. Being taught a difficult subject that is not presented in your native language is not something to be attempted lightly. But it is good he still has the drive to want to do better.

Abasi had to move rooms recently, as it appears they have been doing some reconstruction work. He’s ended up with a slightly better room, but unsurprisingly the price has gone up. Not buy too much I’m pleased to say. He’s been having some fun as well, though. After a week of tests the university held a social where Abasi did some DJ work. They also had a swimming competition which Abasi won.

Not bad considering he couldn’t a swim a couple of years ago!

February 2013

It’s been a tough month for Abasi yet again. He has been studying 15 hours a day, doing the usual tests and preparing for the exams. He has also done a number of presentations which he gets consistently high marks for. He seems to have a knack for presentations. I suppose that is why he gets picked to be master of ceremonies at university social events.

Unfortunately Abasi also has a bad experience. He lent some money to someone he thought he could trust, and the guy subsequently disappeared. This pulled Abasi down a bit. I don’t think he will be as trusting now, which is both good and bad. When it comes to money you can never be sure how it will change people.

As we say in England, if you lend money to someone don’t expect it back…

March 2013

Time for university exams! I get the feeling Abasi has been rather stressed with the exams. He sets himself high standards and understandably gets frustrated when things don’t go the way he had hoped. But he has been working hard as usual.

The exams finished in the middle of March and he was able to get back to his home in the south and see his family. He has hinted at a “project” that he has been working on for a year now. We don’t know what it is but he seems quite excited about it.

We’ll just have to wait and see…

April 2013

Abasi was back to his studies after the Easter break. He got good results for the previous semester, all B’s and B*’s, though I imagine he’s a bit frustrated at just missing out on the occasional A.

The book budget recommended by the university turned out to be hopelessly wrong. Abasi needed a couple of books for this semester that used the whole of the annual book budget. They are each about 1000 pages long and big enough for a small family to live in.

I’m glad it’s not me that has to study them…

May 2013

Life is getting harder for Abasi. Unfortunately his uncle was admitted to hospital after a bout of Malaria resulted in complications, and Abasi ended up giving blood to help. It was a rather worrying time but his uncle appears to have recovered quite well.

The studying gets more difficult, if that were possible!? It’s Pharmacology now and apparently there are lots of drugs with difficult names to be studied. Plus yet more tests of course. However Abasi did get a breather with a 3 day break to a national park. So a bit of rest and recovery there, at least.

I wonder if it will be enough?

June 2013

Abasi seems to be popular with the uni staff. He was one of 20 chosen to represent his uni at an international exhibition in Dar and he was chose to be his professors’ assistant. Pretty impressive I think

He has to do more and more presentations for the course, and he puts together some quite impressive ones as well. I can almost understand some medicine after watching them. He also sent some photos of his trip to Mikumi national park. It’s been a couple of years since I saw him, and you can see the man in him developing.

Ah, they grow up so fast…:o)

July 2013

The studies have reached the most difficult stage. Apparently Pathology and Pharmacology are considered the toughest subjects. This became clear when half the class failed the tests and no-one got an A or B*. However Abasi got a C which in the circumstances I think is very good or quite possibly amazing!

The university exams are now looming on the horizon, so the pressure is really on now. I know Abasi will give it his best shot, but it will be a nerve wracking few weeks for him.

I will admit to feeling a little nervous myself.

August 2013

Well the first couple of weeks were quiet as Abasi studied hard for his exams. He was very relieved when they were finished and he headed home for the summer break.

Back home, he volunteered to help out in his district hospital. He was very pleased when they told him that he was welcome there anytime. Quite impressive, I have to say. They gave him an office and they are letting him deal with some of the patients. He is being supervised from time to time, and he gets the doctors involve on cases he can’t deal with.

It was also his birthday and budget time. The birthday was a celebration meal at a local hotel. The budgeting was less enjoyable. As with all countries the cost of living is climbing rapidly, particularly in countries that have middle class aspirations of cars, TV’s, mobile phones and a western diet. Of course the western diet will create a different set of health problems, to those they currently have.

So that should keep Abasi busy after he graduates…

September 2013

The exam results came through and Abasi passed again. It was a particularly tough semester but he managed to get a B and a C, so that’s very good. Apart from that it has been a quiet month. Abasi returned to Dar at the end of the month and is off to medical students conference early in October. So that should be interesting.

The only other thing this month has been sorting out the budget for the coming year and getting all the costs and fees paid.

Necessary, but not very interesting

October 2013

This was something of an exceptional month. Abasi went off to his conference and I wasn’t expecting it to be anything more than a lot of shop talk. However I was wrong. Abasi’s IT skills came to the fore and he was put in charge of all the technicalities of the presentations. This resulted in him appearing on TV when the Tanzanian vice president visited the conference on the first day. It happened again when the Tanzanian health minister visited the conference on the last day. One of the themes of the conference was about open access to research and so Abasi’s IT skills proved very useful. Anyway one of the tutors suggested that Abasi apply for the Berlin conference in November, which he did.

Come the end of the month and we hear that Abasi has been accepted on the Berlin conference. There were 300 applications for 60 places, and Abasi got one of them. The icing on the cake is that the flights and hotel are paid for by the conference!

As if that wasn’t enough for the month, Abasi bought a car. He had been saving all the money he made from his IT and photography “projects” and finally had enough to get his first vehicle. I well remember the excitement when I got my first motorbike, so I can imagine how excited he feels.

I think this boy is going far. And not just in the car…

November 2013

Ok, I completely misread Abasi’s email and he hasn’t got a car. The project he had been working on was to build a house! It’s actually a self-contained annex to his parents house in southern Tanzania. It’s for him to use when he’s home and for guests to stay. He said he hope we would be the first guests when we (hopefully) visit in the next few months. We feel rather honoured! Particularly as I know how much he would like a car.

Of course the big event this month was Abasi going to the conference in Berlin. This all seems to have gone well, and he seems to have had a good time. It was certainly not something we would have expected when he went to the conference in Tanzania. Abasi has been made an ambassador for the Open Access project for Tanzania, and will be speaking at conference of professors in Tanzania some time in the next few months. And he is still pushing on with his studies.

I am still amazed at Abasi’s drive to achieve his goals. Just amazed…

December 2013

Abasi returned to his studies, but was distracted by a couple of events, one good, one bad. It transpired that his family had been left a parcel of land which was good, although it was down to Abasi to fund the preparation for sowing. So it was another hole in his car savings, but it will be worth it on the long run.

The bad news was that Abasis’ younger brother got poked in the eye with a piece of wire while out playing, causing some serious damage. This resulted in Abasi spending a lot of time on the phone to the medical people he knows and his parents running around different hospitals to get treatment. The eye has been repaired now but they don’t know if he will recover his sight. He is due to travel to Dar to get his eye examined, as they don’t have the equipment at the local hospitals. This is standard equipment in UK hospitals.

Makes you realise how lucky we are…