Just another travel blog


Penultimate Week

Hello again everybody!

I have just come to the end of my third week in Tanzania and it brings a great sadness to think that I only 3 days left in Tanzania! However after those three days I will be in Zanzibar so I guess every cloud really does have a silver lining.

This week I have been working at Ngome Health Centre (as I told you in my last post) and it has been the most enjoyable week of my trip so far! I have done circumcisions (took a long time to pluck up the courage to do that!) and I have also shadowed doctors in an outpatients clinic. The work in OPD (out-patients) has been really interesting, not so much the fact I was in a GP environment but because I was given freedom to suggest the management, diagnosis and treatment of each patient and discuss my ideas with the doctor; it really felt like my opinion was valued and slightly made me feel like an actual doctor (even though I am far off that stage!)

The Health Clinic at Ngome runs circumcision for all male residents in Iringa. This is due to a campaign run jointly between USAID and Johns Hopkins University in which all males in Tanzania have the option to be circumcised for free. The reason for this is to help control that transmission of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania as there are more cases of HIV related deaths in Tanzania than any other African country. It has been found that becoming circumcised reduces the transmission of HIV by 60% so USAID use this as their “slogan” for their campaign: “Mwanuame Zaidi 60%” – means “60% more male” and is used to attract men to become circumcised and hopefully reduce the transmission of HIV in Tanzania. So being at Ngome I have helped with the campaign and circumcised some African men – not the most pleasant experience of my life!

Other than being in hospital I have been doing some more reading into my book on Brain Plasticity, I have done some more UKCAT revision, worked more on my personal statement, been out for drinks (with our doctors, getting Shagalabhagala!) and dinner, lounged around the house and bought lots of books that I will need for when I return to England.

Unfortunately this weekend has been an especially sad one as lots of my friends I have made have left to go home! However we have an influx of 12 new people arriving in the house today so the house should become more lively! I just want to say thank you to all the guys that have left back to England for making the trip very special and I hope to meet up with all of you as soon as possible!

Thats it for this week and sadly this will be my last post from Africa! This time next week I will be getting on my plane to return to England and at 9:15 on Monday morning I shall be touching down at Heathrow. All I can say is “I hope it’s warm when I get home!” but knowing England it will probably be raining!





Hey Everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m now half way through my time in Tanzania ๐Ÿ˜ฆ however the two weeks I have spent here so far have been the best two weeks of my life. Lots of the “original” people that were here when I arrived have left now which is sad, but the new people are equally as good. I had an amazing time yesterday at the local orphanage and I had a great first day at the Healh Centre in Ngome today.

Last week I was on the Paediatric ward at Tosamaganga hospital which was good fun, aside from the fact it was slightly repetitive. The group of us made friends with two of the young patients on the ward: one called Chiotta who had broken his elbow and one boy called Nobbid who had a rare bacterial infection in his bones meaning he’s wheelchair bound. The week went surprisingly fast and paediatrics certainly helped it seem like a quick week. I can’t believe I am now almost half way through my 3rd week of my 4 week trip! This week I am in the health clinic in Ngome and today I shadowed the “outpatient consultant” who is effectively a GP. Although I don’t like the idea of becoming a GP at all my experience was really fun as the doctor (who is a legend) allowed me and the girl shadowing him to diagnose patients, say what treatment they needed and any tests they needed. I hopefully will be doing this again tomorrow as it was really fun. However Neurosurgery is still my ideal specialisation so don’t worry guys ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also this week I have been doing some reading of a book called “The Brain that Changes Itself” which is all about brain plasticity. I would go into more detail about it but I don’t really have enough time now. Also I’ve had a friend of mine also on the programme read through my personal statement with me and we managed to get it from 2675 words to 643 words! Aside from this I have just been into town, going out with the guys at night for dinner, visiting the orphanage and playing a game of football. Unfortunatly our house lost the game of football against the other house but we have a chance to redeem ourselves tomorrow evening in the Student vs. Staff football match.

Just to finish up i’d like to say thanks to the guys that have now left the Gap Medics house and are back in their respective countries. I hope you had an amazing time and we’re all missing you (especially Anne and Darius!) Also i’d like to send condolences to everyone who has had a loved one/friend injured in the riots at the moment and I hope that they don’t escalate further!

Well thats enough for one day. I will update you again next week on events taking place this week.

Louis x


Hi People,

Sitting in a lovely internet cafe in Iringa whilst writing this post ๐Ÿ™‚ Been on safari already and it was so amazing but i’ll talk about that later.

Well i’ve just come to the end of my first week in Tanzania and I am now a 1/4 of the way through my time in Tanzania. I can safely say so far that my week here has been amazing and one of the best experiences of my life so far and I still have another three weeks left of the same!

I have met some amazing people and the house has such a community feel. I was instantly made to feel welcome and i now have a new nickname which is quite difficult to explain to you without saying it but it is basically an extended version of “Louis”. My first week in the hospital was also really fun, I have been doing Internal Medicine (Female) and the doctor I shadowed was extremely funny and informative. I am moving on to paediatrics this week and am really looking forward to it.

I was very surprised with the hospital when I first arrived. I think I expected it to be a really run down hospital with only the real bare necessities to be able to function. However Tosamaganga ย Hospital is actually pretty good for an African hospital. It has everything it needs to function as a good hospital (however power supply is very limited!) and is generally a clean hospital as well.

Apart from being in the hospital I have been out and experienced the town of Iringa, I have socialised with my new found friends and I have also found the time to go on Safari. So… Safari ๐Ÿ™‚ On Friday a group of 13 of us from Gap Medics decided to go to the local national park and spend a few days on safari. That has honestly been one of the highlights of the trip so far. We saw countless elephants, giraffes, impala, hippos, zebras and also the famed Lion. We also visited a Masai Village in which we got to experience local Masai life and buy some hand made Masai products. I have taken so many photos which, unfortunately, will have to be uploaded when I return to England as the internet here in Iringa is painfully slow.

I hoped you have enjoyed the brief insight into my first week on my Gap Medics placement and I will be updating you on what happens over the next week in due course.

Louis and others ๐Ÿ™‚ x

Evening All,

Well once again it appears that I have failed to keep to my original promise of posting once every week in the build up to my flight. The past few weeks have been so hectic making sure I have everything planned and ready and also doing school working at the same time. Anyway in this post I will fill you all in on what has happened in the past 3 weeks or so and what i’m doing at the moment.

For the past three weeks all my time has been spent getting more and more excited about my trip and feeling less and less like doing school work! However I had to keep going with school as I had my Extended Essay practical to complete, my personal statement to start and UKCAT revision to get on with. First of all I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone that helped in my Extended Essay practical, I couldn’t have done it without all your help and support. I have chosen to do my Extended Essay on the effects of posture on blood pressure. So for a whole 3 days my days consisted of taking blood pressure; it gets boring after a while unfortunately!

When I had finished my Extended Essay practical I could start my personal statement… 2000 words later (1600 words over the word limit!!) I had finished my first draft of my personal statement. I still have my experiences from Tanzania to add to this as well! It looks like i’m going to have to cut down on a lot of waffle!!

Other than school work I’ve been packing my bags for Tanzania and visiting universities. Today I went and looked around the last of the universities I am looking at: Barts and The London. What a nice way to end my university hunt! A great university with some amazing facilities! Right in the heart of the East End of London with some great student facilities. Also pretty well rated for its first class research projects as well. I think that fact that the Royal London Hospital which is twinned with the university is undergoing a multi-million pound rebuild and will become the largest hospital in Europe is a great reason to be there!

Now onto the reason that you’re all reading this blog right? My trip to Tanzania. Well what can I say? I fly in two days and I cannot express how excited I am! I have been hearing all sorts of stories and things from some of the guys that are out there and I will be sharing a house with and it has only made me so much more excited! I am all packed, got all my money, been given the safety briefing by my parents and I am currently in the process of making a playlist for the trip ๐Ÿ™‚ This time next week I will be posting from Tanzania! How cool is that?!?

Anyway, I have WiFi in Doha airport so I will try my best to update the blog again when I’m at Doha. However after that I can’t promise a set time etc when I will be updating the blog but just keep checking back regularly as I may just post a quick picture or post just to say how I am doing and whats happening ๐Ÿ™‚ It is my aim to update each week but this may not happen. Anyway, keep your eyes pealed on my blog as there definitely will be new posts coming soon! Thank you very much to everyone taking the time to read my blog, It’s really appreciated!

Bye for now!

Louis x

Only 3 weeks to go!

Hi there guys! Sorry for another long delay in writing I have just been attempting to get everything sorted before I leave for Tanzania!

Well the last 2 months have pretty hectic for me! I’ve had my mock exams, university open days, planning and starting to write my extended essay and personal statement, ย and making sure I have everything I need for Tanzania.

Now it is only 3 weeks until I fly away to Tanzania and I am so excited its unreal! My scrubs, surgical crocs, surgical masks and safety goggles have all arrived and I now feel like a real surgeon (even though I still have a LONG way to go until I get there ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) I now know who my house mates will be for my time in Tanzania as well and it looks like i’m going to be with some amazing people that I will end up being good friends with forever.

As well as getting prepared for Tanzania I have been doing my mock exams which I have now finished and got my results from. The results from my mocks go towards my predicted grades that universities look at. My predicated grades at the moment are; 6, 6/7, 7 at higher level and then 7, 7, 6 at standard level with 2 (out of 3) for my extended essay. That sets my overall score at 41 which means my dream of going to Oxford is still very much on the cards!!! On Wednesday I will be looking around Oxford with my school so I will keep you updated on how that goes and what I think of it via my twitter… If anyone doesn’t have my general twitter here it is;ย http://twitter.com/#!/louyssennaggerย and for those of you that want to follow any tweets while I am in Tanzania they will be posted here;ย http://twitter.com/#!/Tanzania_2011ย ๐Ÿ™‚

My life just seems so hectic at the moment! But I quite like it! Its not the type of work I want to be doing but I know that when I have got this work done to the right standard I will get to medical school and then I will be studying my passion ๐Ÿ™‚ that is what keeps me going through this time of coursework, essays and personal statements.

I think I will leave this post here but I promise that I will update next week when I have time ๐Ÿ™‚ I will make sure I update this blog once a week before I go to Tanzania! So bookmark this page and check back regularly so you don’t miss out on anything! ๐Ÿ™‚


Hi Guys,

Finally I am posting again! Sorry for such a long delay between the last post and this post but I have had so much coursework, revision and university preparations to do that I haven’t had time to fit in creating a new post! Anyway I am just going to fill you in on what I’ve been up to over the past 2/3 months, ย how its all going and what I’m going to be doing in the coming months before I fly away to Tanzania.

Well where do I start?!? In the past 2/3 months I have been to my first ever university open day at Cardiff and I loved it! I’ve also done revision for my mock exams that start in the coming few weeks, the results of which are used for predicted grades :S Also I have been looking into the idea of going to university in America. University in America really appealed to me but I think the amount of paperwork that is needed isn’t worth doing unless I don’t receive any offers from universities in the UK. So thats what my gap year will consist of if I don’t receive any university offers.

Moving away from my general life at the moment, I have almost finalised every detail of my trip to Tanzania and my outbound flight date is approaching faster than I could have hoped! In 3 months time I will be sitting in my room in the Gap Medics house in Tanzania after a day of work at the local hospital having witnessed something amazing that I would not be able to see at a hospital in England. This thought as well as visiting a new country with like-minded people is why I literally cannot wait until the day that I arrive in Tanzania. I feel that it is there my passion for medicine will be taken to a new level, seeing the Tanzanian children and helping them will open my eyes to a new world. So, only a few more things to do for Tanzania now, I get my vaccinations on Friday, my final balance payment is due on the 25th May and then all thats left to do is buy my travel insurance and receive my Class C residence permit and I’m all ready to go to Tanzania! And now, I am too excited for words!

Also, if anyone of you lovely gentle-men or gentle-women have twitter I have just set up a twitter account where you will be able to follow tweets straight from Tanzania, and also posts from this very blog!

I hope you enjoy the blog. Keep checking back on here every week or so as I will be updating the blog a lot once my exams are done!


Universities, Coursework and Travel Guides

Hello again everybody!

I don’t really have much to report back from the past month, everything has been relatively quiet on the Tanzania front! There has been no need to do anything for my trip yet but in the coming weeks/months I should be getting vaccinated, getting my travel insurance sorted and buying all clothing/equipment I need for the trip.

I’ve just started half-term today (for those of you that aren’t familiar with “half-term” we get a week off school every 5/6 weeks as a break in the main term) and so far all I have done is look at universities! In fact this is practically all I have been doing for the past few weeks! My life seems overrun by different universities saying “why their medical school is the best” so I am presented with so much choice I feel like a child in a sweet shop! But I have managed to cut my options down to 5 medical schools; Kings College London, University College London, Oxford, Southampton and Barts and the London. All of these are great for me as they allow the option to intercalate my medical degree which is what I want to do. I think my decision was made a lot easier when I realised that I didn’t really want to study up north! ๐Ÿ˜› Now all thats left to go is; visiting universities, writing my personal statement, waiting to hear if I get an interview, doing the interviews, waiting in suspense for offers to come through (if I get one :S), then achieving the required grades! Its seems like such a long list of things to do but I know that it’s all going to happen so quickly!

Anyway I started rambling on there, my apologies! Recently, I have also been tasked with my coursework presentation for English, not good! The worst thing about the presentation is the choice of texts we can talk about. We have been given the choice of talking about either Hard Times by Dickens, some poetry by Larkin or a play called “Miss Julie” by August Strindberg! What a dull choice! Anyway I have chosen to write about Hard Times and the title of my presentation ย is “Do the characterisations and descriptions used in Hard Times show Dickens’ feelings about the society he lived in?” – It’s a pretty good title and will be a pretty good presentation I think! What are your thoughts? Only problem being that most of my half term is going to be taken up by this presentation ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Oh well you have to suffer to get good grades sometimes!

Finally yesterday, after searching for a while, I managed to unearth our travel guide for Tanzania! Looking at the pictures of Tanzania I doubt that I will ever want to leave this beautiful place! It just looks so lush, vibrant and wild! I can already tell that my work experience in Tanzania isn’t just going to form a part of my CV, its going to form part of me as a person.

Thank you for reading this slightly rambled post! I will be back as soon as I have done something crucial for Tanzania or failing that at the same time next month to share what I have been up to!