In the joint group space, this inspiring text was painted by patients on the wall, accompanied by Dutch students.
My stay and work in Tanka Tanka November 2018 Recently I went to Gambia again for 3 weeks, of which I spent almost two weeks in Tanka Tanka to do all kinds of work. To begin with, I am extremely proud of the wound treatment, which is still being continued in Tanka Tanka. Meanwhile, 4 years ago I started the wound treatment together with nurse Kandeh. Since then there has been a wound treatment room with (usually) the necessary materials and 2 nurses who are daily engaged in taking care of the wounds of patients who stay in Tanka Tanka. And to think that 5 years ago nothing of this was happening. Of the 70-90 psychiatric patients admitted, there are many who also have all kinds of wounds. Examples are burns, bites (sometimes patients are punished in the home situation by biting them), wounds on ankles (patients are sometimes chained for a long time with a rope or chain around their ankles, because family members often do not counsel in their own living environment). knowing what to do with, for example, aggressive behavior or psychoses, caused by the psychiatric condition of the patient). Due to poor hygiene and physical care, small (harmless) wounds can sometimes degenerate into large infectious wounds, sometimes resulting in amputations. The more I am pleased and proud that now there is attention and good care in Tanka Tanka.
In addition, during my stay I attended several meetings of staff members. Together with a nurse from Tanka Tanka, I also collected medication at the pharmacy of EFTH hospital in Banjul, which was almost a day-long activity. With Foday, the manager, I discussed various projects. Projects that are supported and supported by our foundation, such as the construction of new fences in the men's department and the improvement of medication supplies. Of course I also took time for the patients, by talking to a patient for a while, making music with each other or playing sports and if there is football then it is a home game for Gambia ... .. against the Netherlands. There are also times to comfort, to grab a hand and sometimes just to say without words that at that moment I am there for that person. How special it is, that there is relief for psychiatric patients in Gambia and that they can be treated there within the limited possibilities, it remains distressing to see how difficult patients sometimes have, what the disease does to them and how much they miss their family.
From the beginning I have agreed with myself that I keep my goals very small, that prevents I think big disappointments and it ensures that I can carry out some work every year during my stay there and from the Netherlands at a distance. Because of my role as board member in the foundation, my goals have now also become larger in size. Yet that one small goal for me remains number 1 and that is to at least one day that I am in Tanka Tanka, with at least one patient a smile on his or her face to magically and I still succeeded in one and even many others! And that is exactly what makes all of this so special ....