World Unite! participant Martine from Switzerland recently did a psychology internship at the Lutindi Mental Hospital, located in Tanzania’s Usambara Mountains, a mountain range that belongs to the most biodiverse regions on earth. The hospital has been under German direction since 1896 and particularly focuses on Occupational Therapy. Martine’s report gives an insight into her internship and her exciting stay in Tanzania.
I started my pleasant stay in Tanzania on December 27th, 2016, where I did an a psychology internship at the Lutindi Mental Hospital. The hospital is located in a very remote area of the Usambara mountains, in the middle of a rainforest and is surrounded by small villages. I lived in a room on the hospital premises and was catered for by two lovely Tanzanian chefs.
Through the internship I got an impressive insight into the everyday life in a psychiatric hospital in Tanzania. I attended the daily morning reports, the admission of patients (twice a week) as well as the regular individual and group counseling.
Since the meetings and conversations were held in Kiswahili, the hospital staff assisted me with translations, which I was very grateful for. Despite the staff helped me out a great deal with the translations, communication was a major challenge.
Luckily, my internship supervisor and his family were from Germany which always allowed me to share my experiences with them and to seek advice in my own language.
During the rest of my working hours, I did one-on-one interviews with the English-speaking patients or gave them company during their occupational therapy sessions (such as industry, garden, stable).
In my spare time I often went for a walk and explored the breathtaking scenery and the surrounding villages. On these walks I became familiar with the great hospitality of the Tanzanians. In Lutindi, there are several choirs and I highly recommend a visit at church on Sundays.
I would like to thank everyone who made it possible for me to do this internship in Lutindi and would like to recommend it to anyone who wants to get an insight into the everyday life of a psychiatric hospital in Tanzania and who is curious to get to know a new culture and lifestyle. If you plan to stay for a longer time, I would recommend to learn some basic Kiswahili before starting the internship, in order to be able to communicate with the staff and the patients. I will always remember my exciting and wonderful time in Tanzania with joy, pride and a bit of wanderlust.
Please find further information about the internship at Lutindi Hospital on our website: