Features — April 18, 2015 by Ciani Walker
Aaron Lahood: Spring Break in Africa

While many Pacificans hit the beaches and traveled to Europe for Spring Break to give their brains a much needed breather, Pacifica junior, Aaron Lahood traveled an even greater distance on a mission that had no room for relaxation.

Lahood catered to the medical needs of African patients day in and day out for two and a half weeks through Lighthouse Medical Missions in Tanzania. From filling prescriptions in the pharmacy to assisting the doctors in the clinic, Aaron got to experience the ins and outs of what it takes to be a doctor in a third world country.

Aaron shared the coolest case he’d seen in the clinic: “There was a guy who had been complaining of deafness in his left ear for a year. And so when the doctor looked in his left ear, he saw hundreds of tiny dead insects piled up in his ear canal. Then there were live ones buzzing around, some had laid larva and others had been eating into the guys flesh which is what inhibited his hearing. After the doctor had scraped everything out of his ear, the patient came back two days later and could hear again.” You don’t see too many cases like that in LA, or even in Grey’s Anatomy for that matter.

Not only did Lahood treat the Tanzanians, but he also connected with them. Most of the patients were kids between infancy and 17 years old which inherently sparked a bond between them. Though his Swahili was broken, Lahood was able to communicate with them, and they laughed and played soccer as if they had known each other for years.

When asking Aaron to reflect on his time in Tanzania, he said the experience “opened [his] eyes to what amazing things you can do by putting a passion for science and helping people together, even from across the world.”

Lahood had to go through a week of taking Malaria pills, typhoid and yellow fever shots, seven hour work days, and 96 hours of travel time this Spring Break, yet he had so much fun exploring his passion and experiencing a whole new culture and lifestyle that he would go back in a heartbeat if given the chance.


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Ciani Walker

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