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'Back to School'

Dr. Harun M. M. O'Maitarya
The Tanzanian native journeyed to EMU for an undergraduate degree before returning to his home country for medical school.

When Harun M. M. O’Maitarya (C 65) graduated from EMC he had no idea if he would return. He bid goodbye to his host family, Dr. and Mrs. Noah Mack, and headed for home: Tanzania.

Forty years later he was back. Having journeyed to speak at the June 2005 Mennonite Medical Convention, O’Maitarya grabbed the chance to revisit his alma mater. He and classmate and fellow physician Sam Showalter (C 65) toured campus and visited Professor Emeritus Daniel Suter, an important teacher to them both.

“I feel like I have come home, though many things are different. Few buildings remain as I remember, like chapel, the dining hall, Maplewood and the gymnasium [Old Gym].”

The years between his trips to the U.S. have been busy. He attended medical school from 1967-1972 and then began public service as a medical officer.

He returned to medical school for post-graduate studies and worked as a specialist in the Dodoma and Mara Regions and as superintendent in the Mbeya National Consultant Hospital .

While still a student, he met his wife, then a nursing student, and the couple has watched their three children grow into adults.

Flag of Tanzania
The state flag of Tanzania, where O'Maitarya was born.

In 1990 O’Maitarya retired from public service to work with the United Nations in Namibia , and then was hired away by the Namibian Ministry of Health. In 1999 he returned to his home village of Nyarero , where many years ago a Mennonite missionary doctor planted in him an interest in medicine.

A first-generation Tanzanian Mennonite, O’Maitarya opened a private practice in nearby Tarime Town , and he is now also the board chairman of Shirati Mennonite Hospital .

“My career has been very rewarding. I have the opportunity to help people, and I’m very lucky,” he says. “God has blessed me and my family.”

Dr. Harun O’Maitarya welcomes correspondence at .