Sunday, December 4, 2016

THANKSGIVING, STUDENTS LEAVE, AIDS SUPPORT GROUP FOR KIDS AND CHRISTMAS DECORATING!

This week we had many activities besides our work at the hospital.  Last weekend we had a great 3 days of rain and then it turned hot and dry the rest of the week!

On Wednesday the new "Bond" note that is the equivalent to US dollars was released in Zimbabwe.  It is only to use in Zimbabwe and is designed to get us out of the cash crisis we are in now.  We started to see them here by the end of the week.

Wednesday evening we decided to have our Thanksgiving dinner (6 days late) as everyone was here and in Zimbabwe we can choose the date to celebrate since it is not a holiday here. Michael, Major's son, had made us promise to wait until he got home from college to have it since he enjoys eating so much!   We had chicken (turkey is hard to come by here and expensive) and all the trimming, even some Cranberry sauce sent from the US and pumpkin pies and green bean casserole and many more dishes.  There were 16 of us to eat.  They all stuffed themselves and enjoyed!

On Thursday our three medical students from University of Zimbabwe, Ruvimbo, Vimbai and Tariro left for Harare after finishing 3 1/2 weeks here seeing rural medicine as part of their studies.  They enjoyed the Thanksgiving dinner before they left.


Thursday morning we had 2 special guests drops by.  Gloria Mukuze who is an ICU nurse in Santa Rosa, CA and her sister Solace Mukuze , who is an ER nurse in Melbourne,  Australia stopped by to say hi.  Their mom and home are in Mawhada about 40 minutes away.  Their older sister Cynthia teaches at the High School here.  Gloria hasn't been home in 15 years and so she is enjoying seeing everything again and all the changes!  These are my nieces through my sister Sylvia Majoni Brown who lives in Santa rosa.

On Friday Carolyn and Nancy began putting up my Christmas decorations.  They got a lot done and I continued on Saturday and Sunday and almost have my house in order.  I have a lot of decorations and lights!  I even started some Christmas baking!

On Saturday morning we had our AIDS support group for 5-10 year olds.  We refill their medicine, talk about adherence issues and had some video for them and then fed them mahewu (corn drink) and bread and eggs.  They enjoy this special time together.  We also have a support group for their caretakers at the same time which encourages them to take good care of their children.

It did rain hard on Saturday afternoon--we got almost an inch,  and it cooled us down for a few hours!  

The new Bond note


 University of Zimbabwe students

 Thanksgiving


 Pumpkin pie time

Solace, Kathy and Gloria

 AIDS support group for kids



 Christmas is here!





Monday, November 28, 2016

RAINS STARTED , KIDS SUPPORT GROUP AND AN AFRICAN ADVENTURE FOR CHURCH

This week we have been busy unpacking the container in between seeing patients and on Thursday night we started some heavy rain that has continued through today (Monday). We have had almost 3 inches of rain in the past 3 days and more on the way.  The greatest gift is it cooled us down and this morning it was down to 72F at 630 a.m. when I ate breakfast instead of 85F it has been.  What a relief!

Saturday and Sunday people were out in their fields plowing and planting.  It is the official start of our rainy season and we pray it will be a great year!

Saturday we had our support group for kids ages 10-15 with AIDS.  The counsellors spend time having them draw a tree of life to find out what they like, what they want to grow up to be and any problems they are having living with AIDS.  We had 38 kids who came even though it was raining hard.  They also got their meds refilled and we gave them some tea, bread and eggs eat.  They seem to really appreciate this group.  We have time to pray for them and sing and have a devotion.  We have them come every 2 months.

Sunday we went to church at Katche-Katche--about 2 hours away west from us. It was lightly rainy as we went and many people were out in their fields.  It was so beautiful to see green and the trees had almost Fall colors in places with the red and green (maybe Christmas colors?).

We took over 30 youth, crowded into 3 trucks-- from Jinga this time to encourage the church and they kept everyone singing and dancing.  We started church at 1 p.m. and didn't leave until almost 4:30 p.m.

On the way back we crossed several small rivers and Carolyn (Major's daughter) and her cousin Nancy walked a few of them for us to see how deep they were. 

 Michael flew home from school in South Africa and he drove us.  We got to the last river and it was overflowing and about 5 feet deep.  No way we could cross that by vehicle or walking.  There was another car there who had been waiting for an hour and then we noticed the river was rising not going down so we made the decision to go around another way and hope those rivers were not overflowing.  We made it and it added about 1 hour to the trip home--all 3 of our vehicles made it home by 7:30 p.m.  A long day but fun and very exhausting!

 Rain at hospital on Friday

 Support group kids doing their drawing


Runga, our counsellor working with the kids

 Kids singing

 People out plowing

 Trees in colors

 Jinga kids leading the singing and dancing

Women singing special music

Greeting people after church 

 Major and men singing and dancing after church

 Crossing one of the easy rivers

 Girls checking out one of the smaller rivers we crossed

 River we couldn't cross

Cars lined up to cross the river!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pediatric AIDS conference, Harare


This week I was invited to speak on behalf of ZACH (Zimbabwe Association of Church Hospitals) at an International Pediatric AIDS conference.  The theme was “Start Free, Be Free, and Stay Free.”  I presented preliminary studies of our research project looking at 307 kids in our area and how well they are doing on drugs.

We are proud to say that we have had not one baby born to an HIV positive mom this year that was positive so far this year.  The government has set this as their goal for 2020 and we have already reached it!

The conference was a good time to see many old friends and talk to other people working in the field.  We were the only hospital that presented as all of the other presentations were from NGOs doing work in the country.

The conference was all day Thursday and Friday and so Major and I came in Wednesday so he could pick up a truck we had in the shop here.  He picked it up and called me 15 minutes later and said he had only made it about 5 miles from the shop and it broke down.  They came and towed the truck back to the shop and Major spent the night and took my Jeep home on Thursday morning and is coming back tomorrow to try and pick up the fixed truck again!  Then we will both head for home.

Friday night I had dinner with Dr. David Katzenstein from Stanford and his colleagues to discuss our research.  Also Dr. Megan Fitzpatrick had been to Chidamoyo for 2 days while I was in town setting up her research project so she came with Matt and we got to hear about her time at Chidamoyo.

Saturday and Sunday I worked on cleaning and sorting at my townhouse and shopping.  Actually having time to go row by row instead of the usual rush.

Today I went out to get things for the hospital and get my veges so that after I see my doctor in the morning I can take off for home!  We have had a couple of hours of rain here since I came which is nice, as I got to plant some more plants in the yard and they got a good soaking from the rain the same night!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone this week!  Enjoy and have lots of turkey for me.  We hope to have ours next week after Michael gets back from school on Friday this week!  He always complains he misses it—so we will do it late for him!  No turkey here so we eat chicken!

 AIDS Conference in Harare

 Mrs. Chitimberi from ZACH telling how much mission hospitals are doing towards the fight against AIDS

 


 Planting new flowers and plants at the townhouse in Harare

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Busy week

This week has been a busy week with lots going on!  

On Monday we continued a tradition we have at Chidamoyo of blessing cars whenever someone gets a new to them car.  Dr. Isala bought a car for his wife--a Jeep Cherokee and so we went to bless it with singing and prayer.  It is always a special time and a time for us to share in their joy!

On Tuesday Major and I drove to town.  I needed to see my doctor and we had a lot of running around to do.  We split up into 3 cars as our driver had pulled in one of our cars that needed a new oil pump.  We got everything done before the stores closed at 5 p.m.!  The beautiful Flamboyant trees were blooming bright orange and were so beautiful--as the Jacaranda's fade the Flamboyant's take their place.

Wednesday a new container arrived from Sebastopol, CA  and we got it unloaded off the truck without any problems.  We are so happy to receive it and by Thursday we had started to unload it a bit and have started sorting all the medical equipment.  We are so thankful to those who donate, pack and save things for us and for Lynn and Sylvia who sort some of the medical goods for us and for Sue and Gene who do all the picking up, sorting, having their garage always in use by Chidamoyo and packing the container.  We are so thankful for all who help us getting this container here for us to help our patients.  Our doctors and staff get so excited with all the new things we so desperately need.

Also Wednesday we started the day with a woman who came in by ambulance bleeding at 8 months pregnant, proceeding to deliver a stillborn and then continued to bleed and bleed.  We took her into theater to try and stop the bleeding.  We gave her 2 units of blood and still couldn't stop the bleeding.  The doctors decided to transfer her for a hysterectomy but the patient had stopped breathing on us twice and we all knew she was not going to make it the 3 hours to Chinhoyi for further care.  After much encouragement from me they called the OB/GYN in Chinhoyi and he also encouraged them to open her up and tie off her uterus.  So we called Major in and he prayed while we cut!  Dr. Isala tied off all the major vessels to the uterus and put a tourniquet on it inside and then we closed her up and sent her to Chinhoyi for the full hysterectomy.

We decided Major should drive because he could get her there the fastest.  He actually can "fly" over the road at times!  So off she went with more blood hanging, more prayers and Major made the 3 hour trip in 2 hours!!  They stabilized her and took her to theater and did the hysterectomy.  They gave her 3 more units of blood and by the next morning she was out of ICU and transferred to the floor!  We all were so happy!!  We actually have not had a maternal death since July 2015 and so we are happy to keep our record going!!  We all worked hard and God really showed His power to save her!

Friday night we got our first real rain of the year with 6 mms of rain.  It cooled down to 75 last night and I pulled my sheet and blanket up during the night!  It was so nice to wake up and hear the rains.

This morning I left at 6 a.m. for a medical meeting in Chinhoyi for the day and it was so nice to see people out in their fields plowing as it rained lightly all the way to Chinhoyi.  Another rainy season and we pray for good rains and good crops.

Blessing of the new car for Mrs. Isala


 The Flamboyant trees in Harare


 Unpacking the container


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sad News and Glad News

This week has been a busy week at the hospital, but we had some slow afternoons, giving us time to catch up on cleaning up around the hospital and catching up records (finding those green ART cards!) and one afternoon I got some of the nursing staff to walk with me for 30 minutes around the hospital for some exercise!

On the 2nd of November (Wednesday) we received devastating news from Australia.  Our doctor here from 2003-05, Dr. Jono Mbangani and his wife Eva, lost their 16 y/o son who suffered severe brain damage from a Halloween prank.  They had airlifted him to Perth where he stayed on machines for 3 days.  They live 700 kms south of Perth in the town of      .  He died on the afternoon of 3-November and they will be having the funeral next week.  Please keep this family in prayer.  It is such a shock to all of us and we are so thankful they are strong Christians.  We hope to see them in person in December when they come to Zimbabwe for a family vacation to visit home.  This trip was planned several months ago and something their son was looking forward to.  I visited them in Australia in 2007.  Please continue prayers for comfort and love to surround them.

On Thursday we said goodbye to our medical students from University of Zimbabwe who had been with us for a month.  They are 3rd years (out of 5) in a rural hospital attachment.  We had 3 men and Monday the next group comes for one month who are 3 women.  We pray for these future doctors of Zimbabwe to feel a heart for the rural poor people of Zimbabwe.

We are so thankful to so many people that have responded for our need for financing for the hospital.  Since the government has not been able to give us any money since August 2014 it has been very difficult to meet all of the financial constraints we have with running a hospital.  Our patients have less and less money to pay their feeds, so we keep bartering but unfortunately we have to buy drugs and supplies with money.  So we are thankful to all of our donors who keep us going!  It was good news to see money sent to our account this week so we can pay off some of our bills and buy drugs that we desperately need!

Please pray for Zimbabwe.  Things are very tough with no cash available in the country.  People are sleeping in bank queues to get $50 out of their bank account a week!  So many little people like newspaper sellers, phone card sellers, flea market people are really suffering because people don't have cash to buy from them.  We have to go to businesses that take our debit cards because that is the only way to use your money up in your account.  Many of our patients are paying us on a phone account--sent to us by relatives in town so they can get an X-ray or medicine or lab tests.  Then we have to find businesses that will take our phone money to buy things for the hospital with that money.  The government has promised Bond notes to be produced to equal US$ but everyone is afraid of hyperinflation like before.  Pray for us!

Yesterday, Dr. Munodawafa, Major and I went to Karoi for a meeting with Karoi Hospital about District Health needs.  On the way we saw some funny sights of Zimbabwe which I will share with you in pictures!  We keep laughing!

Mto Mbangani with family in ICU in Perth


 Zimbabwe Jack--a stick with a stone!

This is from a Snack Shop

I guess this "popcorn" is for over 18 years only!!


Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Wedding for Chidamoyo

The past 2 weeks have been great at work--some slower days as there have been a few drops of rain here and there.  People are anxious to get their fields ready and plant soon, so only the very sick have been coming.

Unfortunately after a week on IV meds I had 6 good days and then sick again, so back on the IV meds, waiting for the culture, but am already feeling better.  I manage to work and do everything with my IV cannula in!  Patients kind of give me a strange look!

We were very happy yesterday to spend the day celebrating the wedding of two of our staff members who met here at the hospital and now are married.  Alvern Mparadziwa, our theater and ART nurse married Prisllar Chimbavaira, one of our data entry clerks.

They were married in Magunje--an hour towards Karoi from here.  We took 3 car loads of staff and enjoyed the day. It was very hot and crowded in the small church for the 2 and half hour ceremony, but we got outside and stayed there for the eating and reception as it was much cooler!

We are happy for our two staff members and glad we were able to be there to support them!  The hospital stayed quiet and no emergencies while we were away for the day--yeah!

Major has been away since early Friday morning with ministers and men from here and all over the country for a National Men's Conference in Harare.  There was great attendance and great fellowship.  They will be back later today.


 Mr. and Mrs. Mparadziwa




 Hospital staff with the bride and groom


Staff at the wedding




Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A week in Harare

 
 

This past week I took some days off and went in to my townhouse in Harare.  I had planned to be gone for 10 days of rest and relaxation in Harare as soon as all of my visitors left at the end of September.  I hadn't really been away since the visitors started in April and had lots of errands to do and also sort out some things at the townhouse.  I put in for 10 days of leave a month ago and as soon as I did the surgeons from Harare scheduled to come and month end reports had to be done, so I postponed for a couple of days and on the 11th of October took off for Harare.

My first stop in Harare was my doctor because I hadn't been feeling well for about 3 weeks.  She couldn't figure out what was wrong either and so ordered a bunch of blood and urine tests and the only thing that came back positive was a  bad Urinary Tract Infection going on.  She switched me to some new medication as the ones I had started on didn't seem to be working and we waited the 3 days for the Culture to come back.

Since I wasn't feeling very well I spent a lot of time sleeping, watching videos and reading.  I didn't really have the energy to go out and get my errands done.  I would go out and do a few errands early in the morning and then come home and recover!

By Thursday we found out the infection was resistant to all the meds I had been taking and only one medication that we had in the country was suppose to work, so had to go on a treasure hunt to find it.  It has to be given IV push over 5 minutes, twice a day, so had a cannula put in and have been mixing up the medicine and giving it to myself each time.  I have quite a bruised arm from all the times it took to get a cannula in (6!).  The first time I tried to give the injection it infiltrated, so luckily Dr. Kajese and wife came to visit and check on me and he was able to start another cannula that has worked ever since--only 2 more doses and I'll be done--yeah!

I spent the rest of my time in Harare doing a few errands and enjoying the Jacaranda trees which are in full bloom on the streets of Harare this time of the year!  Many streets are lined with the beautiful purple trees. 

On Saturday Major came in by bus to Harare to drive me home and brought Tongi, my gardener at Chidamoyo and so we went and bought some flowers and plants to put in my yard at the townhouse.  We left by 6 p.m. Saturday evening and arrived home by 11 p.m.  This gave me Sunday to rest before starting work on Monday.

While in Harare I did enjoy getting a manicure and pedicure one day and then went back on Friday for a full body massage and facial!  It sure felt good to pamper myself.  I guess I really needed to rest and recover and not run around so much as we usually do when we are in Harare.

Saturday morning, Lynn Johnson from Indiana came by for a short visit.  He is in the country for a couple of weeks to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dewure Mission in Gutu, where he grew up as a missionary kid.  It was good to be able to see him for a few minutes.

I have been back to work for 3 days and it has been pleasantly busy--not too bad.  It is really our hot season now--it was up to 110 F at lunch time--I definitely have been enjoying getting in the pool after work to swim and cool off!  Harare was warm but cooled off at night so I had to use a blanket there--here I rarely use a sheet and keep the fan on all night.  Last night it was 88F when I went to bed!

 
 
 
 

 Jacaranda trees in full bloom in Harare





 Planting scrubs and flowers at townhouse



Tongi busy working in the yard

My bruised arm and cannula!