Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Whirlwind 2 weeks!


It has been a very busy 2 weeks and hardly time to catch everyone up!  We of course, had many visitors over these few days.  On the 9th a team of 8 from or Research project came to visit from Tuesday-Friday.  We went over some issues with our ongoing research on Adolescents on ART.  We have enrolled close to 350 children in the study.  We are looking at Viral Loads, kidney function, urine, and how compliant they are on their drugs. We started in February and will go through February 2020.

Dr. Ben Wattley from the UK continued his visit with us and he worked Monday morning drawing Viral Loads.  Since the week before had been a holiday—we had 2 weeks’ worth to draw.  We ended up sending more than 250 samples.

On Thursday the 11th I went out to Batanai to draw Viral Loads.  The road has gotten a lot worse in 2 months!  It was a killer!  We did get the blood drawn and the kids are doing well at this site.

On the 11th of May, Courtney Walker, and RN from my hometown of Santa Rosa, CA arrived for a 2 week visit before traveling on to another medical mission in Ethiopia.  She works at Kaiser hospital in Santa Rosa, and we put her to work right away helping me with 2 C/Sections over the weekend.  She is a cardiac nurse at home, so she was excited to be helping with babies!  She helped me resuscitate one.

On the 11th-14th we had Seniors from our Bible College (Zimbabwe Christian College) here for the weekend to train them how to minister to sick people in their future congregations.  We began this program in 1992 and have continued every year since then to train these future ministers.  They spend time in the hospital with us on Saturday and go out to preach on Sunday at our churches.  Saturday night we have a dinner for everyone and Sunday night I have snacks for them at my house after church, so we can do a critique on churches they went to and about the sick patients they see.  They leave on Monday morning after devotions at the hospital. 

This past week we had 7 men and 1 woman and 2 faculty members who came from the College and this next weekend we will have the same number—so it is a busy time.

Ben was off to see Vic Falls on the 12th-14th and just came home from Harare last night and we put him to work again.

This week we started an HPV campaign in the country for girls from ages 10-14.  We have been covering 6 schools a day for the whole week.  Courtney has been going out to help and Ben joined her today.  They come home very exhausted and dusty from head to toe about 6 p.m.!  We are happy for this program as Cervical Cancer is so high in Zimbabwe, which is almost all caused by HPV.

On Monday afternoon we were joined by Evelyn Haasbroek and her friend Ben who are pre-med in North Caroline at Bob Jones University.  They will be Juniors this fall.  Evelyn is from Chinhoyi and came out here three years ago when she was in high school to see if she wanted to pursue a medical career.  This experience decided it for her and she wanted to come and observe and help for a few days.  They leave on Thursday afternoon.

Ben and Courtney are off for a weekend at Rhino Camp this weekend and then we all head into Harare next Wednesday as they leave on Thursday.

 Ben drawing viral loads

 Ben on left assisting Dr. Isala with a C/Section

 Courtney holding C/Section baby we resucitated

 Out at Batanai to draw viral loads at their ART clinic

 Caroline, part of the research group, giving devotions for our staff and patients


CBART Research group


 Ben from US helping take vital signs on outpatients

Ben and Evelyn taking vital signs on Outpatients

 Courtney drawing blood on ART patients

Zimbabwe Christian College students learning in my office at the hospital


Saturday, May 5, 2018

More visitors, a new car and goodbyes

This week has been busy and it started last Saturday night when Dr. Dale Erickson, our first doctor at Chidamoyo in 1968 came for a visit.  He arrived on Saturday evening in time for dinner.  He has been in Zimbabwe visiting friends and giving lectures at the Medical School for a short 8 day trip.  He was suppose to come for the reunion in January but had to postpone because his wife was not doing well.  We are happy she is doing a bit better now and Dale was able to leave for a few days to visit us.


We had a great visit, even though short and he preached for our Sunday night church service at the hospital.  The highlight of that service is seeing all the 9 month pregnant women who are staying in our Waiting Mothers shelter, singing and dancing!  We always have 60+ women at a time waiting.  Many dance very hard so that they can go into labor and go home, so it is always fun!


Stephanie and boys got back from Rhino Camp on Sunday afternoon with Major.  They had a great time and caught 2 cool boxes full of fish!  They were so happy.


Dale left for Harare after breakfast on Monday and Major caught a ride with him.  He went in to pick up a new to us vehicle that Steven and Lorraine Marshall left for us when they left the country.  We are so happy to have this Range Rover for the hospital.

Tuesday was a holiday here (May 1--Workers Day) and Stephanie and the boys went to Major's village in  Batanai to spend the day.  They walked to the Sanyati River and enjoyed seeing how people live in their rural homes.  They also enjoyed Sadza and Fish for lunch!

Tuesday at midnight we were joined by another visitor, Dr. Ben Wattley, from the UK.  He is visiting and working with us for 3 weeks.  He is from Norwich area.  He has been busy seeing in-patients and out-patients with our doctors and seems to be enjoying it a lot.


We always have a big ceremony for anyone at the hospital that gets a new car to sing and bless the car.  Our staff surrounded our new to us car and prayed for all who would ride in it to be safe and for it to be used for God's glory.  We did that with the new car on Thursday after devotions.


On Thursday  at devotions we said goodbye to Stephanie at the hospital and she gave us one last lecture to the nurses and doctors so we could learn from her.  We are so happy she and her boys came to spend 2 weeks with us.  The boys kept busy putting in Viral Load results into the computer  and helping Major put the Petty cash vouchers in order and the computer. Stephanie saw several patients and taught the doctors a lot about ENT.  She plans to come back again next year.


Friday morning Stephanie and boys and Major left for Harare.  Stephanie and family went onto Victoria Falls this morning and Major had a Bible College board meeting in Harare.


Waiting Mothers dancing and singing


Major translating for Dr. Erickson at Sunday night church at the hospital



 Dr. Erickson and Dr. Huang

 The new Range Rover

 Staff singing and dancing to bless the new vehicle


 Stephanie giving us an in-service lecture

Kathy and Stephanie

Stephanie saying goodbye with Major translating at the hospital



Julian, Kathy, Stephanie and Lucas

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Visitors and a busy week


We started this week by welcoming many visitors to Chidamoyo Hospital.  On Sunday evening, the 22nd of February Dr. Stephanie Huang from Santa Rosa, CA  arrived with her 2 sons Julian and   Lucas .  Stephanie who is an ENT surgeon came last year in June and said she really wanted to come back with her sons and so we are happy to welcome them for 2 weeks.

Every Monday morning we have Viral Load draw day for our 5,249 patients on ART.  the viral load tells us if the medication is working to control their AIDS and if they are taking their medicine.  We start drawing by 0645 and at 0800 Major comes to do devotions for us.  This has been a special time of encouragement for our patients.

Monday morning we welcomed a team that had come to visit Martha and Fanny Nyamutora, who minister in Gweru.  Fanny’s home village is down at the end of our airstrip.  He had a team of American ladies that had come out to help with a Women’s Conference and VBS in Gweru and came to have a night at Fanny’s village and joined us for a tour of the hospital and have tea with us Monday morning.

We were joined by Bev Campbell of Gresham, OR; Michelle Larson of Rochester, MN; Sharon Werner of Lyons, CO and Marette Longenson of MN.  

Major and I actually share a supporting church of Bev Campbell in Lemon Grove, CA and we actually had been together there in 2015 for a missions Sunday.  Also her father, Paul Douglass and her late mother, came and helped at the Bible College in Harare in the early 90's and stayed in my house in Harare for the 3 months they were here.

Sharon Werner was visiting her daughter in Eugene, OR when we spoke last year at Santa Clara Christian Church.  She heard us there that Sunday morning.  Amazingly a small world we all ended up at Chidamoyo!

They brought small gifts for the patients and Pediatric patients which they gave out.  We saw them off about noon for the long ride back to Gweru (9 hours!).  We were thankful they took time out of their busy schedule to visit us.

We kept Stephanie busy seeing patients and she presented an in-service for the staff  one morning.

The twin boys,  Lucas ans Julian,  celebrated their 16th birthday here on Wednesday (25th of April) and we celebrated with cake and ice cream for all the staff at tea.  What a special treat as no one ever gets ice cream out here in the bush!

The boys have been kept busy doing some computer work for Major and me and also helping Stephanie in some of her procedures—they keep the patients entertained—especially the kids!  We also put them to work on Thursday at the vaccination clinic measuring kids heights and arm circumferences.  They didn’t seem to mind the loud noise of kids crying and moms yelling!

All week we have had high school kids here at the hospital to work in each of the departments to see different careers that might interest them.  They help with everything from cleaning up the yard to counting pills to helping in the lab, kitchen and laundry and following the nurses.  Lucas and Julian thanked them for their volunteer work by giving out pens to them as a thank you.

Friday,  Stephanie and the boys left with Major to go on a weekend safari at Rhino Camp.  I am sure they are happy seeing animals and Major is happy fishing!

Today (Saturday) I decided to take a day off from work and get some things done around the house and catch up on my “to do” list.  It has been wonderful.  It has been several months since I have been able to do that.

Major giving devotions on Viral Load draw day

 Marette, Fanny, Sharon, Martha, Stephanie, Kathy, Bev, Major and Michelle

 Stephanie at Work


Stephanie giving a lecture to the staff


Stephanie at work

 Eating sadza for lunch

 Kathy telling Julian how to do some work for the hospital

 The twins celebrating their birthday


The boys handing out pens to the high school kids

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Busy week, Workshop, Birthday, Harare surgery team here and Tyler leaves!






This past week was busy here as we tried to finish off our month end reports and see our patients.  It was a busy week with many patients and Tyler, our medical student helped with 4 C/Sections in less than 16 hours!  He was happy!

On Thursday and Friday a Health team came to conduct a workshop here to teach us how we are going to be reimbursed for the amount of work we do in the future.  Since we see a lot of patients we do hope to benefit from this program and we hope it brings us funding for the hospital that we have not had for 2 years and 7 months. 

As we were involved with this training we all had to go in and out to see our patients and keep the hospital moving at the same time, so we were going early and coming home late to get both done.
We celebrated Dr. Isala, our Medical Superintendent’s, birthday with a cake during lunch at the meeting.  Everyone got a bite of cake to celebrate.  He has been with us 4 years this week too.
On Friday night I hosted a dinner for the team that came and my visitors—so there were 13 of us for dinner. 

Friday night to Saturday morning kept me going to my door all night.  At 2 am the driver came to take 2 of the team members to Karoi and pick up our surgeon and Anesthesiologist from Harare who left Harare at 2 a.m. to meet him in Karoi at 4 a.m. so they could come on for a day of surgery here.

Then at 3:30 a.m. another driver came to get a car to transfer a patient to Karoi who had been bitten by a hemotoxic snake and was bleeding internally and had a platelet of 35!
By 5 a.m. the team who presented the conferences left so I got up to see them off and just decided to stay up and get coffee and muffins ready for the surgery team before they started a long day of surgery!

By 6:15 a.m. the surgery team was here and ready to go but they had to wait 30 minutes as our team did a C/Section—the second one that night!  Then they started their work!

They had 12 people on their list and 3 hysterectomies.  They worked hard and Tyler got to assist and hold instruments and put some stitches in so he was very happy.  They all broke for breakfast at 1 p.m. and then came to my house when finished at 5 p.m. and had dinner.  They left at 6 p.m. to return home to Harare and Tyler went with them as he is off to spend a couple days in Harare with a urologist seeing patients and then going to Victoria Falls for a few days before leaving next Sunday.

Last night I went to bed at 8:30 p.m. exhausted and woke up at 6:30 a.m.!  Started my 4 loads of laundry to get all the linen used by the visitors cleaned before the next lot and got 2 done before the electricity went off at 10 a.m.! What a week!

 Teaching at the workshop

 Staff who attended

 Mrs. Isala lighting the birthday cake for her husband

 Dr. Isala blowing out the candles


 Saying goodbye to Tyler at devotions

 Tyler helping Harare surgeon and our doctors


Tyler doing some suturing with Dr. Isala

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Retirement lunch, Happy Easter and lots of visitors

On the 29th of  March we had a retirement lunch for all our staff at the hospital to honor 2 staff who were retiring at the end of March.

Mr. Wise Makaza, our driver for 12 years and Mrs. Patricia Tapfuma, a Nurse Aide for 28 years and work in the Pharmacy retired.  We had a wonderful lunch and Major and his family sang and we gave them each 100 broiler chickens with fencing and chicken food to get them started in raising chickens to sell.  We also gave them $100 each in cash for their service to us.

On Friday the 30th through Monday the 2nd we had a 4 day Easter holiday here.  Many of our churches had Easter meetings from Friday night through Sunday morning so it was quiet here with most people away.  I had to stay and be on call for anesthesia.  We did 2 C/Sections, but both during the day--so I got off easy!

On the 1st of April,  Dr. Chiura, my urologist from Harare, came out with 2 residents to see some patients and be here for lunch.  We set up for him to come again later in the week for some surgeries.

That evening Tyler Sheetz arrived who is a final year medical student at Ohio State to be with us for a month.  He gets back just in time to graduates and starts a urology residency at Ohio State in July.

On Tuesday 6 people from our Research team from Stanford and Harare arrived to stay until Saturday morning.  We also had a busy week covering 3 outreach sites and our support group at Chidamoyo on Saturday to draw Viral Loads for our research project.

So I kept busy going out to the clinics and drawing blood and cooking for 8 people and all with no electricity!  Our electricity went out on the 30th and finally came back a week later on Friday night!  It's always a challenge keeping food cold, water cold to drink and food hot--all with no electricity.  Thank goodness for gas stoves!

Tyler kept busy helping us draw bloods and doing 2 C/Sections this week during the night!  

Dr. Chiura came back on Friday with a resident from Harare and saw patients but then left after lunch as no one qualified for surgery.  We are starting him a list to come back for.

Our kids who are under 12 showed up for their support group and medicine on Saturday morning and Tyler drew the 42 blood draws we had.  We came home exhausted to rest in the afternoon!  Then our electricity went out again all Saturday afternoon but came back about 6 p.m. so we were very happy!  Or freezers are frozen again!


 Mrs. Tapfuma and Mr. Makaza at their lunch

 Mrs. Tapfuma

 Mr. Makaza

Major and family singing

 Tyler drawing blood from kids at Chiroti

Group being drawn at Nhari by Kathy


 Kathy drawing at Chedope

 Tyler watching a surgery

Research group with Tyler and me

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Unpacking cintainer, interviewing a new doctor

It has been busy this week unpacking the container that arrived recently.  We have been unloading it a truck load at a time and bringing it up to the hospital to unload.  Carolyn Mereki has been helping to unload and sort and then she delivers it to the different departments.

We are really happy with a lot of good supplies that we are unpacking to use at the hospital.

We are putting the barrels and boxes in the hallway outside my office and opening them when we have time.  It is always fun to see what we get!

On Friday this week we traveled to Kadoma (1 hour south of Harare), about 4 1/2 hour drive for us.  We met up with Mashoko administration to interview 6 people for jobs at Chidamoyo and Mashoko as doctors.  We have tentatively made decisions, but have another 2 people to interview--so please pray with us that we choose the right doctor.

The doctor strike continues since 1 March.  No settlement and government hospitals only doing emergencies so we can't really refer other patients either.  The doctors here make a basic salary of  $389  a month.  Also they want  equipment and medicines available in the hospitals they work in.  We hope this is settled soon.

 Unpacking the container

 Waiting to be unpacked

 Carolyn sorting things from container



Dr. Moyo and Major from Chidamoyo at the Interviews