Monday, January 11, 2010

Life in Zimbabwe

Some days it is not hard to know I am in Africa. Today I spent the whole day starting AIDS patients on ART (drugs to treat it). When doing a history on one of the patient’s they named their 6 children:
#3 - Purposes
Where else but Zimbabwe can you get such wonderful names?
Then on my way to the Lab a patient stopped me and needed her VD taken. When I said VD—she said yes VD and when I looked at her card she was a hypertension patient and I figured out she meant Bp!
As I keep the office doors open where I am counseling and the open to our outside courtyard, a chicken wandered in today. Not something you normally notice in a hospital in the US—I wonder if they are JACHO approved. Then I went to the outpatient department and saw a person sitting with his chicken in his hands—to pay for any drugs ordered and another one had left a pig tied outside for the same reason and we could hear it squealing throughout the hospital! Does he realize he will be dinner tomorrow for the patients?
This week we have had a lot of rain and the rivers are full, the fields are wet and the maize is growing! Everyone is certainly in a happy mood! Hope your week has been as good!
Yesterday (Sunday) I went out with Major and group of 7 young adults to Jinga church—only about 15 kms away but about a 70 minute very bumpy ride away. The kids sang all the way there with a drum. We waved to all the people on the way who were so happy to see us and were busy working in their fields—weeding! When there are good rains and people are able to see good crops growing they are so happy! We got to the church and waited. Within an hour we started and we had over 70 there by the time we were done. The chicken that was running around the church when we arrived quickly ended up in a pot and they served us sadza and chicken before we left for home. The kids sang again all the way back. What a fun time we all had. It makes me so happy to go out away from the hospital and really visit and see the people. So many have had babies here and are happy to show me how big they are now!
This week GOAL, an Irish aid organization, was in our area giving out soap for washing hands to prevent cholera. All the people in our area including our staff got 4 long bars of green soap. Sunday’s offering had several bars of soap in it! They gave them to us to use in the hospital.
This weekend the electricity went out at 5 on Saturday evening and came back at 11:30 p.m. and last night it went off at 7 p.m. during our Sunday evening service at the hospital and came back at 11:40 p.m. It was off by 7:30 a.m. Seems they are having more power cuts because they are “working” on fixing the system!
Major left at 4:30 a.m. today to take the kids to school. Carlton (Monica’s son) was dropped at the bus to go to Mashoko and start Form 6 tomorrow. Carolyn and Michael (Major’s kids) were dropped in Harare at grandma’s to start tomorrow. Carolyn is beginning high school—Form 1 and was so excited! Michael is in Form 4 and will be writing exams the end of this year. Carolyn was so excited she came fully dressed in her uniform last week to show me! I hope her enthusiasm continues throughout the school year! Michael told me recently he was the only person in his class that had actually seen a donkey in real life! I guess all of his classmates are city folks and don’t get to the rural areas!
Enjoy your week—who knows what God will bring this week!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year 2010!


Well today is January 2 and so far it has been uneventful New Year. We closed out-patients on NY Eve at 1 p.m. and finally got to go home about 2 p.m. for the day. I spent the rest of the day taking down Christmas decorations (5 big plastic bins) and my tree—by 6 p.m. 5 guys came to carry it and my tree off to my store room. As I get older is sure is nice to have help in carrying those heavy boxes!
At 7:00 p.m. we started movie night at the church. They watched 9 to 5 and then a Jet Lee Kung-Fu which was the hit with everyone. The church was packed and people even looking in the windows! We had a church service from 11-12 to ring in the New Year and at 12 they beat the church bell and blew the horn on the truck! It was nice to see the community come to some family time instead of going to the township and drinking to bring in another year!
Friday I took the day off and Lori went to the hospital and I continued to take down decorations and clean my house. I was sweating so much I was in out of the pool to keep cool! One exciting thing is since our 9 days of no electricity, since it came back on the 30th at 9 p.m. it hasn’t gone off—62 hours straight and counting! Maybe they forgot us! Ha!
Today I am at the hospital and Lori is enjoying a day off. Have a few patients I discharged and some new emergencies to see, but not so busy—should be out of here by 1 p.m.!
Major went to his village yesterday and he checked on my field (1 acre of maize) and the maize is doing well! We are thankful that crops are doing well so far!
One unpleasant start to the New Year—I started it with a urinary tract infection—so on antibiotics and hoping it will get better!
Take care and all the best for a good start to the new year for you! Love, Kathy

Christmas at Chidamoyo

Well Christmas 2009 has come and gone. We enjoyed many activities which included our local community. On Wed December 16 we started with the movie “The Nativity” and then had to cancel the movie on December 18th due to a heavy storm. Our chapel is still full of our bartered food for hospital services so we have to show the movies at my outside movie theater and so if it rains we have to cancel! We did show a movie on Saturday the 19th and on Sunday the 20th the youth group did a drama for the crowd who came to church on Sunday night at the hospital.
On Monday the 21st and Tuesday the 22nd we showed Christmas movies and then on the 23rd we went caroling around the mission. The tradition here is that we start with a small group and as we go house to house those people join us—so by the time we finished we had over 200! We gave sweets to all who came!
Tuesday the electricity went off and has not come back since. We sent people on Wed and Thurs to get ZESA workers to fix the problem but all they did was finally find 3 poles down and say they would fix it sometime! So in the meantime—no electricity until "sometime". I think this is our 4th Christmas in a row without electricity!
On the 24th we finished the hospital work by 1 p.m. and then we had our Annual Christmas party for the staff. We served 2 pigs, 24 chickens, 50kg of rice, 10 kg coleslaw and 6 cakes! People ate and ate! Two of the staff was sick the next day from all they ate! We played games and then gave speeches to thank our staff for all their hard work throughout the year. We ended with giving each staff member 2 kg flour, 2 kg sugar, 2 kg rice, 1 long bar of soap, and 2 litres of Mazoe drink. They were all so happy to have food to celebrate the next day with their families. This was actually our second Christmas dinner for the year as we had to cancel our last year one due to cholera and we finally had it in May! This year no cholera so far—yeah!
On Christmas Eve was had a candlelight sing. Didn’t have to turn the lights off since we had no electricity. We sang carols and then read the Christmas story from scripture. Afterwards the Mereki family and Dr. Murenje came to my house for snacks and opening presents! We had a great time and the party didn’t end until after 11 p.m.!
Christmas morning I was up by 6 to get the pumpkin pies made before church at 9 a.m. We had church in the courtyard of the hospital and over 200 people came! After church we had told people to bring their cups for tea and bread. We served 95 loaves of bread! Cut into 1 inch slices with jam or margarine, people ate until they were very full! One of the msasa women (those staying in our maternity waiting shelters) came for the service while in labor, because she didn’t want to miss the tea and bread—but after the service she had to go into maternity and delivered within 10 minutes, 2 boys! We named them Christmas and Noel! We brought her take out tea and bread!!
After tea Lori and I went home and started cooking and by 2 p.m. we were ready to serve up the Christmas feast. We had used the gas stove and turned the generator on to use the electric stove too! We had invited the Mereki family and Dr. Murenje. Dr. Murenje woke up sick and we thought he had the flu so we had told him to rest until dinner was ready. When we went to call him at 2 p.m. he had broken out in chickenpox! So we brought him dinner and I am now on call until he is better.
We ate turkey (I found a 7 ½ pound turkey for $31!), ham and all the trimmings! We had pumpkin pie and Christmas cookies for dessert! So 8 of us enjoyed! We finally finished about 5 and then we went to take a nap! I woke up long enough to watch some TV and then off to bed! It has been very hot to sleep with no electricity but jumped into the pool before bed to cool off and sleep better!
Today is Boxing Day and so holiday. I made rounds this morning and checked on the doctor—he is better but itching! Finished washing the dishes from yesterday—having to heat water on my gas stove to use for the dishes! Maybe we can hope today they might fix the electricity-ha!
Hope your holidays have been great and a time of Joy and Thanksgiving for the birth of our Savior!