Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

Cheryl, Mrs. and Dr.Kajese at Christmas brunch

Christmas Brunch

Christmas Brunch

Tea and Bread after church

Mrs. and Mr. Mereki and Carolyn and Michael

Church at the Hospital on Christmas morning

Michael holding a gift for the family

Michael opening a gift

Cheryl getting her gift bag from Major

Staff and their gift bags

Major as Father Christmas

Staff at the hospital party on 23rd

Caroling on the lorry

What a wonderful Christmas we had and I hope each of you did too. This has been a busy week leading up to Christmas. We had movies on Tuesday and Friday nights for 2 weeks leading up to Christmas. The community comes and joins us. We were happy to be rained out one night but postponed the movie until the next night. We were happy to have needed rain.
This past Wednesday night we went caroling in our lorry (big truck) and at each place we stopped added more people to the truck. We ended up with about 40 people squeezed in! We gave out sweets to all the people we sang for. Thursday was a holiday here and the doctors were gone for a wedding, so I did rounds and discharges and then with Cheryl, and the Mereki kids we put together the gift bags for our staff to be given out the next day. That day was hot so jumped in the pool when I got home before making 6 cakes for the party! We were so happy to have electricity all day except an hour during dinner time.
Friday we worked until 1 p.m. and we were running here and there to get everyone’s work done by 1 p.m. so we could start our staff Christmas lunch. We finally got started close to 2 p.m. Michael Mereki played DJ for us and we were happy to have electricity from about 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. when usually on Friday’s we don’t have electricity. We served a wonderful lunch of chicken. beef, rice, Cole slaw and gravy. It was so good. For dessert we had chocolate cake and ice cream—some people had never eaten ice cream before so it was a real treat. We played games, danced, sang and ended with giving a gift bag to each of our 96 staff members of rice, sugar, flour, oil, Mazoe (drink), soap, socks and a scarf! We had bags sent from the US and they were beautiful bags for each which they all enjoyed. We had close to 80 staff there for the party which was great considering many were on leave or days off. We were happy that we had some tent awnings which came in the recent container to put up in our dining area to give us some shade. It was a toasty 108 that day!
We finally finished about 4:30 p.m. and then had a few patients to see and I helped Major pay our construction crew and finally got home at 7:15 p.m. in time for prayers and movie. Went to bed about 11 p.m. exhausted!
Up early to get started on Christmas Eve baking and then to the hospital for work. Got home by 12:30 p.m. and continued with baking. I made cookies, doughnuts, pumpkin and banana breads and Cheryl made an apple pie for our Christmas Eve present opening. We also made coffee, tea and hot chocolate.
The electricity was on from Friday night until about 2:20 p.m. on Sat and then tried to come back for a few minutes about 3 p.m. and died. We knew there was a fault and thought that is it—no electricity for Christmas! I sent them a text message to tell them of the fault and at 7 p.m. when we went to the hospital to start our Christmas Eve candlelight service just as we lit the candles, ZESA came on! Wow! We actually had to go around and turn off lights to have our candlelight service!
After the service, the Mereki family and Dr. Kajese joined Cheryl and I for snacks and opening gifts. We all got wonderful gifts and enjoyed our time together. Major drank 2 large cups of coffee and we kept waking him up as he was so tired! No one left until about 10:30 p.m. When again we fell into bed exhausted!
I was up by 5 a.m. on Christmas morning to start cooking again! We do a lot of eating here! We decided we would have a brunch after church—so I started cooking so it would be ready and we would just have to heat it up when we got home. We were happy to have received 6 mls of rain during the night which cooled us down and it stayed pretty overcast for the day with some more sprinkles here and there. The high for Christmas day was 95 and low 78! Don’t you wish you were here?
We went to church at 8 a.m. and we had a good crowd. We held it at the hospital so the patients could join us. Over 200 people came and then we served bread and jam and margarine and tea to all who came. They ate until they were so full! This was a great Christmas for them.
At 11 a.m. Dr. and Mrs. Kajese, Major and family and Major’s cousin and son joined Cheryl and me for a brunch. We had quiche, ham, sausage, French toast, banana and pumpkin bread, doughnuts and hash browns. We ate outside in my dining room and had tea, coffee and juice. Everyone ate until they were so full—we had a hard time moving! We ate and visited for 3 hours and then Major and family left for their farm at Batanai while the rest of us went to take a long nap.
We ended the day with showing the Jesus film in Shona at the hospital with a good crowd that came out for that. The 26th is a holiday here so we plan to sleep in and go to work at 9 a.m. and only work a half a day and then get ready to go away on Tuesday for a short holiday to the Eastern Highlands to visit with our friend Gladys.
We hope you and your families had a Blessed Day praising our God for the gift of his son.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Container arrives!

African flying termite

The invasion begins--they love light!

Christmas is up at home!

Dr. Kajese and Dr. Kellert holding up ovarian tumor removed!

Starting the surgery for the ovarian cyst!

Starting to remove the container off the lorry

The Lorry arrives with the container

The container from Sebastopol Christian Church arrived on Saturday last week (10th of December). It was quite an experience to get it here; in fact it could be a movie script!
One of doctors left on Saturday at 6:30 a.m. to go to Chinhoyi with the driver and they only got about 5 miles away from the hospital when they found the truck bringing the container had broken down on our big hill (Dzimaiwei Hill—which means “Oh my goodness” hill) since the night before. The driver came back to tell us and quickly Major took off with the Land Rover and tractor to pull it up the hill. They got there by 7:30 a.m. and went to work. The doctor and driver went on to Chinhoyi (3 hours away) while Major went to work trying to get the truck with the container up the hill. Shortly after they went to work—another truck showed up (large lorry) which had come to pick up peanuts from the hospital. The driver decided that he could get by on the right of the truck and then promptly got his wheels stuck off the road so now there were 2 trucks stuck at a V shape angle! The whole hill was now totally blocked.
The combi’s which transport patients back and forth to the hospital couldn’t get by the trucks. So the one’s bringing patients from the hospital pulled up to the truck and let their passengers walk around trucks and get to another combi who was bringing patients to the hospital. Those people got out and walked to the combi stuck on the other side. So they traded passengers and kept going back and forth like that while the trucks were stuck!
Soon it was learned that the truck carrying the container had a starter problem—so they went to work on that. Our mechanic was the driver who had gone to Chinhoyi with the doctor—so they called and told him to hurry back.
While they were waiting for the mechanic to get back a pickup truck driven by a local headmaster came up the hill before seeing the trucks. Major’s son Michael tried to wave them down to warn them of the obstacle ahead and they assumed he wanted a ride, so didn’t slow down and went over the hill to see 2 big trucks stuck, blocking the way. The driver panicked and had no brakes—so he decided to drive into the hill to stop and in front of all the people flipped his car over and ended up upside down! The people said it was like watching slow motion crash! They waited to go to the car thinking they might have died but soon a hand was reaching out the window and so they ran to drag them out of the cab of the truck. They helped to turn the truck over and the roof was dented in and windscreen shattered, but they got them going away and they turned around and left with the truck with no brakes!
Shortly after 1 p.m. the driver arrived back from Chinhoyi fixed the truck with the container and they used the local road crew caterpillar to pull out the 2 stuck trucks—one at a time and they finally arrived at 4 p.m. with the container and to pick up the peanuts! Major and group arrived hungry, dusty and tired, but quickly went to work to pull the container off the truck. It took awhile but finally it was off! By 5:45 p.m. the peanuts were loaded on their way and the truck with the container offloaded was on their way too! What a day!
We are so thankful for the container and so far in a week haven’t had a chance to unload it because Major was in Harare 3 days this week. We hope to get it open on Monday.
We are happy to report we have had over 100mls of rain this week. People are happy and busy in their fields! Keep praying for rain it is working. We have had enough rain to bring out the flying termites tonight and they are coming in the house as I write! Luckily it only lasts for 2-3 nights a year, so the invasion has begun. This is a favorite snack for the local people so they are so happy!
On Thursday Dr. Cheryl Kellert took out a 9 pound ovarian cyst/fibroid. She had to work hard to dissect it. This lady looked like she was 20 months pregnant when she came in and had been living with all the extra fluid and mass for 3 years. We drained 15.5 litres of fluid out of the mass before the operation! We had referred her to Chinhoyi Hospital last year and they did an ultrasound and said they saw no mass! How thankful we are here to have Dr. Kellert her who made such a difference in this woman’s life! I am sure word will spread fast and many more women will come for help.
Yesterday (Friday) Major, Cheryl and I went off to Harare for the day to do some Christmas shopping and some errands for the hospital. We left by 5 a.m. and spent the day on the run! We left Harare at 6 p.m. with the car full and got home at 11 p.m. We were all exhausted! Couldn’t wait to fall into bed. Those one day trips to Harare are killer days! We did enjoy lunch at the Belgian Chocolate Shop!
This afternoon was spent wrapping presents and putting them under the tree. This will be a busy week with Tuesday movie, Wednesday caroling, Friday staff lunch—need to bake 5 cakes, Friday night movie, Saturday night candlelight Christmas Eve service, after that opening presents and snacks at my house with Major’s family, doctors and wife and Cheryl and I. Sunday morning, church at the hospital, 9 a.m. with tea after for all who come and then brunch at noon here for Major and family, one doctor and wife and Cheryl and I. Monday is a holiday here—so we have some time to recover from the busy week!
Then Tuesday night (27th) Major and family and Cheryl and I head to Harare to spend the night and then leave early the next morning for Nyanga to see Gladys and do some exploring in the Eastern Highlands, an area full of fir trees, lakes with trout and waterfalls! We come back on the 31st to have NY Eve with the community which goes all night and have church at 5 a.m. on the 1st after the all night church meeting. Then we collapse!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Christmas is up!

Hysterectomy at Chidamoyo with Dr. Kabanzi and Dr. Kellert and myself doing anesthesia

Thanksgiving dinner at Chidamoyo

Students enjoying all that food!

Major is getting ready to eat!

Thanksgiving was celebrated here on Sunday November 27th. Thanksgiving Day is not a holiday here and so it is always a busy day and no time to cook the feast—so we usually have it on Saturday, but Major and family wanted to go home to plant that weekend so we had it Sunday night after church. We had Major and wife Patience, Dr. Kabanzi, Dr. Kellert and 3 medical students from University of Zimbabwe who are here for 4 weeks with us. We started by explaining what Thanksgiving was and they really got into the eating part!
We had planned on having chicken because turkey is hard to come by and very expensive here, but the driver didn’t get to the butchery in time to pick up the chickens I ordered and paid for, so we had one small chicken and roast pork with all the trimmings! We had a table full of food and those young men could eat. Cheryl (Dr. Kellert) made 2 pumpkin pies and an apple pie! So we really enjoyed and left some leftovers for some days.
We have been busy at the hospital and Dr. Kajese has been gone for a month as his father was critically ill, but now doing better and then he had a 2 week workshop that lasts until today and then he is coming home. He is most anxious to get back to the bush.
We stayed closed to home to cover for him and went 2 days to Harare to do some pre-Christmas shopping, visit the doctor, and pick up Major’s kids who finished school on the 30th of November. This is the end of the school year and the new school year starts on January . They were so excited to be out of school!
Saturday the 3rd was spent in decorating for Christmas—it took all day, but I got it done! I have 30 boxes of decorations so it takes time! Our electricity had been off all day from 12:30 a.m. due to a fault but it came back at 5:30 p.m. and we got to see the lights light up!
Last week we had a young 18 year old walk in having delivered a premie at home—still attached to the placenta. Dr. Cheryl Kellert went to take care of it and then she was in my office saying it is twins, and then 10 minutes later she was saying it is triplets and then within another few minutes—it is quads! Four babies and no IVF! First pregnancy. It was only about a 24 week gestational pregnancy so none lived beyond a few minutes after delivery. This was definitely a first for all of us!
Yesterday we had another first in the 31 years I have been at Chidamoyo. We did our first hysterectomy with Cheryl teaching as she worked with what instruments we have and did well. We also had a C/Section to start off the day. It was hot in the theater and the small air conditioner was struggling so she came out soaked with sweat! It was a great morning!
We also received word yesterday that she will be stationed in Chinhoyi to do her 3 months acclimatization to get her medical license here. She goes on Monday morning to arrange this. We are glad she will be close (3 hours) where we can refer patients and also she can come home on weekends. She will learn what can and can’t be done in the Province and meet with people we work with. Part of the time she will be living with Nick and Lindale Marshall Adams, missionaries in Chinhoyi. We are hoping this will be a great time for her and also it will go fast so we have her back here again soon.