Saturday, January 28, 2012


Lori and Major at her going away with staff

Dr. Kirsty Smith at work on the CD4 machine

Ryan at ART/EPI clinic

Bob working in the dusty chapel

Dr. Ryan and Dr. Greg

We have been very busy with visitors this past week. Bob is here helping to put roofs on our 2 new additions. He is finding out things never move fast in Africa, so he has been keeping busy painting our new flats while he waits for the timbers to arrive for the roof.
On Tuesday afternoon last week, Lori Batten joined us. She came to pack up her household here and get her dog, Maputi and return to the US. She was busy saying good-bye and packing and left this morning for Harare to get Maputi on the plane home today and then she leave tomorrow afternoon. . We had a breakfast in her honor on Friday at work so she could say her good byes. She is working in Seattle. We wish her well as she adjusts to life in the US. While she was here running around in shorts, Seattle had a snow storm with 12 inches in some areas! She is looking forward to a short term trip to Niger in June and helping with a church camp in CA in July.
On Wed. evening last week we welcomed Greg and Ryan, Family Practice residents from Ohio State. They are with us for about 3 ½ weeks. They are enjoying seeing many new diseases and seeing how we deal with limited resources to treat so many patients. On Saturday they helped Dr. Kellert in theater (OR).
Dr. Kellert has almost finished one month (she has to do 3 for her license) at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital. She is not very busy there and only works until 1 each day. She has 2 days of theater (OR) if they have anesthesia people. She is enjoying living with a missionary family in Chinhoyi, Nick and Lindale Adams who are keeping her well fed and taken care of! She comes home on Friday afternoon here and stays until 5 a.m. Monday when she heads back. We put her to work on Saturday’s doing theater for us!
Saturday afternoon last week, our friend, Zebedee Togarepi from Chiredzi joined us. He is a minister and on our hospital board. We had a good visit with him over the weekend and he left this morning for home—a 12 hour drive.
We welcomed on Tuesday this week Dr. Kirsty Smith, a scientist, from the UK—Kirsty. Major was in Harare dropping Lori off and picking up Kirsty. He has been doing a lot of airport runs this month!
We received some good rain this past week—over 5 inches so we are happy and the fields look a bit better. Major and his family were busy weeding my field on Saturday.
Electricity was on and off this week, as usual but maybe a bit better than normal. Our visitors are getting into the predicting game of when it will come back. Little things amuse us here!
We head tomorrow to Chijawi—about an hour from here on a bad road—to revive a church. No one has been meeting there for about 15 years and a group has come to ask us to help get the church going again. We have agreed and tomorrow we are going with a lorry of people from our church here at Chidamoyo to encourage and revive the people in this area. We are excited about this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

Mom and stolen baby after reunited!

Bob and Cheryl at church on Sunday

Fireworks NY Eve

NY Eve celebrations at the church

Driving home on NY Eve

Mereki Family, Gladys and her maid and Dr. Kellert

Major exploring ruins in the Highlands

Dr. Kellert at Nyangombe Falls

Happy New Year 2012. As we say here “Makorkoto Gore Itsva!”
We went to the Eastern Highlands and stayed in Juliasdale from December 28-31. We stayed in a wonderful Inn across the street from Gladys. Cheryl and I had a fireplace in our bedroom, but we seemed inept in getting it to burn very long! It was cool and raining and so green! A different world from Chidamoyo. We haven’t slept under blankets since September and there we slept under 2 blankets and it got down to low 60’s at night.
We got to see Gladys several times and she is doing well. Keeps very busy visiting the “old people” and making sure they are ok, taking their meds, have food, etc. She celebrates her 75th in September—so we will have to think of someplace special to go. She also celebrated 50 years in Zim in July 2011!
We spent time climbing mountains, seeing waterfalls and driving through the Honde Valley. We kept looking for some special sweet bananas but never found them, but peaches and plums and apples were in season and we ate a lot of those and came back with some.
We got back at 8 p.m. on Saturday (NY eve) night and after unpacking and eating—Cheryl and I went off to bed. Mereki’s went to the church for the all night meeting. We were in the midst of a 7 day straight no ZESA due to a fault, so we pulled up the portable generator for them to show 2 films. About 3 a.m. it started raining. At 5 a.m. we joined the all nighters for church (most had left and the ones left were sleeping!) and then came to my house for breakfast with Dr. Kellert and Major and Patience—the kids went home to crash!
It continued to rain most of the day, and Major left about 1 p.m. to go and get visitors from Singapore, Nikki and Justin Hess who have been here several times. They are Zimbabweans who are helping a lot with our school projects. They arrived in the midst of Sunday night church and after church we had a nice dinner with them and Major’s family and Dr. Kellert.
Monday, the 2nd was a holiday here but it started with word from Dr. Kajese that his father who has been very ill on dialysis for several months, died earlier that morning. We made arrangements for Major and Dr. Kabanzi to go to represent us at the funeral and for our truck to go and help transport people to the funeral at their rural home near Mutoko. So that meant all the schools we had planned for Nikki and Justin to do on Tuesday had to be done Monday—so Major took off with them for the day.
On Tuesday morning Dr. Kellert left to begin her Chinhoyi Hospital orientation for 3 months, Nikki and Justin went to Harare and Major and Dr. left for the funeral beyond Harare at 4 a.m. and our driver in another truck! That left me in charge of the hospital and it was a busy day since we had our out-patient clinic closed for the 3 days of holiday! I didn’t have time for tea or lunch and finally got home at 7 p.m.! Since there was no electricity, I ate and was in bed by 8 p.m. Of course, I left all the lights on in the house and surprise after 7 days off—ZESA came back at 11 p.m.! Had to go around and turn inside lights off and outside lights on! Wow—turned that fan on to sleep by, how great was that!
Wednesday was another busy day at work as I had to round on the in-patients and see the problem out-patients, read X-rays, lab work and do discharges besides starting new people on ART. Got home in time for our Bible Study at 7 p.m. Had the small generator on for it as we were on power cuts (7 days didn’t give us any credit for that) after most of the day with electricity. After Bible Study tried to read and the bugs kept dive bombing me—so gave up and went to bed and ZESA came back 10 p.m. Dr. Kabanzi got back about 8 p.m. with the driver from the funeral—Major stayed in town to get a visitor coming in Thursday night and do some running around.
Thursday started off with a team from Head Office, Ministry of health coming to do a survey on Maternal Child health. They were here until 2:30 p.m. and were following nurses, wanted statistics and a list of what we had or didn’t. My queue kept getting bigger as I tried to help them and get them out of here! I also was running to OPD to see doctor’s patients as he was in theater doing procedures and his line was getting longer and then it was Thursday which is CD4 day—so even more patients!
About 11 a.m. one of the patients in my queue was sitting next to a woman who asked to hold her baby girl who was 6 weeks old and then sent the mom to get her some water. While the mom was gone she put the baby on her back and told the others on the bench that if the mom came back she had gone to get her Family Planning pills and she proceeded to leave. When the mom came back she went to find her and her baby and found no one! In a panic she went to the township and masasa and everywhere to look and only came back about 1 p.m. to report to us what happened. Immediately we went and got the police (you have to provide transport for police here—they have none) and called Major in Harare to tell him to contact Magunje and Karoi police to be on the lookout. We got the name of the lady who stole the baby as people knew her and also where her parents lived and where she lived in Magunje. Of course, there had been no ZESA all day and so no phone service, so had to contact major over Skype. We immediately started praying! By Friday the police and CIO from Magunje showed up to take statements and investigate, and ended by saying “please pray we get this baby back alive!” We had been praying for 24 hours!
The mom went to Magunje (about 70 kms from here towards Karoi) to investigate herself where this woman lived. No one was home when she arrived but by early Saturday morning she returned with the baby and the neighbor who was a soldier and had been notified to call the police if she arrived—called them and they came and arrested her and the real mom identified the baby. She had discarded the clothes the baby was in and had new clothes on the baby. This had been planned for sometime.
The mom came with the baby today to show us the baby and that it was well and fine. We all told her she must change the name to Nyasha (God has shown mercy) because God helped her to get her baby back safe and sound. She actually said the second name was Sibongile (which means thank you in Ndebele)! We all gave thanks! God is good!
So in the midst of this baby disappearing and the police coming and getting rid of the first people doing their survey—I started my patients and another group came from Karoi to get some information for a survey! I told them sorry I couldn’t handle it that day and I would send them the information they needed the next day by email if I had time! I finally got to go home at 7:30 p.m!
I started working on getting my Christmas decorations down that evening—still no electricity but I was determined to get them packed up before our visitor arrived the next day! I worked for 3 hours got it done and collapsed into bed!
Thursday night Major picked up Bob Coibion from Roseville, CA who came to help us put on the roof of our 2 new buildings. He has been here 6 times now and has put the roof on several of our additions—PTL for his safe arrival and willingness to give of his time away from his family. He is here until the end of March.
So by 2 p.m. Friday Major arrived with him and also Dr. Kellert from Chinhoyi to spend her weekend here!
Saturday Cheryl had patients to see that we saved for her and then she went home, I finished up discharges and went to give meds to our MDR-TB patient and on my way back the nurse came running out to tell me to come to theater for a prolapsed cord. Cheryl and Dr. Kabanzi were there and I ran in to give anesthesia. We got the babies (undiagnosed twins) out in record time, but they were very premie—one was stillbirth and one died a few hours later! Then we could go home and relax for the rest of the day.
Major took off this morning to Harare. Dropped Cheryl off in Chinhoyi to continue her time there and he brought his kids (Michael and Carolyn) back to start a new school year tomorrow. Carolyn is in Form 3 and Michael in Form 6 this year. Michael was especially happy because he passed the test to get a provisional driver’s license this last week and now he can drive as a learner with a licensed driver in the car! Major will be back tomorrow after a service for the Jeep—it has reached 10,000 kms already!
What a busy start to a New Year—where do we go from here-ha!