Monday, October 29, 2012

How about those Giants?

This past week started with a weekend that was better to forget.  Jordan started Friday morning with Diarrhea and fevers and by Saturday morning 4 a.m. it hit me!  Couldn’t move out of bed for 2 days.  Sue Hahn kept bringing us water.  The best part is the electricity went off at 5 a.m. and never came back and so we had fevers and it was 102 in my bedroom and no fan!  Talk about miserable!

By Sunday morning it hit Sue and so we were all on our own! Major’s wife, Patience, volunteered to feed Rick and Chuck for lunch and dinner and by Sunday afternoon Chuck got it, luckily not as bad.  Monday I was able to get out of bed but so weak and still diarrhea so didn’t make it to work. By now Dr. Kellert had a headache and was also not feeling well!  Jordan, Sue and I sat in my living room draped on couches and chairs groaning.  We kept Rick amused sending him to the hospital for Depends for all of us!  We still couldn’t think of food and still no electricity since Saturday morning!

Tuesday morning I got up thinking I could go to work and showered and dressed and cooked some breakfast for all but that put me back in bed!  Did eat a bit and Sue was able to go back to work.  By Tuesday night I was on the mend and able to get back to work on Wed!  I asked Rick to return the Depends and he refused!J!

We are going on Day 6 right now with no electricity.  Three poles are down from wildfires and they have to replace them.  So far they got the poles and put them by the holes and that is as far they have gone.  Then when we called we were told all the management were all at a workshop and so nothing could be done! That meant another night without a fan!  We are trying to push meat and invite people so food doesn’t go bad, but the rest of us aren’t eating much because of our sick stomachs!  We dream of ice and cold water!

Wednesday morning started with a crash C/Section for twins breech.  We were all happy to have to turn on the generator and have some electricity during the surgery.  The air conditioner in theater gave us a cool start to the day. It's pretty bad when we are happy to have a C/Section!

Thursday morning at 1:30 a.m. the World Series of Baseball started with the SF Giants competing against the Detroit Tigers.  We had been praying for ZESA in order for us to see the game or at least tape it.  So last night when we found out there would be none we hooked up my small home generator and some extension cords and Rick came at 130 a.m. (no one else decided to come for some reason J) and watched it live in the dark!  At least he could have a fan, but it actually was cooler!  I got up at 5 a.m. and saw from the 7th inning onward!  Way to go Giants they won the first one!  Panda- monium!

At 1:30 a.m. on Friday morning Jordan joined Rick to watch Game 2 of the World Series.  By 5 .m. when I got up I got the see the second run scored by the Giants.  At 5: 20 a.m. the rest ran off for bed while we started the day.

Saturday still no electricity-Day 8 and counting!  Everyday we hope this might be the one.  After a morning at the hospital we spent this afternoon catching up on email and blogs and wash.  We used my little home generator, but saved enough petrol for Game 3 at 0200 Sunday morning!  We kept jumping in the pool to keep our cool!

Monday morning and we are celebrating the “sweep” by the Giants and now the World Champions 2012!  Rick and Sue and Chuck got up at 2 a.m. and Sylvia and I got up at 5 a.m. to watch the last 3 innings as I got breakfast ready. Still no electricity so used my home generator to watch.  What a game and we are celebrating here!  

Day 10 and no electricity yet (but who is counting, right?)—we have forgotten what that is!  We have 4 more guests joining us tomorrow—we thought!  Hurricane Sandy has cancelled their flight from
Washington DC on Monday—so they will figure out when they will arrive and I am trying to figure out what I can feed 11 people 3 meals a day without anything cold!  Life is always a challenge here!
Giants fans watching the winning game
The celebrations as the Giants are World champions as the sun comes up here!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Week 2 back and very busy!

Two weeks back and life continues to be busy.  Summer is here and we are struggling to “keep cool” in 105+ degree weather.  Some nights when we are eating dinner and it is dark it is still 93 degrees!  October is called suicide month here and we understand why!  It is hard to sleep and hard to work!
Rick and Sue have been busy unpacking the container.  We are very anxious to get to all the medical equipment.  I came home on Monday evening and found new furniture and a carpet that my forwarding agents had picked out for me to buy.  It is a beautiful and comfortable leather set and we are all are enjoying it!

We got our first rain of the season on Saturday the  13th of October.  It started to rain just as soon as we put the meat on the braii (BBQ) for dinner!  We kept cooking and enjoyed the cool drops.  By the time we got inside the hard rain hit and we ended up getting 11mls of rain in about 3 hours.  Of course one of the problems of the rainy season is that storms hit down power poles and by 9 p.m. we had no ZESA!  That night it stayed a bit cool because of the rain and so we could survive sleeping without a fan.  They finally got the problem fixed about 3 p.m. Sunday, but it continued to go on and off until 6 p.m. and then stayed on until Monday morning!

Rick and Major left last week on Wed to run errands in Harare as they were on their way to a National Men’s conference in Marandera (60 kms east of Harare), which started Thursday with dinner.  They enjoyed the conference and also the cool, as it is much cooler there than here!  Some of our men only brought sheets and found they really needed a blanket too!  They were cold!

Rick and Major returned to Harare on Sunday and on Monday afternoon picked up 2 visitors to come out here.  Jesse and Laura who work with PATH and Cascade were here to set up a machine that can make chlorine for disinfection using just table salt and water.  We had a smaller version which we were using to help us in saving costs for disinfecting instruments, toilets, floors and counters.  We are thankful for their help in this area.   They arrived but their luggage did not and so they finally got it in the evening and they all arrived here just before midnight!

We spent two days with them and they left on Wed (the 17th) to carry on to Malawi to bring another machine to a hospital there.  We hope it is cooler for them there!

Yesterday morning our electricity went off at 5:30 a.m. and has been off since (36 hours).  They said it was a fault and they were working on it!  We are critically low on diesel and so we have not turned on the generator much.  Last night we jumped in the pool before dinner and after Bible Study in order to cool off before bed without a fan all night!  This morning I jumped in the pool again to cool off before breakfast! 

Today was our busy day of CD4 counts, starting patients on ART and an eye team from Harare came to do cateracts.  We are all sweating and trying to keep going!

Last week on Thursday,  Sylvia and her husband Chuck arrived to spend some time with us here.  Friday I started her on a project with Sue of cleaning my office and sorting through meds I had there.  Then Monday they started on organizing all the used clothes in our containers.  It is quite a big job especially since the containers are like ovens!  I think we will all meet in the pool before dinner tonight.

We have been trying to keep up with the Play offs and hoping the Giants hang in there!  We would like to see a Detroit and SF World Series—we hope it will work out that way!
 New furniture and carpet
 Laura and Jesse from Cascade and PATH
 People for cateract surgery
Sue and Sylvia hard at work sorting clothing


Back home again in Zimbabwe (via Cape Town)

On September 22nd I left for home.  My ticket ride included a limo ride from my home to the airport and on the way the limo driver and I talked about our lives and what we did.  When I got to the airport he helped me to get my entire luggage (3 biggggg bags and 2 hand luggage) on a cart and when I went to give him a tip he gave me a $20 tip!  He said he was so impressed by what I did he wanted to thank me!  Wow what an unexpected blessing!

I arrived in Dubai at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night local time and was picked up and sent to a beautiful hotel near the airport which included a wonderful dinner (choice of 8 restaurants) and breakfast (my last chance to eat Humus-yum!).  I was able to sleep well after sleeping a lot on the 15 ½ hour flight to there.  Then at 9 a.m. the next morning I was on my way to Harare.

I arrived at 5:20 p.m. local time and walked right through with my entire luggage (with myself having to lift them on to the luggage cart) out to waiting Dr. Kellert and Jordan Smetzer.  Rick and Sue and Major were running errands and trying to get our latest container cleared and we met at a stoplight!  We had a wonderful reunion!  It was great to be back in warm, summer weather!

The next day Rick and Major went off to clear the container and the 4 of us girls ran errands and did some grocery shopping and met up with Gladys Jongling for dinner.  It was my 58th birthday and her 75th had been the day before and Jordan’s 18th the day before that.  We went to a great Italian restaurant and had a great dinner with our friend Sylvia from Harare.  We had great laughs and were exciting as 6 of us were leaving the next day for a week in Cape Town!

On the 26th, Dr. Kellert, Gladys, Jordan, Rick, Sue and I left for Cape Town.  We flew first to Johannesburg, South Africa and after a few hours and dinner in the airport we flew on to Cape Town our van that sat 10 was there and we drove on to our bed and breakfast and arrived at 11 p.m.

The first day we got up and had a beautiful breakfast and then went off to Table Mountain.  We took the tram up (it spins 360 degrees as you go up.  We got to the top and were in the clouds.  It was cold and foggy and boy was it a shock from our hot weather here in Zim.  We enjoyed the flowers, animal life and walking on top of the mountain.  At times the clouds cleared and we ran to the edge to see the views—the city on one side and the ocean on the other.

We then drove on to Century City a big mall north of CT.  We spent a few hours looking through shops, having lunch and then went to a movie, leaving after dark for home.

The next day (Friday) we went down to the Waterfront to take a ferry tour out to Robbins Island and see the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years.  It involves a walking and bus tour that lasted 4 hours.  We saw the very cell Nelson Mandela was held in and the walking tour through the prison is done by former political prisoners of the prison themselves.  We then had a wonderful fish lunch/dinner on the Waterfront and spent some time in the mall there!

Saturday we went back to the Waterfront and toured the Aquarium.  It is rated right up there with Monterey Aquarium.  We enjoyed the penguin feeding and fish feeding.  We caught Jordan and Sue surrounded by clown fish.  After the Aquarium we went through the craft stores and then on to another new fish place for lunch/dinner and Jordan. Rick and Gladys went up on the Cape Town eye fairs wheel right at sunset on the waterfront.  They loved the views then with the sun setting and lights coming up and Table Mountain in the background—wow, it is beautiful!

Sunday we went to Hillsong church and then took a picnic out to Kirstenbosch Gardens—near our B&B where we enjoyed a tour of the gardens and walking through the beauty just below Table Mountain. That evening we went to a new mall to look around and Cheryl and Jordan went to a movie and then we met after for dinner.  Mug Bean is one of our favorite places to eat in South Africa—a chain throughout the country and good food.

Monday we went to Cape Point about an hours drive from Cape Town where it has been said the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans meet.  There is actually a lower point where they meet about 150 kms away!  We enjoyed the walk and saw ostriches by the sea.  We drove back and stopped at the Southern African penguin colony to see these short (about 2 ft high) guys basking in the sun, swimming in the ocean and sitting on eggs in nests!  We saw some babies too.  We drove back via Hout Bay along the Chapman Peak road—enjoying the curves and beauty of the ocean off our side.  I wasn’t sure we would make it with the bog van but we managed.  We stop at a great fish restaurant at Hout Bay and ate outside as the sun was setting enjoying seeing people swim and play in the surf. We all enjoyed fish after living in a landlocked country.

Tuesday we spent our last day in SA again at the waterfront. Enjoying the scenery, shops and a last big lunch/dinner of fish before hitting the craft stores one more time.  We headed home to try and get all of our things we bought in our bags and headed for the airport at 4:15 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

We left at 7 a.m. to Joburg and by 9:30 a.m. we were on the ground.  We had 3 hours before our plane left so we enjoyed the airport shops and then met up with my Zimbabwean sister, Sylvia and her husband Chuck who had just arrived in Joberg from London and before that SF!  They were very exhausted.   We flew to Harare together in the same plane and drove to the flat to pack up give them a car and phone as they left for her home in Gweru and we left for Chidamoyo! 

Finally after 10 weeks away I arrived home at midnight!  At least there was electricity and one happy dog to welcome me home!

By  5:30 a.m. I was up and making breakfast for 6 people and by 7 a.m. back to work.  It was great to see everyone and find they had managed without me!  Of course within 2 days I was called early in the morning for a C/S to do the anesthesia and then work the rest of the day until 7 a.m.!  Not long until we are back in the flow!  I thought maybe night call would be one of the things I could give up-ha!

It took several days of 12 hour shifts to catch up and hear all that happened when I was gone.  Always hearing about community members and patients who died.  Life goes on here—slow but sure! 

I feel so much better and everyone said how much better I looked now then when I left.  I think it may be those extra pounds I put on in the US!  I continue to be fever free and pain free and more energetic than in the past 8 months.  Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts!
Kathy, Cheryl, Sue and Rick on top of Table Mountain

Jordan in middle of Clown Fish at the Aquarium, Cape Town
 Sue and Kathy at picnic in Gardens
Penquins at Boulders Beach
 Gladys at the Aquarium--watch out sharks!
 Checking up on email at McDonalds!
 Kathy, Sue, Jordan and Rick
The Birthday "Girls"!