Friday, May 30, 2014

Major makes it to Half a Century!

Major turned the big 5-0 on 20th of May.  We started the day with French toast breakfast and coffee--his favorite!  He dressed in his tuxedo and we made him wear our traditional Birthday hat and sunglasses for work all day!  In the evening we had dinner--his favorite meatloaf and a cake with a lot of light!
On Friday our last group of third year Bible College students came for their hospital visit training.  We saw 29 students total in 3 weekends in a row in May.  They enjoyed their time here and we used them to preach at our local churches on Sunday.

We are always so happy when Friends of Chidamoyo do things to make our life so much nicer.  JoAnne Minnis (my adopted mother) keeps Chidamoyo near and dear to her heart.  Recently she spent many hours making aprons for our nurses, nurse aides and cooks!  She put them in the last container and we recently unpacked the box and gave them out to the staff.  She made 30 aprons! The staff are so thankful for her wonderful work she did for them.

This past Friday we also hosted Dr. Dale Erickson, our first doctor at Chidamoyo in 1968 when the hospital first opened.  He was back in the country with his wife Sue Alice to help teach at the University of Zimbabwe Medical School for the past month.  He brought with him 2 visiting doctors to Parirenyetwa Hospital in Harare from Stanford University in California, Dr. O’Brien and Dr. Vora.  We had a good weekend discussing cases and they all made rounds with one of our doctors here on Saturday morning.

Early on Monday morning, Major, Patience, Michael and Dr. Isala and I left for 2 nights and 3 days in Kariba.   To celebrate Major’s birthday we took him on a fishing holiday.  We rented a beautiful house on a hill in Kariba and Major was out on a boat all day everyday.  The fish weren’t biting much but he came home with a few big fish.  I stayed at the house and hung around the pool reading.  We enjoyed elephants right outside our fence that came every afternoon to munch and 3 zebras came by one morning.  The day we left on Wednesday was Michael and Patience's birthday so we had a birthday breakfast before they went out fishing one more time.  What fun!

We came home in time for Major and Dr. Kabanzi to go off to the annual board meeting of all missions hospitals in Zimbabwe, for the past 2 days.  That left Dr. Isala and I to keep the hospital running and we kept very busy with 2 C/Sections in 2 days and lots of patients!  Life goes on!

Major in his tuxedo!

Son Michael and Major celebrating
Wow, those are bright candles!

Nurses, Nurse Aides and Cooks with their new aprons!  Thank you JoAnne!
 Dr. Isala, Dr. O'Brien and Dr. Vora
Dr. Vora doing a Neuro exam with Dr. O'Brien

One of the College groups with their teacher

Drs. O'Brien, Erickson and Vora with me.

 Eating at our house in Kariba

Birthday breakfast
 Birthday presents

 Elephants in our backyard

 Dr. Isala and the zebra
Sunrise over Lake Kariba

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Another exciting week at Chidamoyo!

One thing you quickly find out at Chidamoyo you can never know what the week will hold for you!  We started last Friday with a meeting for all senior nurses from our Province.  I had to leave by 5 a.m. for the meeting starting at 0830 a.m.  Michael (Major’s son) went as my driver and did errands.  We picked up the 2 nurses from Karoi District Hospital that needed to go.  We arrive only 30 minutes late and the meeting didn’t get started until 1030 a.m.!  Typical for here--the last people to arrive are always those who live in town not those of us who have to drive 4 hours to get there!We left by 4 p.m. and got home at 8:00 p.m. just in time for prayers on Friday evening and to meet Zimbabwe Christian College students who came that evening.  

Since 1992 we have been hosting all graduating college students to teach them about making hospital visits and working with sick people, especially people with AIDS which they will encounter in their future congregations.  They come on Friday night and then work with me Saturday morning, sit in on counseling patients and then make visits on all the in-patients and Msasa (pregnant women) Waiting shelters.  Sunday we take them to the different churches and some here to preach and then also Sunday night at the hospital church they preach.  Monday morning we round off our weekend with discussion.  They seem to really like that and they always are able to see the reality of AIDS. 

 We enjoyed having them for prayers on Friday night and then Saturday I worked with them in the hospital teaching and then giving them practical experience to sit in on our counseling sessions and visiting all the patients on the ward.  Saturday night I cooked for all of them and we had dinner with them and Major’s family to plan the activities for Sunday.  Sunday kept them busy with 2 groups going out to Mudzimu and Stop areas and the others staying to help with the local church here.  Then Sunday evening we were together for our church at the hospital and afterwards had a dessert fellowship at my house to review the day.  Monday they visited patients on the wards, sat in on counseling sessions, talked to our  counsellors and then headed for home.  We will continue with 2 more groups the next 2 weekends so that all the graduates learn.  They are to graduate on June 6 and are most anxious!

On Saturday evening we were happy to have an alumni of Chidamoyo arrive for a short visit, Megan Parker Ninneman.  She was part of a TB conference in Lusaka, Zambia and she was able to get a lift to the boarder and our driver picked her up on Saturday afternoon and brought her to us for a few days.  Megan was with us in 2001 and 2002 and has since married and is a Physician Assistant in a state TB ward in Florida.  It was great to have her with us from Saturday through Wednesday.  We talked a lot about TB care and we had a new MDR (Multi-drug resistent) TB patient to see together and set up her care.  

On Tuesday Major and Megan and I drove to Harare and had a day of running errands.  We had lunch and dinner with friends and on the way in we got a text message from the Norwegian Embassy that said they were getting a donation ready for us.   We were thinking medicine or supplies and suddenly they said to come the next morning and pick a vehicle that had been donated! The next morning after dropping Megan off at the airport we went to the Embassy where they presented us with a 2013 Ford Ranger double cab 4 x 4, diesel truck!  It had 10,000 kms (6,000 miles) on it!  We were shocked!  It is a beautiful vehicle and high off the ground and just wonderful for our roads.  They said they choose the furthest in the bush mission hospitals to benefit from this program and we were the first of 85 hospitals to get one!  Wow--we were so excited!  God is so awesome!

We also picked up the architect plans for the rebuilding of the hospital and the government recently gave us $25,000 to start the rebuilding.  Now we are looking for a construction company.

We arrived home at 1 a.m. Thursday morning and by 5 we were up and getting ready for a visit by a Deputy Minister of Health.  We got the hospital in shining state and of course had so many patients--as it was CD4 day (every Thursday).  We kept working hard to get our work done so we would have time when the Minister showed up--but he never did and we never caught up with work until 6 p.m.  Went home at 7 p.m. finally and ate dinner and fell into bed exhausted!  At least we got the hospital cleaned up!

Today (Saturday the 17th of May) my niece, Hannah Jane McCarty graduates from Villanova University in Pennsylvania with her Bachelor’s in Business.  I wish her love and lots of fun today!  She already has a job with Citibank in NYC.

Megan at Chidamoyo

   Major receiving the keys of the truck

The new truck

Major on the inside

Driving the truck off the lot

Happy Graduation Hannah Jane McCarty!

Monday, May 5, 2014

What to do with a leaking pipe!

The yard people at the hospital asked Mr. Mereki for a new hosepipe--he said fix the one we have.  This is how you fix it at a mission hospital in Zimbabwe!

 I am glad we have gloves to use for something!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Day in Town!

When people haven’t been somewhere it is sometimes hard to imagine how other people live.  I wanted to share with you--a day in town and what it means when we plan a trip to town.
Town is Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe.  It is a big and modern city with over 3 million population.  It is crowded and there is traffic no matter what time of the day or evening.  To go across town takes 30-45 minutes depending on traffic!
Major and I left for a 1 day trip to town yesterday.  We thought we had quite a reasonable list to try and achieve in 1 day and come back the same day:

  1. Dentist appointment
  2. Doctor’s appointment
  3. Get watch batteries
  4. Get blood from the blood bank
  5. Buy some drugs
  6. Drop off histology samples at the Lab
  7. Have lunch with friends
  8. Go to the bank
  9. Get glucose strips, pregnancy kits from supplier
  10. Drop off one car for service
  11. Pick up another car that had been in town for repairs
  12. Meet with realtor to see a new flat 

Up at 0330 dark thirty to make coffee (so Major stays away driving) and take a shower.  No water so washed with a 5liter bottle of water I keep for emergency.  We left at 0400 dark and off we went.  First we had to endure our dirt road.  I thought I might try and sleep while Major drove, but I kept being thrown around in my seats from the bumps, no nap on the way in!
We seemed to pick the day the roadblocks were out in force.  The police wave you to stop and as soon as you stop they say go!  We hit 6 roadblocks before we got to town.
We arrived at 9:30 a.m. exactly on time for my dentist and Major dropped me and went off to do some of the things while I had teeth worked on.  After 3 X-rays, 2 fillings and talking, my dentist decided I needed a wisdom tooth pulled that was at an angle and not helping me--so then I had the tooth pulled.  Cotton put into the big hole and then I tried to talk on the phone to tell Major to pick me up now that I was done at the dentist--1 1/2 hours later and $600 and I couldn’t open my mouth.  He kept saying “what are you saying?”  The last words from the dentist were no food on the left side--only cold drinks (where tooth had been pulled) and no food on right side for 4 hours until filling was set.  So I left not sure what to do!
Then straight to the doctor arriving only 5 minutes late.  Major dropped me and off he went to do more errands.  We got back together at 12:15 p.m. and off we went on more errands until we meet our friends for lunch!
Dr. Dale and Sue Alice Erickson were our first doctor and wife in 1968 when Chidamoyo Hospital opened their doors.  They had arrived in Zimbabwe on Saturday and are teaching at UZ Medical school for a month.  They stay in our flat when they come, so we met them for lunch to talk and eat!
Then we were off and running to the bank.  We had been at the bank earlier and of course their computers were down--again we went and they were down still!  Our only day in town and no bank--so we took money out of the ATM which did work and off we went to get our glucose strips.  When we got there they told me of a new PSA test they had which tests on a dipstick the cancer marker for prostate cancer.  So I decided to buy 60 test kits to try and the lady selling them to me asked if she needed to be tested.  My reply was “only if you have a prostate.”  She said she didn’t know!!  I assured her she did need a test, and she is the one selling the test!
Then out to see a flat that was for sale.  I own a flat in Harare that we use a lot when we have to come to town.  We use it many times with our visitors when they fly in and out and also some of the missionaries here have keys and can use it.  We want to move from where we are to a bit better one so have been looking.  We are praying for it all to work out.
Then it was 4 p.m. and across town to get the car we had to get out of the shop by 4:30 p.m.  We made it by 4:24 and then I left Major there to follow me to the other car place to leave the car we had been driving in the shop for it’s service.  I needed to make it there by 5 p.m. and of course, it was across town and I had to drive through downtown with people, cars and combo’s competing for the road during rush hour!  I made it at 4:59!  By 5:30 we were out of there and on our way to the flat to leave linen we brought and then a grocery store, grab something to eat, get fuel and head for home!  
We left town at 8 p.m. on the dot and arrived at 01:30 a.m. to collapse into bed.  Fifteen minutes later the car alarm went off because of the wind!  In my sleep I am trying to find the keys for the car and turn it off, as my guard is knocking on the door telling me the alarm is going off!  I guess he thought I was deaf as well as dumb!
Up at 6:30 to get to work by 7:30 and off for a busy day of work because tomorrow is May 1st, Worker’s Day holiday!  Tonight is Bible Study!  Dreaming of bed already!
That is our typical day in town!  I think it would make a great Reality Show--but I think I would be praying to be kicked off the Island quickly!

Thought I'd share some of my recent bird pictures with you!