Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015


Thank you for your support this year.  As we gather to celebrate with our friends and family the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ, may you have fun, laughs and a great time.  No stress just JOY!

It hardly seems like Christmas here with 90+ degree weather and fans blowing to make us survive!  Tuesday this week, Carolyn and Nancy (Major’s daughter and niece) came to make Christmas cookies for our present opening on Christmas Eve.

The presents are wrapped and stocking filled--except for the chocolate which has to be in the fridge here because of the heat!

Our Lake Union Crew lost one member Wednesday (returning to Seattle)  and 5 more are joining us the same day.  They have been hard at work on the roof and trusses this week.  A crane came on Monday to help lift up the heavy metal trusses.  They have really made progress and are working so hard in this heat!!  I think they pray hard for cloudy skies each day but so far it has been very hot this week and no rain since Sunday.  

We had a staff party yesterday, Christmas Eve  at 1 p.m. with a grocery bag of flour, sugar, soap, oil, rice, and a T-shirt in it for all 107 staff members.  We hope this will start their Christmas out with good wishes as pay day is after Christmas this year and hard for our staff!

Christmas Eve we had a Candlelight sing and Bible reading of the Nativity at the hospital and then we went home to open gifts--Major’s family and myself.   Our Lake Union Crew group (15 people)  joined us this year for Christmas cookies, tea and coffee and opening presents.  They brought some “White Elephant” gifts to give to each other!  We had a great time!  

This morning (Christmas) we had church at the hospital at 9 a.m. and then tea and bread for all who come.  Then at 1:30 p.m. I  cooked lunch for 25 people--Ham and Chicken and all the trimmings! Off course first thing this morning my hot water pipe under the sink broke and all morning they have been trying to fix it--so no water in my kitchen while I cooked the big meal!  

However you celebrate--Chidamoyo wishes you peace, health and happiness in 2016 and may Santa bring you all you wished for!

Carolyn and Nancy making cookies

Seattle work team putting on the roof of the Waiting Mothers Shelter

 New dining room used for staff Christmas party

 Kathy, Major and Dr. Isala enjoying the lunch

 Staff enjoying the lunch

Cooks who made the staff lunch

 Major leading the Christmas party for staff

Candlelight service Christmas Eve

 Nyamutora family singing at Church service

Lake Union Crew joined us for Christmas Church

Texan preaching and Gil interpreting--Christmas church

Major, daughter Carolyn and niece Nancy singing for Christmas service

Saturday, December 19, 2015

We got visitors and we got rain!

On late Sunday evening last week our first two visitors from Lake Union Crew in Seattle, WA arrived.  Rome and Ann are the leaders of the group and they came a couple of days earlier than their group to get things in order.

They have been busy unpacking the container they sent and getting ready for the building of the new Waiting Mothers Shelter.

Their group arrived on Wednesday--9 of them.  We also welcomed back Major who had been in Seattle to do a wedding for Kevin and Rachel Tananguchi.  The wedding went well and we so appreciate that instead of gifts they requested people give money to Chidamoyo Christian Hospital!  That was so nice.  We were so shocked that this young couple just starting out would do that for us!

Since the group from Seattle arrived they brought their rain with us and it has rained everyday for the past 4 days they have been here.  Yeah!  Our rains are 2 months late and people were panicking about food supplies for next year. 

People are busy today plowing and planting.  Major went to Batanai to plant some maize and I hope to have the youth group planting my fields with Sorgum on Tuesday.  We have had over 5 inches in the last 4 days--so we are all happy!

On Monday at 0400 our electricity got knocked out when Karoi got a storm that knocked down some power poles.  We finally got power back last night and it was back to load shedding by 4 this afternoon!  I did get 3 loads of wash done--now if I can only have sun to dry them-ha!

This group from Seattle has 4 of the group staying for the whole 6 weeks of the project.  Most of this first group is staying 2 weeks and 1 leaves Wed and 3 more arrive--so 15 next week!  They have 56 different people coming over the next 6 weeks!  They are working so hard!  They have their own cook, but I have been baking a cake and cookies to send over to keep them going.

A group of ladies from around the mission have been meeting at my house to quilt after they were taught by Sue Hahn a couple of years ago.  Today they met to show off completed quilts they made and some new projects.  They sew and talk for about 4 hours and have a great time of fellowship!

Merry Christmas to all!

Major with the Bride and groom and his parents Jo and Derik

Zane helping the building group

Zane taking vital signs at the hospital

 Ceremonially putting in the first shovel of cement in the Waiting Mothers Shelter

Lake Union Crew hard at work with our volunteers

 Putting in the metal frame of the building

You can see the flooding from the rain that came during the night!

 People are busy plowing!

 Mai Mereki and her quilt behind her

 Monica and her quilt

Some of the quilts the ladies are working on

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Hello Zimbabwe

I arrived safely in Zimbabwe after a 10 hour flight to Paris--13 hours of lay over, then 10 1/2 flight to Johannesburg, South Africa with a 8 hour lay over there  and finally arrived at 9:30 p.m. on the 2nd of December in Harare, Zimbabwe! It felt good to be home when the Immigration officer welcomed me with “welcome home!”

Michael Mereki came to meet me and take me to my townhouse.  On Thursday I had an 8 a.m. breakfast meeting with a group we are doing research with from Stanford University in California, so no time for jet lag!   Then had time to run around and do some shopping to prepare to go home to Chidamoyo.

Dr. and Mrs. Kajese came to the townhouse on Thursday night and I got to meet their new daughter Alexis who was born in September.  She is so cute and very tiny so far!  We had to send out for pizza because we had no electricity from 7 a.m. that morning.  It finally came on at 12:30 a.m. and was off by 6:30 a.m. the next day!

Major and his wife Patience came to Harare on Friday morning.  I was buying a new washer--as mine died when I was gone.  He got there in time to load it into his truck he brought in.  Then he prepared to go to the US.  We left him at the airport at 5 p.m. to fly to Seattle, WA were he is doing a wedding for alumni Rachel and Kevin on Sunday the 13th.  He will leave on the 14th and be home on the 16th.  Glad he won’t be gone too long!

On the way home from the airport when we were stopped at a light a motorcycle ran straight into the back of us--never even put their brakes on.  His head shattered our back windscreen--but luckily he had a helmet on and wasn’t injured too badly.  It took about 3 hours to get the police there (we went to get them) and the report written.  Then I hurried to a dinner I was late for with the research team.

Saturday morning Michael and I left for Chidamoyo each driving a vehicle--full of groceries and a washer and we got home about 3:30 p.m.  Some surprising observations on the way home.  We now have a traffic light in Karoi--wow! Are we now an official city?   The dirt road had been worked on a bit and actually was much better then when we left--amazing!

All along the road people smiled and one group of kids yelled “McCarty is back!”  Seems I was missed!

It had rained a bit on Friday in our area and puddles were still on the road.  By the time we got home it was very hot and dry.  I tried to unpack a bit but was so tired and hot--I mainly sat. There were signs all over my house welcoming me home written by the Mereki girls!  I had been only sleeping until 4 or 4:30 a.m. since I arrived, so went to bed early and actually slept until 6 a.m.  I got up then because it was hot and light!  

Sunday it was great to be back in church and see familiar faces. It continued to be hot and dry since I arrived and most days up into the 100’s.  When I go to bed it is usually 88 and when I get up it is about 84!  What a big change from low 30’s when I left CA.

Monday I started work at the hospital.  The nurses and others meet me in my office singing and dancing to welcome me back.  Immediately there was plenty of work and things to clear off my desk.  All week I have worked on projects and it looks like I am catching up!  

Electricity seems to be a lot less--most days none from 8 a.m. until 8-9 at night.  That means we have to turn on our generator to do tests, surgery and X-rays, a lot!   At least we get a fan to blow the hot weather around then!  With Major gone I am trying to sort out some of his stuff too.  Never ending jobs!  I helped with 2 C./Sections on Wednesday.

Everyday I set in my office and sweat!  Yesterday it was 107 when I went home for lunch.  With no fan, because no electricity, it is a challenge to keep cool!  I go home and jump in the pool as soon as I get home from work to cool off and give me some energy to do some work at home. 

I have unpacked and I am slowly getting my Christmas decorations up--which is boxes and boxes of things!  I am working on the tree and have it almost ready.  It will be nice when it is all up.

Two visitors from Lake Union Crew, Seattle arrive Sunday afternoon.  The rest of their first group arrives on Wednesday and Major too!  They are here to build us a new Waiting Mother’s Shelter.  They have 12 people arriving every Wednesday for 6 weeks so we will be going to Harare a lot.  We bought a new travel trailer to help carry luggage and it is nice!

There really has been little rain for how late it is in the season.  People are predicting a major drought because of the El Nino expected in the U.S.  We pray it will rain and cool us down soon.  We did get 5 mls of rain on Tuesday night.  Keep praying for more!  Some people have plowed but most are scared to plant with no rains established yet. We really need rain to cool us down and provide water--keep praying!  December is usually never this hot--so definitely climate warming has hit here!

I have spent the week decorating for Christmas--it is so hot to think it is Christmas already!  I jump in the pool to cool off and work until I dry off and jump in again!  Wish it could snow here--ha!

It is great to be home!

 Dr. and Mrs. Kajese with Alexis

Decorated for Christmas

We would settle for rain!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thanksgiving x 3 and Traveling to Zimbabwe

My brother Don and his daughter arrived from NJ and NYC on the 18th of November.  We went and spent the day in San Francisco on the 20th with Kathy Rose, Marc, Derekca, Don and Hannah and I.  Don had lived in SF for many years and so we looked for his old houses where he stayed, ate on Fisherman's wharf and walked Pier 39.

On the 19th of November some nurses I used to work with at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (1989-1990) met together at Judy Lindburg's house in Santa Rosa.  It was so great to see the group--many have retired and some are continuing on.  We had many great times together in Labor and Delivery and were able to share many of those stories laughing about them now!

Our family met together on the 21st of November for our first Thanksgiving--the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  My oldest brother Don came from NJ with his daughter Hannah from NYC.  Then my oldest sister's husband Mike from Reno, my niece Tracy from San Jose and her son Nic and then my nephew from Elk Grove, Greg and his girlfriend Peggy and Greg's eldest Kelsey, then next brother Dennis and his wife Kathy Rose and their son Marc and his wife Derekca and their sons, Alec and Maximo, then my youngest sister Kim and Sylvia my Zimbabwean sister, all from Santa Rosa.   We all met for a big traditional lunch at Dennis and Kathy's clubhouse where they live.  We ate and ate.  We also laughed a lot and also were sad as we missed my eldest sister, Carol, who died 3 years ago and this was our first full family gathering without her.

Everyone left by Monday the 23rd except my oldest brother Don who is staying for 3 weeks.  He has not been to California in 9 years and so wanted to spend some extra time at home. 

On real Thanksgiving Day on the 26th I got to have breakfast/tea with the John Barnett family and their kids and grandkids who had come from Southern California (all Chidamoyo alumni).   Then in the afternoon Derekca, Kathy Rose and I took Maximo and Alec to see the new Charlie Brown movie.  We all enjoyed that as Charles Schultz worked and lived in Santa Rosa for more many years before he died.  We then went to Marc and Derekca's for some Mexican food and Family Game night.  A relaxing day and no one had to cook much!

On Black Friday I took my brother out to do some last minute shopping and we were surprised the stores weren't that crowded!  We then met up with the rest of the family for Chinese food for dinner.

Saturday we had our third and final big Thanksgiving dinner at Sylvia's house with 14 people (my family, hers and my forwarding agents Gene and Sue).  We had Turkey, Prime Rib and all the trimmings.  We were all finally tired of eating!

Sunday night we gathered at Kathy and Dennis's for a family farewell dinner as I prepared to go.

Monday we left at 10:00 for the airport--stopping for breakfast on the way!  Wow--we all pledged to stop eating so much! I am going back to my sadza diet!

I left at 3 p.m. Monday from San Francisco to Paris.  I am now in Paris on a 12 hour lay over.  Got some sleep and now waiting a few more hours to get on the plane and continue to Johannesburg, South Africa and then Harare tomorrow night (Wed) at 9:30 p.m--home at last!

 Family eating Thanksgiving

 Cousins and great cousins playing games

Thanksgiving Mexican food

Dinner with former colleagues from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

 Showing East Coast family San Francisco for the day

 The whole family at Thanksgiving #1

Sylvia with great-nephew Alec

Thanksgiving #3 at Sylvia's

Beautiful maple trees at Sylvia's turning bright red