Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Merry Big Christmas

Today (Tuesday the 27th) is still a holiday here in Zimbabwe.  They decided since the Christmas was on Sunday to give us another day to rest--the 26th we always get off so it made it a nice 4 day weekend for people.  We need to recuperate a bit from all the activities we had in the last few days.

On Friday, the 23rd, we had our annual staff party and lunch for all of our workers at the hospital.  We had 96 staff who came and got a beautiful lunch of beef, rice, coleslaw and gravy.  They ate so much!!  They love this.  We then gave speeches and then handed out a bag of groceries to each of the staff that had 2kg flour (4.4 pounds), 2 kg rice and 2 kg sugar, a long bar of washing soap, cooking oil, and 2 lt of Mazoe drink mix.  They always look forward to this so they have groceries to serve for Christmas Day.  We had some fun dancing and loud music and left after 5 to go home and come back quickly at 7 pm for our Candlelight service.  It was actually our first day with electricity in 2 weeks so we had to turn the lights off!  

We read from the Bible the Christmas story in Shona and sing carols in Shona.  We sit outside in the courtyard of the hospital and it was a clear and beautiful night with stars shining.  You could almost feel you were there long ago at the birth of our King, Jesus.

Saturday morning we came to the hospital to make rounds and discharges and then went home to pack up and go to Batanai (18 miles away and about 40 minutes).  Just as we ready to go it poured down rain--so we waiting about an hour and half to go.  Of course, the pour was knocked out with the rain and so for the last 3 days no electricity!!!  We can't seem to have rain and power at the same time!

We arrived about 5 p.m. to Major's and my village at Batanai.  We were met by many people already there and more continued to come.  We had killed a cow and the first night had sadza and beef.  Then all the family ( about 52 adults and 30+ kids) gathered to celebrate good things that happened in the family that year and to sing and dance and pray.

Sunday morning we had church at the village and so everyone was up early to get ready and butter and jam about 100+ loaves of bread.  After church we had tea and bread and many people had 6 or more sandwiches of butter and jam!  That is a traditional celebration here to have bread on Christmas as most people can only afford it once a year.  We had a great time with the church people and then we had lunch of chicken, rice, cole slaw and lots to eat!!

We then had time to rest and then went to the local township (where there are 5 stores) to see the throngs of people that came to hang out.  My white visitors had a throng of people who followed them as they checked out each store.  Looked like the Pied Piper!

That night we had ham and beef and sadza for dinner and then showed a movie to about 200 people from the area that came.  After the movie they turned up the music and danced loudly until midnight when Major turned off the generator and told the people to go to bed!

Monday, everyone took their time getting up.  We had a wonderful breakfast and then again had time to rest and read.  The girls from the US taught the other young people how to line dance and they loved that.

After lunch David and Major went off for some fishing.  I got to read and rest for awhile more. I actually got 2 books read!  Some of the family started to leave and we packed up and left about 7 p.m.  We got home to no lights, so turned the generator on for 3 hours and went to bed.  We had a wonderful celebration and the visitors really enjoyed it all.  

The three girls, Kelsey, Cami and Kenzsi leave in the morning for Vic Falls and then home on the 31st.  Their trip has been so fast but they have been able to experience so much.

David leaves on Friday and he has definitely decided he wants to be a doctor and will be pursuing that in the new year.

Thank you to all of you who financial support us throughout the year.  All the best for a great 2017!

Major and Kathy for Christmas Party

Staff Christmas party

hospital Administration at the Christmas party: Major, Dr. Isala and Dr. Munodawafa

Lots of food and fun

Major was Father Christmas!

Came, Kelsey and Kenzie at the Candlelight Service

Mereki family putting together their gift--a sofa bed!

All the bread we bought!!

 Came, Kenzie and Kelsey helping to cook for Christmas

The crowds at the township on Christmas Day

Bread and Tea for after church Christmas Day

Kelsey, Thinkwell (Major's brother), Cami and Kenzie for breakfast on Christmas Day

 Church at the village on Christmas Day

 Special Music by Major's relatives

 Singing and Dancing at church

Major and group playing drums for the dancing and singing

Minister of Batanai, Reggie, preaching Christmas morning

Major's family that came for Christmas to the village

 Girls with Carolyn Mereki and cousins (she is in yellow dress)

Major's brothers and sisters


Girls teaching line dancing

Girls and David making rounds at the hospital with Dr. Munodawafa

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas is coming soon!

Christmas activities have begun and people are busy preparing for Christmas Day.  The hospital  got decorated up and everyday I have a Christmas scrub top and Christmas socks to wear!

Last week one of our doctors was gone to a workshop, so I was on call for anesthesia and didn't get called out one night--yeah!!

On Tuesday Major and I took off for a 1 day trip to Harare--a killer!  We left at 0400 and got back at 0100 the next morning!  I had a doctors appointment to scope my bladder, but got there and had another infection, so he couldn't do the scope and back on IV medications for a week.

Dr. and Mrs. Kajese picked me up from the doctor as Major ran around.  We went to lunch and then he started my IV cannula and got to spend some time visiting with them.  I made up the medicine and gave my first dose on the way home!  This time for some reason the cannula keeps infiltrating, so I have had to have restarted 4 times in 7 days!  Tonight is my last dose so let's hope this is the last!  I've been on IV meds 3 times in the last 6 weeks!  Enough!

Friday I headed back to Harare with Michael driving (Major's son), his sister Carolyn and their 2 cousins, Nancy and Christine.  We went for our Christmas weekend in Harare.

On Friday night we attended the Christmas Pantomime.  This is a very British Christmas tradition where they perform a children's story and the main Female lead is done by a man and the main male lead by a female.  They always throw in local jokes and toss candy out to the kids.  This year it was Snow White and we met up with Megan and Matt to see it.  Megan is doing her research her from her residency program from Stanford.  She just got finally approval so in January she starts her data collection.

Saturday morning the girls and I went for our pedicures and manicures and then did some shopping at the flea market.  Michael went for a haircut and to hang out with his uncle.  Then we went to the movies Saturday night to see "Almost Christmas" with Danny Glover.  We saw it in the movie theater with the reclining seats and they really enjoyed it! It rained very hard while we were in the movie and then we went to dinner afterwards and home for another DVD where we all fell asleep before it was over!

On Sunday morning we headed back home after some grocery shopping.  We got home to still no ZESA (electricity).  It had been a week by then!  An hour later a visitor joined us, David Greene.  His father had driven him from Marondera (a town 1 hour east of Harare).  He is 20 years old and thinks he wants to be a doctor, so he is here to follow our doctors and see!  He has been following our doctors and is very enthusiastic about it all, so far.  He is here for 3 weeks with us!

Monday was a very busy day at the hospital because this is a day every week when people can't work in their fields to honor their ancestors.  So they all flock to the hospital!!  One of our clerks went on leave so we put Michael and Carolyn to work as clerks and weighing and doing vital signs!  Carolyn has been helping me do some computer work for my ART patients too.  Her dad didn't want her sitting during the holidays--so we are keeping her busy.

Wednesday I had to run to Harare again!!  This time we got home by 9 p.m. after leaving at 0500, so not too much of a killer of a trip!   We had to transfer money and buy needed drugs for the hospital so I had to go to sign the bank papers!  I hope no more trips over our road for a while!

Today David went out on our Vaccination and ART clinic and he really enjoyed that!  It was an hour away at Magororo.

It continues to rain hard and frequently so fields are growing and people are happy.  We still have no electricity 12 days later and they keep saying maybe tomorrow (every day since we have been out!).  Our solar works well but runs out because it has been cloudy and rainy and not charging so much!  We use our back-up generator when needed for operations and X-rays, but try not to use it everyday to save on diesel expenses.  We hope soon!

 Dr. Kajese and Baby Alexis

 Christine, Nancy, Carolyn and Michael and me

Pantomime Play

Group the Pantomime with the Christmas hats on!

 Nail time

 Christmas decorated at the hospital

One of my Christmas scrub tops

 Michael and Carolyn working in Out-patient Clinic

Sunday, December 4, 2016


This week we had many activities besides our work at the hospital.  Last weekend we had a great 3 days of rain and then it turned hot and dry the rest of the week!

On Wednesday the new "Bond" note that is the equivalent to US dollars was released in Zimbabwe.  It is only to use in Zimbabwe and is designed to get us out of the cash crisis we are in now.  We started to see them here by the end of the week.

Wednesday evening we decided to have our Thanksgiving dinner (6 days late) as everyone was here and in Zimbabwe we can choose the date to celebrate since it is not a holiday here. Michael, Major's son, had made us promise to wait until he got home from college to have it since he enjoys eating so much!   We had chicken (turkey is hard to come by here and expensive) and all the trimming, even some Cranberry sauce sent from the US and pumpkin pies and green bean casserole and many more dishes.  There were 16 of us to eat.  They all stuffed themselves and enjoyed!

On Thursday our three medical students from University of Zimbabwe, Ruvimbo, Vimbai and Tariro left for Harare after finishing 3 1/2 weeks here seeing rural medicine as part of their studies.  They enjoyed the Thanksgiving dinner before they left.

Thursday morning we had 2 special guests drops by.  Gloria Mukuze who is an ICU nurse in Santa Rosa, CA and her sister Solace Mukuze , who is an ER nurse in Melbourne,  Australia stopped by to say hi.  Their mom and home are in Mawhada about 40 minutes away.  Their older sister Cynthia teaches at the High School here.  Gloria hasn't been home in 15 years and so she is enjoying seeing everything again and all the changes!  These are my nieces through my sister Sylvia Majoni Brown who lives in Santa rosa.

On Friday Carolyn and Nancy began putting up my Christmas decorations.  They got a lot done and I continued on Saturday and Sunday and almost have my house in order.  I have a lot of decorations and lights!  I even started some Christmas baking!

On Saturday morning we had our AIDS support group for 5-10 year olds.  We refill their medicine, talk about adherence issues and had some video for them and then fed them mahewu (corn drink) and bread and eggs.  They enjoy this special time together.  We also have a support group for their caretakers at the same time which encourages them to take good care of their children.

It did rain hard on Saturday afternoon--we got almost an inch,  and it cooled us down for a few hours!  

The new Bond note

 University of Zimbabwe students


 Pumpkin pie time

Solace, Kathy and Gloria

 AIDS support group for kids

 Christmas is here!