On Friday the 22nd of July we welcomed three medical students from Norwich, UK; Xavier, Nic and David. Xavier came last year for a few days with another student and liked it so much he came back with more friends. They are final year students and so they are enjoying all the pathology and work they are doing here. They are so excited to do anything and so I am using them to do anything! They have been busy drawing blood for our research project and helping the doctor in surgery and with OPD. They have assisted in 2 C/Sections. They seem to be having a great time.
On Sunday evening the 24th we were joined by Larry and Cheri Gail--our dearest friends and founders of "Friends of Chidamoyo"(like us on Facebook! ) They brought with them Charlie and Lee Ann winners of our "Trip to Chidamoyo" at the auction last year in September. They are writing each day and posting on Facebook about their trip so follow it there. They are here for 2 weeks and so there are 11 of us for each meals as Caleb, Amanda and Abbey continue as visitors.
We have been busy all week having them help in Well Baby Clinic, Antenatal Clinic, ART clinic and working in our chapel to sort and clean!! They are working on getting our last container completely unpacked. One day Cheri lead Lee Ann and Abbey to clean up my office while I sat in my chair saying "keep that, throw that!" They promised me a recliner chair and a fan if I would do that in the chapel with them! If you have seen our chapel you would know that isn't even tempting!! Abbey has been working hard to work with them in the chapel.
We have been working all week with one doctor because the other was at a workshop, and next week the other doctor starts his leave for a month. That makes me on call for anesthesia so it keeps me busy!
All the group but Caleb and Amanda and me headed off with Major this morning to spend a night at our village at Batanai! They will go to church there tomorrow and come back in the evening. The Medical students decided to ride on the roof rack there!!
So this afternoon I have been busy doing wash--I'm on load #6 so far and cleaning out fridges and freezers, doing inventory of food, clean my house and even had time for a nap this afternoon! Looking forward to our Steak braii (BBQ) tonight and a quiet even watching a movie.
Next week Larry and Cheri and LeAnn and Charlie leave on Wednesday for a few days on safari--but 6 people are coming Thursday and Friday about our research project, then Friday our doctors and scrub nurse team from Harare arrives for 2 days of surgeries. No rest for us! The beds don't even have a chance to cool off between guests!
First job--Larry cleaning solar panels on the roof of hospital
LeAnn at Well Baby Clinic
Abbey and LeAnne busy at Well Baby Clinic
LeAnne measuring arms to asses for malnutrition at Well Baby Clinic
Charlie measuring heights of kids at Well Baby Clinic
Xavier and Nic drawing blood for CD4s
Caleb, David, Xavier, Nic all drawing blood for CD4s and Viral Loads
Xavier assisting Dr. Isala in a C/Section while David looks on
Cheri and Major doing what they do best--having a Coke at the township!
Larry, Abbey and Cheri setting up the Co-trimoxazole dispensing station at ART clinic
Abbey weight ART patients as charlie holds the baby so mom can be weighed!
Larry handing out Co-trimoxazole to patients
Kathy and Larry with our fresh eggs--Friends of Chidamoyo sponsored our chicken project to help support the work of the hospital!
As soon as Major and the guests got back from Rhino Camp and the long dirt road they took to get home, we turned around and they repacked and off we went to Harare, 4 of us (Michael Miller, Abbey, Major and I) were driven in by Michael Mereki.
We got to Harare at 10 p.m. and left at 7:15 a.m. the next day for the airport to fly off to Vic Falls. Michael Mereki stayed in Harare to run errands for us. We arrived in Vic Falls at 10:30 a.m. and off to the Bed and Breakfast to check in. We walked the Falls and went on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River and then to dinner at the Boma where you can eat a bit of warthog, impala, croc tail, etc. and eat a Mopane Worm and get a certificate. Michael and Major ate--we watched!
The next day Abbey and Michael were off to raft the Zambezi and Major and I went to town and walked around. We were shocked to be able to use an ATM and get US$ out--something we haven't been able to do for months in Harare and Chinhoyi. Since Vic Falls is a tourist town there has not been such a problem with money as in other places in the country.
That night we met up with Chidamoyo alumni Kirby and Sunny Reed and their 3 children. Kirby was with us in 1997 for 6 months and then Kirby and Sunny came for 2 months over the Millineum (Dec. 1999 - Jan. 2000). We had not seen them since then and they now had 3 children. They were visiting for 2 nights in Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls and so we were able to meet up with them and the group they were with.
Kirby is a Nurse Practitioner now in Austin, Texas. It was great to be able to visit with them and their children and catch up with the past 16 years. It was so great to see them. Michael Mereki was 4 years old when Kirby spent the 6 months with us and Kirby would always come and play with him after work. One day Michael cried and told his dad "why can't you be fun like Kirby!" We always remembered that and kidded Major about it!
On Wednesday morning Abbey and Michael went to ride elephants and then we flew to Harare arriving about 6:30 p.m. We did some grocery shopping and left Abbey and Michael with Michael Mereki as Major and I took off for home as we needed to be back to work the next day! We got home at 1 a.m. and up by 5 a.m. to get breakfast ready for Caleb and Amanda that we left at home. It was a busy day at work so it kept me awake. I finally got home close to 7 p.m. and got dinner on the table and was in bed by 9 p.m.!
Michael left on Thursday morning for home after a month here and Abbey had to get her visa renewed. Then she and Michael came home that evening in time for dinner.
We enjoyed having Michael with us and he seemed to enjoy his time here. We wish him well as he continues to work on getting into Medical School.
On Wednesday and Thursday there were "stay away " days again in Harare. Stores and some things were open and everything was very quiet. We are happy there has been no violence.
Friday night we decided to have a surprise birthday party for Michael Mereki. His birthday was 2 months ago on May 28th but he was away at school in South Africa and we couldn't celebrate with him, so we decided we would do it last night. Major was late coming from work so we had Caleb "pretend" it was his birthday until Major got there and then we yelled "surprise" and Caleb handed over the birthday hat and sunglasses to him! He was very surprised. We shared cake with all of the prayer group that came that night.
Michael and Abbey arriving in Victoria Falls
Major and Kathy at the Falls
Abbey, Major and Michael in the Rain Forest at Victoria Falls
On Sunday last week we had a "Big Sunday." This is when 6 churches meet together to have one church service and fellowship with each other. The normal 3 hour service went to 4 hours as everyone had to do special music and sing! It was a lot of fun and a great time for all. They killed some goats for the visitors to eat with sadza.
Monday was the 4th of July and even though Mondays are always busy at work I managed to run home in time to BBQ hot dogs and hamburgers to go with our traditional American food of potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, deviled eggs, carrot sticks, potato chips, and all the condiments. We had 14 people (5 Americans by birth) to share the meal and it was great fun! Of course it was very cold when we ate outside and we ended up around the fire we cooked on! July is our coldest month and gets down to mid 50's at night!
We spent the week unpacking 2 containers and my visitors Caleb, Amanda, Michael and Abbey kept busy organizing and unpacking and putting away things. This has been a great help to us.
Thursday the visitors and Major went off for 3 nights at Rhino Camp and decided to drive the 6 hours through the bush to get to it. They are away until Sunday afternoon.
On Thursday I went with 2 trucks full of people to Karoi to bury Monica Ruvando's father. Monica is one of our clerk's at the hospital and her father has lived with her for about the past 6 years after he retired from work as a cook in Harare. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer recently and died on Wednesday afternoon at home at the age of 88. Monica wanted him buried in Karoi and so we all went in to help. It was a full day and we got back at 8 p.m. very exhausted!
This has been a busy week in Harare when riots started on Monday afternoon and continued through Tuesday and a national stay away from work on Wednesday. Many hospitals in Harare, Chinhoyi and Karoi closed to taking patients and discharged what they could. Many patients started coming to us and unfortunately one of our patients who needed emergency surgery was sent to Harare and died after 3 hours in an ambulance because the hospital refused to take her as there were no doctors and nurses working.
There are many issues that people are upset about in the country, but the doctors and nurses were upset because June pay day had been moved to July 14th. After the closure of hospitals the health workers were paid on Friday, so we hope things will go back to normal now.
Friday a patient from Karoi returned for a checkup and his father brought a bag of maize for the patients to eat as a Thank You. We are so thankful that people are happy with our work and bring us gifts to help keep us going! God is good!
Friday was Carolyn Mereki's 19th birthday so we had a special dinner and then cake with those who came to have prayers on Friday night. We wish her many more!
Big Sunday singing
Michael, Caleb and Amanda in their Red-White and Blue
Major getting into the experience
Abbey and group eating
Michael and Caleb helping to unload a container
Abbey delivering the goods from container to different departments
Burial of Monica's Father
Counsellor from Karoi giving us a bag of Maize for the hospital
Happy Birthday Carolyn!
Michael, Patience and Carolyn Mereki with Aunt Juliet (Patient's sister)
On Sunday last week we were happy to see our container arrive on our way to church. By the time we got of church they had pulled a 20 foot container off the truck. This container came from Sebastopol and had been sent in February. We had been looking forward to seeing it!
Tuesday we opened it and pulled out a load of boxes and Amanda and Caleb and Michael spent the last few days unpacking and sorting things. We still have a long way to go--but we are finding so many great things we really need! Yeah! How great it has been to pull out things we have been out of. Caleb, Abbey, Amanda and Michael have been working on organizing our Duty room where the nurses desk is. Everyone appreciates it and it is so organized and well labeled now--so it is easy to find things to us. Now we can put things from the containers direct into the duty room to use.
Major and Abbey went to Harare on Wednesday--expecting to be gone 1 day and ended up coming back Friday evening. They had a full 3 days of running around to get all the errands done for the hospital. They had busy days and finally got it all done Friday. They had several "African adventures" that kept Abbey on her toes and gave her a lot to talk about!
Our second container--this one from Medical Teams International was cleared and left Harare Friday too. We thought it would be here at 8 p.m. so we sent everyone home to come back at 8 p.m. to unload it since the container had to go back. Around 11 we found out the truck got stuck on Zimaiwei--a big hill about 8 miles from Chidamoyo.
Our guys went to look for the truck and found it had ended up jack-knifing across the road. The spent the night working on it. Major took 2 tractors out about 7 a.m. and the spent the next several hours trying everything--until finally about 1 p.m. they decided to send our big truck and 2 small trucks to the container and start unloading it. They made several trips to bring things to the hospital. By 4 p.m. they had transported all the pallets and boxes to the chapel of the hospital! We have a big job on Monday to start unloading those too! To have 2 containers at once is so great and glad to have the extra work here to help with it!
Tractors trying to pull out container truck
Our truck unloading boxes from Container
Boxes being unloaded in chapel
Abbey sorting boxes and helping to put things away from container
Michael sorting out instruments that have come in the container