Sunday, June 17, 2018

Winter is here!

This weekend winter really hit and believe it or not it gets very cold in Africa!

On Monday Major and his wife Patience and his daughter Carolyn and I headed for Harare about 11:45 p.m.  We were supposed to leave at 11 a.m. but with a hospital to run it is hard to get away!

I had a doctor's appointment with my urologist, Mr. Chiura, at 4 p.m. and we managed to get there by 3:45 p.m. and then wait!  He decided that due to my worsening hydronephrosis he wanted to try a procedure in surgery to put stents in my ureters to help with the constrictures I have due to radiation 28 years ago.  He had booked me for surgery first thing Wednesday morning.

Monday night we got together with Dr. Kajese and his family.  They had a new baby girl, Zoey, born in March that we hadn't seen and Lexi, daughter number 1 had grown so much.  She is almost 3 and quite a handful of excitement!  After dinner Dr. Kajese and I went to the car and he started an IV cannula on me so that I could start IV antibiotics before surgery.  I felt like we were shooting up IV drugs in the parking lot of the restaurant!

That night I started the IV drugs that had to run over 1 hour so Major fixed up my ladder at home to be my IV pole and I used it over the next 3 days twice a day to get my drugs in!

Tuesday we spent the day running around to get approval for the surgery, get blood work and X-rays, EKG, etc. done.  Then I did some shopping for home.  We tried to watch a movie at the townhouse in Harare before bed and we were all freezing.  It was getting down to low 40's at night and early morning and 50's in the house!  I gave up and went to bed where I have an electric under blanket!

Wednesday we had to check in by 6 a.m. and then surgery was at 8 a.m.  I was back to my room by 11 a.m. and home at 1 p.m.  All went well, except they couldn't find the ureters due to the scarring from radiation so they couldn't get stents in, so instead I have a Foley Catheter for a month and then we decide where to go from there!

Thursday Dr. Megan Fitzpatrick came by for a visit.  She had gone to Chidamoyo Monday-Wednesday when we were away.  She was with us 2016-2017 doing HPV research and is finishing up her Pathology residency at Stanford.  She came back to follow up on some of her work, so it was good to see her and catch up on her life.

We left town at noon and we were home at 6:30 p.m. to Chidamoyo.  I was very tired and cold so early to bed!

Friday I went to work and had an 11 hour day!  I had to catch up with all I had missed in 4 days and Major had gone to a Men's Church Conference so I had to wait for the money collected.

This weekend I have stayed in to take it easy and do work around the house.  It is still very cold and my house has a screened in veranda as my dining room--so the whole house stays cold!  Down to mid-50's here, much better than Harare!  I watched TV with a big blanket on me and then gave up and went to my warm electric blanket in my bed!

Elections are coming up July 30--lots of posters and election signs up around.  Continue to pray for peace and free and fair elections!

Baby Zoey Kajese

Noe and Shield Kajese with Zoey

Lexi Kajese

Watching TV and keeping warm in Harare!


 Getting my IV meds--my ladder IV pole

Voting signs in Harare


Kathy and Dr. Megan Fitzpatrick in Harare

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Another week, more visitors and a container arrives!


Monday our lorry from the hospital went in to pick up a container from Sebastopol, CA that arrived.  This is the first time that we have been able to transport our own container.  Tapson, the driver said it was very heavy—but they made it up Zvimaiwei Hill with no problem and arrived Monday night.  We got it unloaded on Wednesday off the lorry and opened it Friday to start the unloading progress.  We put lots of boxes in the hallway outside my office to start unpacking as I have time between patients.

This week we kept busy with some guests from ZACH—our church hospital organization that works with CDC-PEPFAR program to sponsor or HIV/AIDS work.  They were with us from Tuesday night through Friday morning visiting 2 other clinics in the area they sponsor and us. I cooked dinner for the 3 guests for the 3 nights they were with us.

They brought us a nice tented room that we can use when going out on our ART outreach clinics.  We learned to put it up and take it down.  We put it on the lawn in the courtyard of our in-patient wards to try it out and then we had pictures of the staff with the ZACH staff taken.

This week we had 2 outreach clinics to draw blood for our research and for our adult patients.  Saturday, we had our Age 5-12-year-old support groups and we had over 60 kids!  They are mostly doing very well which we are happy for.

We have been having some fuel shortages in the country for the past 2-3 weeks.  Sometimes diesel is short and sometimes it is petrol.  So far, we have been able to get what we need so we are thankful for that!  We are starting to see queues again for fuel which is always worrying!
Elections will take place for President and Parliament Ministers on July 30.  Please pray with us for free and fair and safe elections for all.

Saturday, I had to do anesthesia for 2 C/Sections—one to start the day and one to end the day—so it was a busy day for me.  At least today, Sunday, has been a bit quieter! Yeah!


 Container arriving on our lorry

Opening container



 Putting up the new tent we got for ART care



ZACH staff with our nurses and staff

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Saying Good-bye and hello to new adventures


It has been a busy 2 weeks.  We said goodbye to people and said hello to new people and then met up with old friends to see new places.  What fun is that!


On the 22nd of May we had a going away party for Dr. Isala and his wife Loraine.  He had been with us for 4 years as our doctor and Loraine had been here for almost eight years as a nurse.  They met and married here in 2015.  They left as of May 31st to work at a private clinic in Bindura—80 kms North of Harare.  We had a wonderful lunch with all the staff and gave them a rural life painting to remember us by in their new home.


At the going away party we also said goodbye to Dr. Ben Watterly who had been with us for 3 weeks from the UK and Courtney Walker, RN who had been with us for 2 weeks from CA.  We had a great time with them and wish them well.  Ben was going on for a month to New Zealand to visit his brother and Courtney was going on to do another medical mission trip in Ethiopia and then travel in Europe for 3 weeks before getting home.


We also welcomed a new doctor at the party—Dr. Mudzingwa and his wife and 14-month-old daughter Abigail.  They arrived late Monday night to start as a doctor here.  We had 3 doctors for a week!  We are happy he is here to join us after finishing his residency.


On the 23rd of May I left with Ben and Courtney to take them to Harare and then went to the airport to welcome an old friend of mine, Cathy Holdener, her husband Bart and adult daughter Jennifer.  Cathy and I have been friends for 43 years when we met when we started nursing school together at UCSF.  We also had our first jobs together at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento from 1977 until I left to come here in 1981.  She still works in Postpartum at the same hospital!They flew into Harare from Zanzibar after 3 weeks doing safaris in Tanzania and seeing Zanzibar. 

Bart had broken his arm the day before they left on their trip and decided to come and will get it fixed after he gets back.  He did very well and  did everything with us!

We spent the night in Harare and on Thursday the 24th we left with Major and Patience Mereki and drove to Masvingo, Zimbabwe.  We saw Great Zimbabwe Ruins and stayed at a house for the night on Lake Kyle—what a beautiful view to wake up to!


After spending a few hours climbing around at Great Zimbabwe—we drove 3 ½ hours on to spent 2 nights in Bulawayo.  We spent the next day seeing Matopos Park, where Cecil Rhodes is buried and saw some bushman paintings and went around the game park. 


On the 27th we drove to the airport in Bulawayo and flew to Johannesburg, South Africa and then on to Cape town, South Africa.  We had a 2 hour wait in between flights at Joerg so Michael Mereki came to the airport to surprise his parents!  Michael is in his last year of law school near Joberg and we hadn’t seen him since February when he left to start his final year.  He graduates in November!


We arrived in Cape town about 6:30 pm.  We rented a small 7-seater car and we piled in with all our luggage and looked like a “combi” with suitcases on top of all of us but the driver—to the ceiling! We finally arrived at our house we rented close to 8:30 p.m. and then walked 2 blocks away for dinner.The first day in Cape town Cathy and Jennifer went on a wine tour of places nearby and came home with 9 bottles of wine they had bought from 5 different wineries they visited.  Major and Patience and I enjoyed shopping that day and eating some fish down at the V&A waterfront.

Tuesday, we went on a walking tour of downtown and BoKaap—an area of brightly colored houses occupied by Malay people—95% Muslim. We had a wonderful guide and really walked and got to eat some Samosas and Koeksisters on the tour.


We then drove down to the Cape of Good Hope where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans join.  It was a beautiful day and then we stopped to see the Penquins at Boulders Beach.  How fun they were to watch and many new babies to see!


Wednesday we did a Malay cooking class in Bo Kaap where we learned to make Chicken curry, Samosas, Roti bread (like tortillas with basil and garlic in them) and Koeksisters—then we got to sit down and enjoy it all for lunch!  We had great fun and Major really got into it and promised to cook it again here at home!


We then planned to go up Table Mountain, but it was cold and raining and trams not going so we went to V&A Waterfront to shop and had a wonderful dinner before returning home.
Major and Patience and Jen went up on the big wheel there to see the sights of the water front from up high.


Thursday, we had tickets to go to Robbins Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for several years.  Unfortunately, they had to cancel the tour because the boats couldn’t go out because of choppy water.  It was very cloudy and cold and windy.  So, we ended up going to another shopping mall—Canal Walk and enjoyed some last-minute shopping before we headed home.That night we had a wonderful dinner at NV-80 a close walk away and enjoyed a beautiful steak dinner as our last night in Cape town.


Unfortunately, we had to say our goodbyes and we headed for the airport at 0330 am as we had a 0615 am flight to Joberg!  Holdeners stayed the day and didn’t head for home until 23:30 p.m. Friday night!


We got to Joberg and then on to Bulawayo where we arrived at 12:15 p.m.  We then drove to our house we rented for the night.  We did our whole trip on Air BnB and loved it all and saved so much money!


Yesterday (Saturday) we headed for home.  Tapson, our driver came down to meet us on Friday and help drive back since we had 2 cars.  Nine hours later we pulled into home!


What a wonderful time we had, and it was so great spending time with the Holdeners.  We are already planning their next trip to Africa! 

Going away party--Dr and Mrs. Mudzingwa, Dr. and Mrs. Moyo, Dr. and Mrs. Isala

Major with Dr. and Mrs. Isala

Going away gift for Isala's


Ben and Courtney with nurses

Courtney with Abigail Mudzingwa

Dr. Mudzingwa and Dr. Isala

Dr. Mudzingwa family



Courtney and Ben with Major and Kathy


Cathy, Jen and Bart Holdener

Kathy and Cathy--43 years friends

Major and Patience and Kathy and Kathy, Bart and Jen

Bushman paintings on rocks in Matopos

Major and Patience in Matopos

Jen, Cathy and Bart Holdener

The group at Rhodes Grave Matopos

Walking tour of downtown Capetown

Reminder of  Race classification up to 1991

Houses of Bo Kaap


Cathy on cobblestone streets of Bo Kaap


Cape of Good Hope where Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean

The Penquins


Cooking class


Eating what we made in Malay cooking class

The Capetown wheel

Shopping in Capetown

Sites of Capetown

 Our last dinner in Capetown