Covid Lockdown--Zimbabwe style, Two new vehicles and Happy Birthday Major


Not much to write about during these days of stay at home.  No traveling, no direct patient care, and best of all no suspected cases of Cornavirus here!

I usually come to the hospital Monday-Friday 0700-1200  to do office work and Internet and go home after tea.

Like many of you I have been spending a lot of time sorting, cleaning closets and drawers and getting rid of things I do not use!  Major loves to hoard so I dump it all on him!  I have almost finished all my closets and drawers and feel better about no clutter!  Major says if this stay at home order lasts for too long I might not have anything left in my house!

We continue to see patients at the hospital.  We let 3 in at a time through our fence and we have our OPD outside with our staff in PPE.

There are now officially 46 cases positive cases in Zimbabwe, 4 deaths, 18 recovered and 24 active cases out of 28,019 tested. (www.worldometers.info)
There have been 5 cases and 1 death in our Province and none in our district.  We have no test kits yet—even though all health workers were to be tested by the end of April.
Testing is a still a problem and the rapid test was giving many false positives that were eventually negative on PCR.

We are seeing less patients a day—averaging about 100/day and have not been doing our outreach vaccination clinics for April and May.  We are talking about starting back in June.

We first started our lockdown on March 30th for the country, but we began here on 23-March—so we are on Day 58!  We cut our staff down to working 3-4 days a week as there are less patients and to use less PPE which we are preciously trying to save.
Our President extended on 16-May our lockdown indefinitely to be reviewed every 2 weeks.  Banks and stores are back open from 9 am-4:30 but only approved buses and a few kombis (vans) can travel in towns.  We still have no transport out here except local people who cram as many people into a pickup as they can.

Towns are back to normal without social distancing—most think if they have a mask, they are ok.  It is scary to go to town where people do not have hand sanitizers, very few hours of running water and use anything for a mask and do not social distance.
Our staff and people in our community cannot travel to town because of no public transport.  That encourages people to stay home.

We received word that our 2 new vehicles that Friends of Chidamoyo bought for us with auction funds in September have now arrived.  Everything has been slow because of Covid.  The new excuse for everything here not being done is Covid.  I am sure they hope this lasts for years so they have an excuse for not working or getting things done!

Two weeks ago, the Health Department here has made it a rule that no one can move outside their house without a mask on (or there is a $500 Zim --$10 US fine).  Our patients have come up with some ingenious masks which I will share with you some pictures.

We continue to pray for all of you to be protected, especially all our health worker friends!  Thank you for your continued prayers for us during this time.
In the meantime, we deal with drought for 2 years and people in need of food, shortages of groceries (not due to Covid), and making our PPE last.  The only good thing is that since businesses closed over 2 months ago we have had 24 hours a day of electricity!! A new thing for us and it especially helps to keep us home!!  We are Binge watching TV and movies like never before!

On Wednesday this week (20th) Major and I traveled to Harare because I needed to see my urologist.  Hadn't been feeling well for 2 months and Major finally convinced me we needed to go.  He saw me.  Gave me some meds to start orally and IV and going back on Tuesday for a stent removal from my right kidney!

Wednesday was also Major's 56th birthday and while we were in Harare we got a call to say that our 2 Land Cruisers we had ordered in November, 2019 had arrived and we could come and pick them up!   A big Thank you to Friends of Chidamoyo who paid for the vehicles from their auction they held in September 2019!  What a wonderful birthday gift, huh?  We rushed over and picked them up and drove them to my townhouse.  Then had to rush back to get a scan done of my kidneys. I had to drink water to fill up my bladder for the scan and all grocery stores and petrol stations close by 4:30 p.m.  We drove around looking for water and finally found a pharmacy open we could buy water at (for US$!).  The appointment was for 6 p.m. and we finally finished at 8:05 p.m.  Then we went to look for something to eat.  I had promised Major a birthday dinner to remember-ha!

We learned that all take out places close at 8 p.m. and so no dinner you could buy!  We went home and Major decided to cook sadza and use some left over chicken I had from lunch to eat with it!  I went to bed and he made his own birthday dinner.

The next day Major ran around to do lots of errands and I went to the doctor and then went back to the townhouse to rest.  Our driver from Chidamoyo came in to help take 1 of the new Land Cruisers home and we finally left town with both new vehicles at 7 p.m. arriving home at 12:15 a.m. exhausted!

All new vehicles we have a dedication ceremony and prayers.  Everyone was so happy!  Our old vehicle we used for outreach clinics had to be pushed to be started!  We are all so happy and blessed by this wonderful gift!

Last night (Friday) we finally got to celebrate Major's birthday for him and I cooked Lasagna and butternut--his favorites!  We called his 2 kids--one in South Africa and one in KY, USA and had a 3 way video chat on Whats App!  It was so fun!

Monday is a holiday here too (Africa Day) so Major will stay at the farm and come back Monday morning to take me in for my procedure which will be on Tuesday.

Some observations about Covid and what's happening in towns--especially Harare. 

  • There are mask roadblocks every town and several in Harare--so you have to have your mask on even in your car or be fined.  Everyone puts mask on when they see "Police Ahead" signs and take them off as soon as they go through!
  • When I was in having my scan and Major was waiting and another patient came in for a scan and every time she had to cough she pulled her mask down and coughed and then pulled it up!  Major ran outside to wait for me!
  • You wait in your car at the doctors and then when it is your turn they come to the car and take your Temp and make you use hand sanitizer before going in.
  • You have to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer at the bank to get in--their hand sanitizer I am sure was Windex!
  • You have to wear a mask but many people keep their nose outside the mask or pull it below their chin--so how to wear a mask is not emphasized!
  • As long as you have a mask on most people think you don't need to social distancing here--so large crowds in grocery stores and waiting for buses.
  • Even though Stay at home order is in effect most people are ignoring it and are out doing business as usual.  Churches are still closed and non-essential services.
  • Life in Zimbabwe is always interesting and keeps us on our toes!

 Hospital choir singing and dancing in Covid!


 Use your sweater for a mask them use after you leave!

Head scarf on mouth



 Using your baby's hat for your mask!

 Jacket mask

 

 The new vehicles for the hospital





Social distancing--Harare style!


 The new vehicles being dedicated at the hospital

 Our nurses who will be using vehicles for ART and Immunization clinics

 Happy Birthday Major!





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