Happy Christmas from Zimbabwe

Well it is December and even though there is no snow on the ground—there are crops growing in the field, rain falling and days up to 90 degrees—sounds like Christmas for me!
Major is back but he has spent the last 2 weeks in school in Harare to upgrade his ministry degree. So even though he is in the country, we still communicate by email and look anxiously to his return this weekend. Of course during the past 2 weeks the peanut butter machine needs new blades, the boreholes have broken 3 times and need new belts, rubbers and a pump, and the grinding mill needs a new circuit breaker, the chickens have some kind of skin disease and we need to pick a pig to kill for Christmas. Wow I can’t wait for Major to get back and take over those issues! Somehow I missed those classes in Nursing school on how to handle these hospital crisis issues! Now it must be my turn for holiday!
Stacy, our visitor from TN left for Harare yesterday to spend a few days before she heads for Joburg on Monday and on to US on Wed. She had been with us since October and was a big help, so we are missing her already. We are wishing her well in her applications for medical school this next year.
Since Major is gone, his wife went away for a workshop this week and so their two kids, Michael (17) and Carolyn (13) have been staying with me. It is always fun to have teenagers at the table. When you ask if they want dessert, the answer is “bring it on!” Major also got a box of chocolate bars he sent from the US when he was there that arrived this week and Chris and I have been trying to convince them to bring the box over here so we can just “look” at it—but they don’t trust us and they said “mom has counted how many there are and that we better not eat any!” We immediately told them that did not include us—only them!
We have started the Christmas activities of Chidamoyo. Instead of crowded malls and shopping and no parking places and packed freeways—we have movie night, carol singing, candlelight service and a Christmas party for our staff! We did get the 12 foot tree up and decorated—in the dark with flashlights—as no ZESA! The presents are wrapped and today is cookie making day—Carolyn and Chris (my other visitor) have that job. Almost as easy as buying them at the store!
We showed a movie on Wed and last night (Fri) and there is one more scheduled for Tues night. Our staff party is a luncheon on Friday (24th) and we have a pig and goat to kill—along with rice, Cole slaw and cake! Last year people ate until they got sick they ate so much! We have a gift bag of soap, oil, flour, rice, sugar, toothbrush and paste and drink mix for each employee. They always look forward to this each year.
Christmas Eve we have a candlelight service of Scripture reading and Christmas carols (all in Shona) at the hospital courtyard. We usually don’t have to worry about turning off the lights as there is usually no ZESA in the evenings. After that Dr. Zimudzi, Mereki family and Lori will join Chris and I in cookies, tea and coffee and opening our gifts.
Christmas morning is breakfast with Mereki family (French toast) and then church at 9 a.m. and then after that rounds on the patients and home to a ham dinner with all the trimmings. Our theme this year is “Retro Hawaiian Christmas.” That means dress in 50’s Hawaiian outfits. Should be interesting—stay tuned for pictures!
This past week at the hospital it has been busy and on Wednesday we had to do an emergency operation for a ruptured uterus during labor. ZESA was on when we started and went off about an hour into the surgery, all vehicles were gone and so we couldn’t find a battery to get the generator started—so worked for 30 minutes with 2 torches (flashlights) being held by the Nurse Aide and then ZESA came back! Wow that was exciting! Patient did well and survived. We used a lot of lap sponges since we had no suction for the part with no ZESA! God was good and at least it was during the day when there was some outside light! Trying to hang and push in units of blood in the dark is interesting!
Just in case we didn’t have enough work they also threw in a week of Immunization clinics last week, so Lori and her crew were out until late each evening trying to vaccinate children and give Vitamin A. So much for work slowly down during the holidays!
Both of the doctors here have offered their resignation (one will leave end of Jan and one end of Feb) and so please join us in prayer as we look for 2 new doctors. We need the right ones to help the hospital continue to give the good service we are known for and proud of.
Three weeks ago I had a reporter from NY Times and a photographer here following me around for a couple of days. The story should be coming out shortly and I will let you know when we know when it is published.
Merry Christmas to all of you and slow down and enjoy the Reason for the Season—Christ our Savior is born and live on even today! Share this light in all that you do!


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