Julia had a great few days in Victoria Falls before flying home to Brisbane, Australia on the 9th of February. We thank her for her work and help while here.
Michael Mereki also headed to Midrand, South Africa to start a new term of school on the 10th of February. He is enjoying his studies and is half way through, having finished 2 years and starting his 3rd now. We thank him for being our driver and clerk at the hospital during his vacation time from school!
On the 5th of February we were joined by 5 final year Ohio State University Medical students who chose to do an elective here. We had Sam, Muneeb, Seema, Sophia and Kate. They are with us until the end of the month when they will do some traveling to Victoria Falls before leaving. Next week they go to Rhino Camp with Major for 2 nights to see some animals!
We have been keeping them busy at the hospital and they have gone out on our outreach teams and with Megan in collecting her field samples for her research. Megan has been here for the last couple of weeks and has been a big help to me getting meals on the table.
On February 8 Dr. Isala's wife Lorraine got very sick with pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy) after working all day. We got her stabilized with meds and IVs and he rushed her off to Chinhoyi Hospital where there is an OB/GYN specialist. She was only 7 months, and they made it only as far as Karoi where she had an emergency C/Section. Their daughter was born 10 weeks early and died after 8 hours. In the meantime Lorraine got sicker and needed blood so they transferred her to Harare--stopping in Chinhoyi to get 1 unit of blood into her. She ended up having to have dialysis for kidney failure for 3 days and finally she is doing much better and we hope for her discharge by the end of this week. Please be in prayer for them during this difficult time. We are thankful she is on the mend!
with Dr. Isala gone for the last 1 1/2 weeks it has been good to have the medical students and we are keeping everyone busy!
I have been on 17 days of 2 different IV medications and having had several cannulas put in my arms which are now sore and bruised. I have managed to make up my meds and give myself the IV medication each day and only missed an afternoon of work, so I was happy for that. The doctor told me he wanted me in the hospital and I said that I work in a hospital--so "I am in the hospital everyday!" I am on my way to see my urologist tomorrow in Harare and hopefully this is the end of the infections I have been going through since October last year! I am slowly feeling better and getting my strength back--yeah!
Julia saying good-bye at the hospital
Megan and Julia
Megan working with Sam and Kate
Megan working with Seema
Megan and Dr. Munodawafa with Seema, Sam, Kate, Sophia and Muneeb
On Saturday the 14th Julia Peacock from Brisbane, Australia arrived as our visitor for 1 month. She is a nurse who works as an Operating Nurse. She is here on her vacation time to work with us.
On Monday Dr. Megan Fitzpatrick from Stanford University arrived to start her research project and will be with us for several weeks in the next few weeks as she is data collecting.
On Friday night at prayer time we celebrated that Carolyn Mereki passed her A levels with 7 points. We took time to thank God and sing and dance.
On Saturday the 21st it was our support group for our older AIDS kids. We also have a group for their caregivers. We had a time of questions and answers and then served tea, hard boiled eggs and bread and biscuits for them to take home. They really look forward to this time and it is so exciting to see the kids as they have grown up on medication to keep them alive and they are doing well.
Saturday afternoon I took Julia and Megan to Major's and my village to spend the night and see how village life is. We went to church on Sunday morning and then spent the rest of the day looking at my fields, enjoying the rain . We tried to go home at 7 p.m. and had to turn around and go back to Batanai because the river was too full to cross and wait a couple of hours and we finally got across about 930 p.m. It was a busy weekend!
On this last Friday our surgeons from Harare came and this time 2 surgeons, 2 anesthetists and 1 scrub nurse came. Dr. Mashayamombe and Dr. Ruwizhu joined Mr. Kuwaona and Dr. Kajese. They ate dinner and at 8:30 p.m. started surgeries. Julia help scrub until 4 a.m. after she got back from 3 days of safari! They kept going until noon on Saturday--doing 18 cases! They are such hard workers it wears all of us out!! It is such a big help to our patients to have their skills and help. So many people are helped that can't afford to go to Harare and also pay for surgeries.
This has been a busy week with ZACH trainers in HIV joining us from Tuesday night until Wednesday afternoon. They had sponsored 2 workshops for us with Village Health Workers and Community leaders on Wednesday and Thursday to inform them of the new Ministry of Health guidelines of test all for HIV and if you are positive get treated. They are helping us get the message out to all of our villagers. We also spent time talking about Typhoid which we have been fighting an outbreak since December. We have had over 120 cases to date but i8t seems to be getting better as we only have had 11 new cases this week. The government and some NGO's have been helping us with drugs to treat and working with the villages to bring soap and clean water supplies. We are thankful for that.
Today was Julia's last day of work. She leaves tomorrow for Harare and Victoria Falls and then home to Australia on Thursday. She has been a big help to us and very friendly and fun to be around.
Megan has been here for the last 2 weeks working on her research and has her data collectors out getting samples. She is running the samples in our lab and so far has almost 200 samples collected out the 400 she needs. Julia has gone out in the villages with her some of the days.
We continue to have plenty of rain. We were wondering what sunshine looked for awhile but we finally got a few hours of sunshine and heat this week and this morning and then this afternoon we got a big storm that hit with plenty of rain!! They were sweeping out rain that was running in my kitchen backdoor this afternoon--it looked like a flood!
I started back on the IV medication for my UTIs this week and hopefully will be able to go for a scope mid-next week if I can stay bacteria free for a day!
On Jan 2, I worked in the morning since it was a holiday here and then in the afternoon headed for Harare with Major, his wife Patience and his daughter Carolyn and son Michael.
We were able to meet up for a few minutes with Dr. Jono Mbangani, from Australia and his brother Desmond from Botswana and see them after many years away. Dr. Mbangani was our doctor here from 2002-2005 before they moved to Australia. He and his wife Eva recently lost their oldest son in November this year due to a freak accident. They had planned this trip home to see relatives before this accident and so it was a hard trip home for them. We were happy to see Dr. Mbangani and talk for a few minutes before they left and we left as we were on our way to the airport.
At 0105 a.m. on January 3 Major, Patience and Carolyn and I boarded an Ethiopian Airlines jet and headed off on a 1 week vacation. Michael was suppose to join us but had to go to South Africa to write some exams at the last minute. We flew to Addis Ababa and then transferred to fly to Zanzibar, Tanzania.
We arrived about 2 p.m. the same day and headed for our hotel in Stonetown. We had kept our destination a surprise from Patience and Carolyn and so they were so excited. We checked in and then went for a walk to the ocean--2 blocks away. We dipped our feet into the Indian Ocean and just enjoyed a fish dinner at an outside eating place on the beach to watch the sun go down. Then we walked back to the hotel and slept right away having missed a night of sleep.
The next day after breakfast we headed out for a spice tour. Known as the Spice Island of Tanzania they grow many spices. We enjoyed seeing black pepper, vanilla, cardimon, cinammon and many different spices and fruits to taste. Then we went on a 45 minute boat ride to Prison Island and saw the big land turtles and went swimming off the Island before returning to our hotel about 5 p.m.
We went out that evening to the square by the ocean where every night vendors sell dinner. They have shrimp on a stick, chipati, samosas and meat and potatoes and we just bought a little of this and that to try and it was delicious with the different spices they use there. It was an easy 15 minute walk back to our hotel.
The next morning we went on a walking tour of the city with our guide. We enjoyed seeing the markets, the old houses, House of Wonders and had some time to shop.
At 1 p.m. they came and picked us up to go to the East Coast of the Island where we had 5 nights in Matemwe. We stayed in a bungalow right near the ocean with a pool also. They had wonderful food and we just spent the next 5 days relaxing, sleeping, reading, eating and walking in the ocean and on the shore. We went out snorkeling one morning and all of the Mereki's eventually got in the water--they don't swim so it was quite a deal for them and big entertainment for the boat including our boat driver!
We had internet at the dining room there so we caught up on our internet, I read 4 books on my Kindle and just enjoyed being by the ocean with wonderful weather and warmth. We slept with an air conditioner and fans on and no blankets!
Major entertained himself with all the vendors who tried to sell him things and he couldn't understand their English! We went one day for a massage with coconut oil and Carol got Henna done on her hand!
On our way back we had a night in Addis Ababa and when we got off the plane the cold hit us! They are in the Northern Hemisphere and it was winter cold! We got to our hotel and jumped into bed with blankets! The next morning we left for the airport at 0700 and it was about 40 degrees--we were freezing!! We had lightweight sweaters and sandles on!
We arrived home about 1 p.m. Wednesday and after some grocery shopping headed for our next destination--exotic Chidamoyo-ha!
We have had 2 busy days at work and lots of rain. Last night we had over 3 inches in 24 hours with heavy rain during the night. On Thursday we tried to get to our vaccination clinic and ART clinic at Batanai and couldn't get across the flooded river, so had to send the car again today and do it a day late! Amazingly our electricity has stayed on throughout the heavy rains. We had over 6 inches in the week were gone, so crops are looking good. I guess we are trying to compete with Northern CA and all the rain they have received this week and flooding too!
Major heads back to Harare today to pick up a new guest arriving from Australia. Hopefully I can get some wash out and get it dried if it doesn't rain!!
Yesterday (Saturday) 20 of us from the hospital headed out to Mukowe (1 1/2 hours away) at 7:30 a.m. for a Gala to encourage the people in the area to be tested for HIV. Our 2 doctors, nurses and counsellors and nurse aides came.We had a theme of "Start the New Year Right--Know Your Status!" We went with 5 cars and our tractor and trailer!
We offered HIV testing and also Male Circumcision (which decreases your chance of getting HIV and helps to decrease Cervical Cancer in their partners) and blood pressure checks. We set up in the classrooms for the circumcisions and for the testing and counseling.
We started with Health Education and we had a lot of questions and answers for prizes. We also had soccer matches for the men and netball matches for the women. The band got people up and dancing and they all really enjoyed the day. We estimate about 400 people came.
We tested over 300 new people and only a few were positive--so we were happy for that. We did 30 circumcisions. We gave prizes to the winning teams and were exhausted when we headed for home at 6 p.m.
The staff had a great time and want to do it quarterly. The people had a great time and benefited from services we brought to them instead of waiting for them to go to clinics which are far away.
We want to make this a quarterly activity and reach some of the far away and hard to reach places for people in our area.
People dancing to the band
Band and the dancers
The crowd for the prize giving
First prize for soccer team included uniforms and balls and trophy