Monday, August 21, 2017

More visitors and National Church Conference

This past week I was very busy with visitors again.  We aren't letting the beds get cold!  Monday and Tuesday were holidays here--Hero's Day (similar to Veteran's Day in US) and so we were able to work half day at the hospital.  

Just before lunch I had a visit from the Dr. Erik Scharrer family from Nhowe Mission Hospital.  This is a Church of Christ non-instrumental mission northeast of Harare.  They came by to visit our hospital and share about how we do things that might help them.  I was happy to spend the afternoon with them before they traveled on to Harare and then home.

At 6:30 p.m. David Green from Marondera in Zimbabwe (East of Harare) showed up with 4 brothers--The Lachowscy's .  David spent a month with us in December last year as he is still trying to pursue a job in health care.  The brothers are all in medical school in Poland and were out visiting his family so they came to see a hospital in Zimbabwe.  They were able to do rounds two days with the doctors and help with some surgical procedures.  They seemed to really enjoy it.

On Tuesday afternoon Dr. David Katzenstein and 6 others joined us for 2 days to talk about our research grant from Gilead that we were granted recently.  We spent 2 days working out some of the details.  We were happy to have Dr. Anat from Israel back with us.  She is a medical anthropologist and helping us in finding some answers about our adolescent ART program.  She brought me some dates from Jerusalem--wow!!

Thursday morning I left early for Major and I to meet with the Japanese Embassy.  They have accepted an application for us to get a Fuji digital X-ray developer.  We went to orally present our need.  They will be making a site visit in September and let us know by February/March 2018 if we have been granted this wonderful gift.  This is something we really need and would dramatically cut down on the cost of X-rays for our patients from $20 a film to $1!!  Please pray for this to go through!

Friday morning at 3 a.m. 7 of us left for Mashoko Mission for our annual National Church Conference.  We arrived at 9 am in time for the morning meetings.  Major preached at 11 am.  We spent the night and left in the afternoon on Saturday arriving in Harare at 10 p.m.

Major and the other 4 slept until 3 a.m. and then left for Chidamoyo.  Carolyn Mereki and I stayed in Harare to do some shopping and doctor appointments and get our nails done in the morning.  The driver from Chidamoyo will be in tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday) to pick us up!

Dr. Erik Scharrer

Dr. Erik Scharrer family with friend Taka and Kathy

 Dr. Isala making rounds with David Green and Lachowscy brother

Lachowscy's and David and Kathy

Dr. Katzenstein and visitors with staff as Dr. Munodawafa presents

 Singing and dancing at Mashoko church conference

Carolyn Mereki in front of dining hall at Mashoko

Major Mereki preaching at Mashoko Conference

Kathy, Patience, Carolyn and Major Mereki at Mashoko church conference

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Busy week with visitors

We had an incredibly busy week with a new group of University of Washington Global Health students joining us on Sunday the 6th and staying through yesterday morning (11th).  There were 7 students and 2 teachers and a driver and my 2 UK students.  So we were cooking for 13 of us each meal.

They experienced shadowing doctors and nurses, helping in OPD clinic and Antenatal Clinic, helping in the Laboratory and watching 3 C/Sections.  Our UK students were happy to get to assist in the C/Sections.  They also went out for a vaccination clinic and weighed kids, measured kids and gave Vitamin A and Polio drops.  They got a good taste of bush life and global health in a rural setting and they all seemed to enjoy it.

On Thursday we started a Youth Conference for our Province that has seen over 500 kids gathering to sing and dance and have lessons, Bible competitions and hear sermons.  We joined them for church this morning and they were all very enthusiastic in their singing and dancing!  They continue through Monday morning.

Peter and Jeyam our medical students from Norwich, UK left early this morning to travel on to Victoria Falls for a few days and then Cape Town.  They enjoyed their 3 weeks here and learned a lot from our doctors and nurses.  We wish them well in their future careers and their last year of medical school that starts in September.

Monday and Tuesday are holidays here and so we are on half day schedule if all goes well.  Gives us time to catch up on needed paper work.  Also having more visitors coming--6 for lunch Monday then 5 for dinner and the next day 7 more joining us through Thursday.  Club Chid keeps busy!

Major was granted his US visa this past week and so we are on our way to the US on 3 September.  We fly via Hong Kong to San Francisco and hope to have 2 days with friends in Hong Kong.

We get in to the US on the 6th and on the 8th we fly to Portland, OR to spend the weekend with Santa Clara church in Eugene, OR.  We hope to catch up with several friends there.  Then on the 11th we fly on to Seattle to be there until the 30th visiting companies and friends we work with and also a quick trip to see Victoria, BC for 4 days.  

Our fundraiser sponsored by Friends of Chidamoyo is on Saturday the 16th.  We hope to see many of you there.  Please check out our FB page for Friends of Chidamoyo to book your tickets--even if you can't come.  We hope to raise a lot of funds to help the hospital that night.  It is always a fun night with many friends coming and lots of exciting things to bid on for the raffle.

We have seats for a San Francisco Giants game on the 1st of October and then we will be in Santa Rosa area until we leave on the 24th.  From October 11-14 I will be joining 6 other of my college buddies to celebrate our 40th reunion our of our College/Nursing School graduation!  We will be together at someones cabin on Lake Tahoe.

Lots of people and things to do!  We have to have time to shop too!  We will let you know when we get to the US our phone number.  Major is already thinking about all the food and Root Beer he can drink! Ha!

UW students observing in Theater (OR)

Annette, one of the students teachers giving devotions on Friday

 Jeyam assisting for a C/S

Peter and UW students observing the C/Section

Students helping with paperwork

Jeyam making his farewell speech on Friday morning

UW Group 2 of Global Health elective

 Youth groups singing specials for church

Major's "before" picture before he goes to USA and all that food!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Lots of mouths to feed!

Two medical students, Henry and Jeyam from Norwich, UK arrived on 22 July to be with us for 3 weeks of their elective studies.  They have completed 4 of 5 years and have been kept busy following our doctors in outpatients and inpatients and theater as well as drawing bloods for our ART patients.

During the week we continued to unpack boxes from the container that arrived recently.  We found several boxes of "Ebola outfits" that hospitals bought a couple of years ago during the scare in the US and now dumped unused.  We had Carolyn Mereki who was helping me to unpack put the whole suit on!  Scared a lot of people around the hospital.  We are using the suits for our men when they paint!

Last Saturday we had our younger kids for ART support group and their medicine supply as well as blood draws for viral loads.  We had 52 children from 5-12 years of age.

We also had Dr. Katzenstein from Stanford who is working with us in our kids on ART research and group, Dr. Ben Pensky from Stanford and Megan's faculty member for her research.  They also brought a Molecular Biologist from University of Dublin who is developing a viral load test to be run on one of our machines that does CD4s now.  Also a  Partners in Health doctor working in Rwanda and the person who runs the Lab where we are doing our research blood draws through from Harare, Junior.  They were here for lunch and most of the day.

On Sunday the 30th Henry celebrated his 22nd birthday with us and had the privilege of wearing our Chidamoyo Happy Birthday hat.  Later that day a group of 6 students, 1 teacher, 1 Zichire worker and 2 drivers showed up to spend the week with us.  They are working through an AIDS organization Zichire on a Global Health elective from University of Washington School of Nursing and Global Health.  They spent the week with us going out to well baby and ART clinics, helping with some month end reports and shadowing the doctors and nurses.  Some got to see a C/Section.  They left this morning after breakfast to trade with another group of 7 students who will be with us for this week.  We had Riley, Lyndseyy, Robby, May, Madeline and Emily as well as their teacher Jillyan and Annett from Zichire and driver Takunda.  We had a good time and they seemed to enjoy the work and the food!

Jeyam and Henry with Kathy

Jeyam and Henry  drawing blood from our ART kids

 ART kids getting their blood drawn

One of our ART kids who came to get her medicine and was happy!

Team from Stanford that visited

 Carolyn Mereki in the Ebola suit

Some of the students from UW and Jeyam and Henry

UW students and helpers

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Visitors here, Church at Jinga,ZACH support, Pepfar/CDC evaluation and ART support group

Things have been very busy with lots of patients this week.  We started out the week by going to visit a nearby church--Jinga.  We took our visitor college girls, Memory, Yolanda and Ashe  from Harare with us.  They have been doing some data entry for us on tablets for our children on ART.

Major and his family went too, so his two girls and the visitors sang a special song for us at church.  Major preached and after church they fed us mashed pumpkin and peanut butter--really good!

Monday was a very busy day of patients and it took us until late to see them all.  Major and I finally got home at 7:45 pm, exhausted.  Ate dinner and off to sleep!

Three of our ZACH (Mission Hospital organization) joined us Tuesday night to eat with me and spend the night.  Wednesday was our inspection by CDC/Pepfar and they came to assist.   Two people from CDC Harare showed up on Wednesday morning for the evaluation.  It took most of the day and we finished at 4 pm with our evaluation.  We got a 87% which was excellent!  We were noted to be far ahead in all areas of HIV/AIDS care.  This month we reached 5060 patients on the ART drugs!  We are close to 85% viral suppression and working hard on achieving 90%.

ZACH gave us some supplies for our program and some T-shirts that we gave out to our people who help with our ART program who include nurses, drives, pharmacy nurse aides and counsellors.

Friday we bid goodbye to  Memory, Yolanda and Ashe as they finished their 3 weeks with us.  They are college girls on holiday from school and helped us out in our adolescent research study by doing data entry on tablets for us.

Today (Saturday morning) we had our ART support group for kids 15-20 years old.  We had 44 kids who came.  The kids are enjoying this group and we do Viral Loads on everyone, refill their medicines, give lessons on not defaulting and play games and sing.  We provided tea and bread and some cookies.

Most of these kids have been on drugs since they were babies and it is so good to see them  growing up and doing well.  We always enjoy this group and seeing them act like normal teenagers.

One of the girls is named Fortunate and she was started at 10 months of age  in 2003 when she weighed less than 4 kg (8 1/2 pounds)!  Her twin had died a couple of months before and she was very sick when she arrived at the hospital.  In those days we had no Pediatric drugs so we cut up adult drugs and crushed them, "hoping" they might work.  She is now 15 and doing Form 3 in school.  She has grown into a lovely young woman and we are so happy.  She is our longest Pediatric patient on drugs and her drugs are still working well !  How great it is to see her each time.  

In those days donors paid for the Pediatric drugs we used and continued from 2003 until 2007 when the government took over providing drugs for free.  We are so thankful for those who helped to give lives to these kids in their early life!

Thanks to all who help us financially in running the hospital.

 Jinga Church

 Carolyn, Nancy, Ashe, Yolanda and Memory singing for church

 Eating Peanut Butter Pumpkin

 Giving T-shirts from ZACH out to staff

 Kathy saying goodbye to girls on Friday

ART kids Support Group

Kids holding up their drugs that keep them alive!

Kathy and Fortunate

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Two ways to help Chidamoyo

Our Friends of Chidamoyo  Facebook page (check it out and Like us!) has two ways you can help us get money to help run the hospital.

Below is a copy of the post:

Friends--we wanted to let you know that we all have the opportunity to support Chidamoyo through our purchases on Amazon.  Under Amazon Smile program, Amazon will donate 0.5% of our purchase to Chidamoyo.

All you need to do is log into your existing Amazon account through the Amazon Smile page ( and select Chidamoyo as your charity (just type Chidamoyo into the word search).  Then each timer you shop, remember to log into your account through the Amazon Smile page.

Although the best way to support Chidamoyo is to donate directly (as 100% of the proceeds go to the hospital), we are excited that we have a way for us all to raise additional funds through something most of us already do quite a bit--shop on Amazon.  Please remember, however, that only 0.5% goes to Chidamoyo, so please don't alter your normal use of Amazon on behalf of Chidamoyo as Amazon gets 99.5% of what you spend.

Larry Gail

Our Benefit for Hope is September 16th, 2017

Major and I will be coming to the US for this very important fundraising event for Chidamoyo Hospital.  We hope we see many of you there.  If you can not come in person consider buying a ticket on line to help us raise money.  We appreciate all of you who help us in so many ways.  

This is a fun evening of food, drink and a live auction and more fun.  Please join us if you can.

Buy a ticket on:

More information on our Facebook page under Friends of Chidamoyo!

Visitors from Australia, Happy 20th Carolyn, Unpacking container, lots waiting for delivery!

We were so happy to visit with Dr. Batsi Chiuerki and wife Charity and their three children who were visiting from Perth, Australia on the 7th of July.  They moved to Australia 12 years ago after working with them as our doctor at Makonde Christian Hospital.  It was so good to see them and with their children grown up!  We had a wonderful visit with them in Harare for a few hours.

Michael Major came home from University last week and he flew into Harare from South Africa.  We got to enjoy a lunch out and he drove me home from Harare last week.  My "driver "is back on his holiday so need to take advantage of it.

On Saturday the 8th of July we celebrated Caorlyn Mereki's 20th biorthday with a taco dinner and cake.  We also celebrated Michael's 24th birthday from May since he ad been away at University and we didn't get to celebrate in person with him.  Everyone had a great time at the party!

We spent time this past week unpacking the container we got recently.  We got all the boxes out and sorted in the hallway of the hospital.  I have been using Carolyn and Nancy who are on break from school to help me unpack and take things to their departments in the hospital.  We have received so much useful things that will keep us going for many months.  We are so thankful to everyone who helps us.

Two weeks ago we started a new program at the hospital for our AIDS patients that come on Monday mornings to have their Viral Loads tested.

We use our dining room and after drawing the patients we have Major give a special devotion for these patients and pray that the medicine will work for them.  We then give them time to share with one another how the medicine has helped their lives, to encourage one another with their testimonies.  We hope this will encourage them to continue their medicines and not default.  We have anywhere from 80-150 people for this session and we hope that it is encouraging to each of them and a ministry to them.

On Friday the 14th  we drove to Harare for the day to interview for our third doctor position.  We had hired a third doctor in April but he left after 3 weeks so we were looking still to fill that position.

We have offered the position to Dr. Vincent Mabika and hope that he will join us in August after he finishes his housemanship the end of July.  We pray he will work out for us and will help our busy work here.

There are lots of waiting women these days since there is no work in the fields and we have over 70 women waiting in the waiting shelter.  Maternity is keeping us very busy these days.  Every Sunday night the women sing and dance for the church service and we see how many are going to deliver!!

Winter is here now and most days it is in the low 80's during the day but as soon as the sun goes down it gets cold.  Down to mid-low 50's each night and early morning.  We are enjoying some fires in the fireplace these days!

 Dr. Chiureki and family with Kathy

 Michael's home from University

 Princess Carolyn on her birthday!

The Mereki family celebrating with Carolyn

Major giving devotions for our Viral Load patients

Unloading the Container

Major directing the unloading of the container

Pictures of Chidamoyo from the air

Lots of pregnant women singing and dancing at Sunday night church