Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kariba















Lori, Major and I were happy to get away to Kariba this week for 4 days. Kariba is located NW of here about 3 hours and we rented a house right on the Lake. We enjoyed seeing the Lake so full that 3 of the gate on the dam wall are opened and have been opened for the last 2 months. We had hippos on our lawn during the day and night—brings a new meaning to “lawn mower!”
We also enjoyed driving around and having elephants come out to see us in the road! Major was trying on Zambia’s for Lori who was looking to buy! We had a great time and really relaxed and got away from the work—what fun!

Obama

Hey Obama may not be very popular in the US—but he is still very popular in Africa. One of my young patients recently had his shirt on and when I asked to take his picture he said “bama!”

Sunday, May 2, 2010

ZESA







ZESA is the name of our electricity company—we say that it stands for “Zimbabwe Electricity Seldom Available” and it has proved true for the last 2 weeks. It was only coming on at anywhere from 8:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. and then off by 5 or 6 a.m. for the past 2 weeks. Even on Saturday and Sundays when we tend to have electricity for the whole day—it was off all day. Finally today it has been on since 10 p.m. last night and it just went off as I wrote this sentence (6 p.m.). I have 14 people coming for dinner so had to run outside turn on my propane tank and move all the dishes to the gas stove. Just got back and then as soon as I got everything changed to the gas stove in the back room, the guard came and said the doctor needs the generator for a vacuum extraction he is doing! So should I switch everything back when the generator comes on?
We now have a new registered psychiatric condition here called “ZESA anxiety.” When the electricity comes on you never know for how long or when it will go off. All you can count on is that it will be on during the middle of the night when no one needs it. You can usually count on it to go off when you have a cake half way baked and it sinks before you run to get it in the gas oven which needs to heat up! You can usually count on it being out dinner time when you need to cook and serve food! It does make you more organized when there is electricity and you get a lot more done because you never know when it will go off.
Trying to take X-rays and do some surgeries have been a challenge for the past 2 weeks. Our X-ray guy has been getting up at 10 or 11 p.m. at night to get some X-rays done so we can read them the next day. This means patients are camping out on the Out=patient veranda in order to know when ZESA comes on and when the X-ray guy comes up. If you sleep in front of the door he has to come through—you might get your X-ray done—especially if you have been waiting for several days! It is a game we learn to play!
You get the washing machine all ready, turn on the fan by your bed so when the lights come on you can jump up and start the washing machine! Sometimes I even cook the coffee for breakfast the night before and keep it in the thermos to keep it hot for morning! We learn all the tricks of the trade!
Of course during all of this as I am writing the generator wouldn’t start because the battery was flat and the only car we had here also had a flat battery (one car was with Major in Harare on his way back and one vehicle was in Karoi picking up Lori from a workshop) but God provided—as we have Bible College students visiting for the weekend and they had brought their college van—so quickly we got it to the generator and got it going to get the baby out! Mom and baby doing fine!
As soon as we got the generator going within 10 minutes ZESA was back! Oh the joys of living in Zimbabwe!
We have a team of 9 from our Bible College in Harare who arrived Friday night and stay until Monday mid-morning. We had 8 last week end from the college too. For the past 15+ years we have been having the seniors come out just before they graduate and after they have taken a counseling course, to put into practice what they have learned in theory. We also teach them how to minister to HIV/AIDS patients since they will have many in their congregation who will be infected. We talk about the disease, they sit in on counseling sessions when we test people and tell them they are or are not infected and sit in on a session of starting people on drugs to treat HIV/AIDS. They then visit the patients on the wards and learn how to do a hospital visit as a minister. On Sunday we use them in our local churches to preach and on Sunday night at the hospital service. All of the students have said how much this has helped them and prepared them in their ministry. So we are happy to participate in this program. Over the years we have trained ministers from South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, and Sudan and from all over Zimbabwe.
The past month we have had several visitors with us which is always fun. We had Mike and Gilly Withers from our UK Trust. We quickly put them to work—Mike fixing up the guest house and Gilly teaching staff from our hospital to prepare them for their English exams. They brought their niece, Jeanine who helped with some of our paperwork and pill cutting for our HIV drugs.
Then Rachel Sullivan a final year medical student from Ohio State University joined us for a month. She is starting her residency in general surgery in July at Ohio State. Then during that time Dr. Robert chin joined us from Stanford University in CA, who is a 3rd year resident in Radiation Therapy. It is always great to have visitors and they brought needed supplies with them in their suitcase that is always exciting!
On Tuesday Major, Lori and I have a 3 night/4 day getaway to Kariba planned! Yeah! We can’t wait to get away and be by the Lake and relax, read, nap and do nothing! I am sure Major is planning to fish (but I am not counting on that for dinner!) and we will see lots of animals around the place where we are staying. Stay tuned for more Adventures in the Bush!