Sunday, November 20, 2011

5 Days without ZESA!

Mr. Mereki 20 years and Mrs. Mereki 10 years getting their certificate from Dr. Kabanzi

Presenting certificates

Long Service Award Dinner

Dinner for Long Service Awards

Dr. Kellert sewing up a leg

(ZESA is the name of our electric supply company in Zimbabwe and stands for “Zimbabwe electricity Seldom Available!)
10. It is your fault that ZESA went out because you bought extra meat, had 2 pigs slaughtered, filled the freezers full for a staff party on Saturday this week.
9. Everyday you struggle to call the ZESA fault line on Skype( because there is no cell phone coverage when there is no electricity) with your battery back up with a small amount of time before it will die, to report that you still have no electricity. The answer you get everyday is “has this been reported?”
8. You learn quickly not to wear that headlight flash light that is so great because it leaves your hands free to do things. As the only light in the room it attracts all the bugs to bombard you in your face!
7. When you have Sunday night church you can dose off discreetly and no one notices (unless you snore) because only the person preaching has a light and the audience is in the dark.
6. When Major came from Harare on Wednesday night and he stopped at the ZESA office in Karoi to see if they had worked on our fault, he was meet by a ZESA employee holding a candle, because their electricity was out, and asking “did you report the fault?” (Yes you have noticed that is the “only” question they can ask)
5. You have a constant battle at night whether you should put your mosquito net down and then sleep with no air all night because the air doesn’t seem to get through those small holes in the net very well, or keep the net up and let the bugs dive bomb you all night and hope a mosquito doesn’t bite you and give you malaria, but at least you felt some breeze during the night!
4. You try and stay up past 7 p.m. with a few solar lights which immediately attract every bug within a 25 mile radius and so you constantly are picking bugs off your body, under your clothes, and hair, until you finally give up and turn off all the lights and go to bed early!
3. You look forward to that cold shower in the morning (no lights, not hot water) when you get up because you have been sweating all night!
2. You invite lots of people over for lunch and dinner because you want to use up all your meat that is melting in your freezer. Meat every meal—wow am I happy or what?
1. The whole audience breaks into a cheer when last night during the community movie (run by generator) when ZESA came on! Even those who don’t have electricity in their homes are cheering because they know the hospital needs electricity for X-rays and Lab tests! And you go to bed with the fan blowing on your face and all seems right with the world!

We kept Dr. Kellert this week. I made it sew up a lacerated leg this week. i told her you are a surgeon you can sew a leg closed--it had been a few years since she had to do that!

Saturday I cooked dinner for 30 people as we had our Long Service Award dinner. We celebrated 13 people who have worked 5, 10 and 20 years at the hospital. I cooked 4 pork roasts, 22 pounds of beef, coleslaw, 22 pounds of mashed potatoes, 10 butternut squash and 2 cakes.

ZESA came back on Friday about 9:30 p.m. and stayed on until 7 a.m. Saturday--just in time for me to have the pork roasts cooking and the cakes in the oven. Quickly switched to the gas oven and hoped the cakes wouldn't fall in!

The electricity stayed off the whole day so we turned on the generator for the party. ZESA finally came back at 11:30 p.m.! This morning it was still on so I quickly went to work getting a load of wash out. Soon my back veranda was flooding. Called Major and we quickly found that a rat had eaten through a plastic hose in the washer. We temporarily fixed it with duct tape and now on load 3 of washing and have one more to go!

Only a few drops of rain this week! We are very dry and need rain so badly! Keep praying for rain!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pray for rain--it is dry!

Price giving with Headmaster at Zvarai

Major and Cheryl eating after the prize giving

Cheryl and I at Prize giving

Prize giving with students and teaching

Students performing for parents and us

Nurses station and Trauma room going up

Pediatric extension and Nurse station and Trauma room under construction

Major, myself, Dr. Kajese, Dr. Kellert and Dr. Kabanze

The 3 Doctor K's

Well it has been another busy week in Club Chid. The three Doctor K’s are all working hard and Dr. Kellert got to do her first C/Section with Dr. Kajese on Wednesday evening. It went well and she is now used to our instruments, sutures and non-disposable everything—don’t throw those gloves away—we reuse them!! The C/Section was done on Lori’s maid who had come the day before to clean Dr. Kellert’s house—that put her into labor. I told her she should have tried that on her patients in the US “clean my house and you will go into labor!”
The building continues on the Peds extension and also the Nurses Station/Trauma room and updating the new X-ray room. Major is keeping busy supervising it all.
We have been having severe water problems for sometime and we finally broke down and paid a company from Harare to come out and help us. We also got new pumps and pipes and it seems to be working much better now. This is always a time of water shortage because we haven’t had rain for 6 months and it is hot so people use more water. I was jumping in my swimming pool to keep cool and smell better for a few days!
It is still hot but our very hot weather seems to have broken. We are now running in low 100’s everyday and the past 2 days we have had some wind which helps to keep us a bit cooler. It is wonderful to come home from work and jump in the pool and swim some laps! It is a nice 88 degrees at 8 a.m. this beautiful Saturday morning as I write this. Just talked to my family in California and it was 32 degrees and raining as I talked to them on Skype! I am glad I am here.
We had a big storm last Saturday with lots of lightening and thunder for a couple of hours. It burnt out our modem for the internet and part of our satellite dish for the internet so we had to have the technician out this week to put us back on line at the hospital. Since then it has been dry—no rain! People are anxious to start plowing and planting.
On Friday I was invited to be the “Guest of Honor” at the end of year Prize Giving for Zvarai Primary school about an hour away. Major, Dr. Kellert and I went for a big program with a band, dancing, speeches and then helping to give out the prized for best students in each class. The program was about 4 hours long and then they gave us a feast of rice, sadza, chicken, liver, intestines, and beef. We had a wonderful time and came home exhausted and ready for bed!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dr. Kellert arrives--yeah!

Dr. Kellert in office
New X-ray room next to theater (from OPD veranda)

New X-ray room

New X-ray room

Building the new Nurses station and Trauma room

Trauma Room/ Nurses Station

Pediatric Extension

After 5 months of correspondence back and forth, and applications, sold house and moving, and waiting for a medical license in Zimbabwe —Dr. Cheryl Kellert and OB/GYN from the US arrived on Tuesday November 1st to become our 3rd doctor! Who would have thought! After so many years of no doctor, then 1 doctor, then 2 doctors and now a third—wow!

She arrived here on Tuesday evening and we had dinner for her with the other doctors and Major and Patience. Then she gladly went off to bed after 2 days of straight flying. She left Connecticut in a big snowstorm and arrived to 110 weather here—wow what a shock on the body—but she has done well and was up in the morning to start work!

We have been busy getting her house ready and an exam room ready. While we are building a new X-ray room we are now using the old X-ray room for her exam room and office. We are still using it for our X-ray room, until the new one is done in about 1-2 weeks, so they trade off back and forth!

She will have to go and work for 3 months in a government hospital to acclimatize her to the work here and we are trying to make arrangements that it will be in Chinhoyi which is close (3 hours) and she can come on weekends and also we can refer patients to her and we can call her for help. We will keep her here for a couple of weeks until it is sorted out where she will go.
On Friday we had a meeting of the 6 mission hospitals in our Province and we were the hosts. We had 17 people that came and 9 spent the night. They arrived for tea in the morning, we had our meeting and then they went to tour the hospital while I started dinner for 15 people. We had a braii—steak on the BBQ and Cheryl helped me to cook.

After dinner we had our Friday prayer time and then a movie for all. The next morning we had 15 people for French toast for breakfast! The people left about 8:00 a.m. and Cheryl and I and Dr. Kajese went to the hospital to make rounds and by 1 p.m. we were home for lunch and a nap!
This past week our X-ray person was at a workshop and his back-up replaced him. The back-up, a nurse aide, was on nights, so when the electricity came on at night he took the X-rays. One morning we found he had taken 5 X-rays of a guy who had no lung on his right side because of fluid. We asked why he took 5 films and he said he couldn’t see clear on the right side so he thought he had made a mistake so he kept taking X-rays thinking it would clear up on that side! We wish it were that easy-ha!

We are happy that our construction projects are progressing. The Pediatric extension is up to roof level and now they have started on the nurses /trauma room. The X-ray room is almost finished and the electrician has brought power to it!

We had our first big rain storm of the year this afternoon at noon. We had 2 inches of rain in about 1 hour and lots of noise from thunder and a lot of lightening, with a close hit in the yard of the hospital that made all of us jump! We are thankful for the start of our rainy season and pray this will be a good one with enough food for everyone this year. At least it cooled us down after a week of 118-119 degree weather every day--for the last 2 nights we pulled a blanket up during the night to sleep--it got down to high 70's at night instead of low 90's!

Our new cellphone service went off line on Wednesday and it has not been back since--so much for having phone service! So if you have been trying to call us, there has been no coverage.