Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Boxing Day--December 26th

Well it’s the 26th and holiday here.  Had to go to work this morning until 1 p.m. and now trying to catch up with work at home before dinner.  A whole afternoon off yeah!

On the 23rd (Sunday evening) the youth put on a drama of the Christmas story and also we sang and read scripture too.  It was a nice service.

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve without staff Christmas party which started at lunch at 1 p.m.  We had over 75 people attend out of 92 staff so we were happy for the good turnout.  It rained on and off lightly during the party but our canopies helped to keep us dry.  We ate a big meal of beef, chicken, rice, coleslaw and gravy and chocolate cake for dessert.  I got up at 5 a.m. to make 4 cakes and the icing!

We had some dancing and games and then gave out the bags of groceries for all the staff to enjoy a good Christmas.  Each staff member got 2 kg flour, 1 kg rice, 1 bottle cooking oil, 1 bottle Mazoe drink, 1 long bar of laundry soap and socks, cap and 2 T-shirts and 2 cups.  They were so happy!

Christmas Eve night the Mereki family came over to open gifts and have dessert with Cheryl and me.  We had a great time and everyone was happy with what they got!

Christmas I was up early to start cooking for brunch.  We had church at 9 a.m. and then all were invited to have tea and bread at the hospital.  We didn’t have as many people as usual as it started to rain just as the service started at the hospital.  We used our canopy to keep the preacher dry.

Then at 12 I had Mereki family, Cheryl and Dr. Kabanzi and family.  He had a young sister and a nephew visiting—so there were 11 of us to eat.  We had a big downpour that started at 11 a.m. and even though the electricity went on and off a couple of times—it came back on at 1 p.m. just when we finally sat down to eat.  The rain let up and we were able to take all the food to my outdoor dining room and eat!  Then spent the rest of the day napping, watching movies and doing dishes!

This morning the electricity was still on so got 3 loads of laundry out before I went to work!  Yeah!  This afternoon it is sunny one minute and the next thunder and lightning!  A storm is on the way.  We got 50 ml yesterday which was quite a storm.  We are happy that crops are growing well now!

I hope all of you had a great Christmas and enjoyed some time with your family and had some time to relax!  Looking forward to a great New Year!
Mary and Joseph in the drama on Sunday night

Youth Group sings on Sunday night

Playing games at staff Christmas party
Major plays Father Christmas
Staff at party
Staff receiving groceries for Christmas
 Opening gifts with the Mereki family on Christmas Eve
 Carolyn, Patience, Juliet on Christmas Eve
 Me opening gufts
 Major leading singing in the rain on Christmas morning
Christmas morning church service--in the rain!

 Mereki family Christmas morning
Having tea and bread after Christmas church
Christmas Brunch at my house

Almost Christmas

It is the Friday before Christmas and all through the hospital not a creature has been stirring only a few rats…No ZESA for 5 days and we wait with baited breathe for that flash of light to tell us Father Christmas has blessed us with a cold fridge that will hold all that Christmas dinner!

Last week we saw Rick and Sue Hahn off on Sunday from Harare.  We went in on Thursday night and had an African adventure to get to Harare.  We got as far as Magunje (on the tar road) and had a flat tire—a tire that was supposedly “fixed” before we left.  We quickly changed it and when we put the spare tire on-it was also low.  We rushed to Karoi (30 kms away) to get the tires fixed and found out the spare did have a puncture too!  So we waited while they hand repaired both tires—then we were on our way to Harare!  We got there at about 10 p.m. and fell into bed!

Friday night 12 of us went to the annual Christmas pantomime.  This is a Christmas tradition here, put on especially for kids.  They have the female main role played by a male and the male lead role by a female.  There is a lot of local humor and they give out sweets and things to the audience.  We had a great time.  Major and family and their cousins, Dr. Kajese and wife, Rick and Sue and Cheryl our friend Sylvia from Harare and me had a great time.

We then spent the rest of the weekend shopping and eating out!  What fun that was!  We had left Chidamoyo with no electricity for 5 days and it finally came back there Friday night while we were gone. 

On our drive home on Sunday we hit heavy rain and one of our nearby townships, Mudzimu, was like driving through a rocky river bed it was so flooded!  It took us almost 3 hours to drive from Karoi to home!  When we got near home it was dry and dusty!  We were so disappointed!  Then it started to rain that night and we have had good rain every day all week.  Thanks for the prayers!

Since the rain started Sunday night it knocked out power during the night.  We can’t seem to have rain and power at the same time!   So this week I haven’t been able to do laundry or much to catch up for Christmas.  We called today and they thought they “might” get the problem fixed today!

Since it has been raining there have been less patients in the ward and outpatients and people want to be discharged for Christmas—so we will do major kicking out today! Everyone is anxious to work in their fields and get planted now that the ground is so wet!

Wednesday night we had our Christmas caroling and we had a big crowd—we spent 2 hours going through the hospital wards and outpatient housing, waiting mother shelters and staff housing, singing our Christmas carols in Shona. We gave out sweets and wished everyone a Merry Christmas!

Hope to be cooking tomorrow and preparing for Christmas Eve snacks and presents with Cheryl and the Mereki family.  Christmas after church in the morning we will have dinner for 12 people at lunchtime.  I have a big ham ready to go!  No turkey here!  Then we collapse and the 26th is a holiday too—yeah!

We are planning a trip to go away around January 1-5 with the Mereki family.  They all have passports now so we are thinking South Africa or somewhere outside the country—we will see!  The kids are excited.  Michael awaits his A level results.

Some sad news has developed over the last couple of weeks that my oldest sister, Carol, has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer.  She is very ill and hospice has been called in.  We are thankful to these dedicated nurses who help families in time of such great need. She lives in Reno, NV.  Please keep her and her family as they deal with this, in your prayers.

Dr. Kajese celebrating his 29th Birthday!
 Denise saying goodbye to staff
Rick and Say saying goodbye to staff

Michael, Nancy, Christine and Carolyn at the pantomime
Rick eating lunch before leaving with a monkey overhead
Good rains ahead!
Caroling at hospital and around
A very Merry Christmas for all of you!  I pray you will have a great time celebrating the birth of our Savior so many years ago!  Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth and Good Will towards all mankind!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas is coming!

We have been busy praying for rain the last 2 weeks.  We had a very unusually hot November and no rain.  No one was able to plow or plant at all!  On the 27th of November we had 24 hours of prayer with people from church and the hospital signing up to pray for 15 minutes to cover the whole 24 hours—that is 96 people!  Juliasdale congregation where Gladys goes to church joined us.  We received our first big rain on the 26th and it rained more on the 27th.  This week we had rain from Monday evening through Sat—at least a little bit each day.  People are busy plowing in their fields and planting now.  They are happy not so depressed now that it looks like the rainy season has finally arrived.  Keep praying it will be a good season so that people will have enough to eat.

We received some wonderful news this week that our application to Beit Trust—a UK based organization was successful in getting $20,000 for the construction of a new borehole.  Our UK trust is kicking in another $8,000 so we hope to start on it immediately!  We are so thankful to Mike Withers of our UK trust who God used to sit next to the right person at dinner back in March who told him to apply for this grant!  God is good!

We also had installed a battery backup system for the hospital and my house the end of November.  Although it still has a few kinks we are thankful to Friends of Chidamoyo and Floret Khosa who provided funding for this project.  It is making a big difference in our lives.  We have had many hours without electricity due to the rains starting and blowing power poles over.  We wonder if it is possible to have rain and electricity at the same time and we are not sure of that answer yet!

Jordan Smetzer left on the 28th of November after 5 months with us.  She helped with many projects at the hospital and we are thankful for her work with us and wish her well as she starts college at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Oregon in January.

The Christmas decorations are up—it took several days this year to get them all up but they are up and the lights are shining!  We have many activities planned for the Christmas season starting on 18-December.
                                                      Putting the battery back up in
                                                                      Christmas 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thank you UK supporters

While I was in the US for medical care we received delivery of a brand new Holland tractor.  Donated by supporters of  our UK Trust we were overwhelmed by their generosity.

We have never had a brand new tractor to help us with the work here.  The tractor is so important in hauling water when we can't pump enough; in bringing firewood for cooking; in hauling pitsand and supplies for our building projects; and ploughing for our hospital field.

We are so thankful for this genrous donation and the big help to our work.  It has already been put to good use and working hard!

We have also finished up our Pediatric extension and our nurses station!  It seemed like it took a long time but we are so thankful for these new buildings which are already being put to good use.  One side of the nurses station is our new recovery room.  All patiens from theater come straight to here for more monitored care.

We are finishing up putting the ceiling board  in the Nurse's station and we will be done.

We finally have enough beds for all our pediatric patients and no one has been on a matress on the floor since we opened the ward in July.

We are thankful for AS HE IS USA and for UK Trust that put up most of the money for these projects.  We also are thankful to others who helped us to finish up the projects.  Sebastopol Rotary Club bought new beds for us and Sebastopol Christian Church VBS paid for all of the painting and boarder paper on the walls in both the Pediatric rooms and the Nurses station.  they also helped with beds!  Thank you to all of our generous donors and supporters!
The new tractor arriving on lorry

Mr. Mereki, Administrator taking delivery and trying it out!

The maintenance crew checking out the New Holland tractor
The new Pediatric extension
The new pediatric wards
 The Pediatric ward from outside
The new Nurses station building
 Recovery Room
 Nurses Desk and treatment room


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

On Monday Stephanie, Judy and Denise and Jordan (4 of our visitors) went out to help with Well Baby Clinic where we give vaccinations to under 5’s.  It turned out to be a very busy clinic and they did not get home until after 4 p.m.!  They were very exhausted and dirty!

On Tues Judy and Denise volunteered to go for ART outreach clinic.  This is a very busy clinic and they helped to do all the weights and handing out of medicines!  They got back about 5 p.m. very tired!

On Thursday Denise volunteered to go for an ART outreach clinic 2 hours from here.  She is a nursing student from Finland and getting lots of experience in community health.

On Thursday Sylvia and Chuck left for Gweru to say goodbyes to Sylvia’s family.  They meet up with the other 4 visitors on Sunday in Harare and the 6 of them go to The Hide on safari in Hwange Game Park and then 4 nights in Victoria Falls before they all leave for home.

John and Jim finished the shelving and desk units in the new nurses’ station.  It really looks great and the men have started on putting the ceiling in.  We are so thankful for this big addition. 

Living in a foreign country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving gives us a chance to celebrate when we choose.  Since Thursday the 22nd of November is not a holiday here we don’t have time to cook a big meal after work all day.  This year we all agreed to celebrate on the 16th—6 days early for the US but just the right day for us.

We had 7 American visitors( and 2 of us Americans who live here)  this year and we wanted to do it before 4 of them left.  We gave everyone an assignment to cook something, while my cook roasted 3 chickens and carrots and I made the dressing when I got home from work. Our final menu was 3 roasted chickens, green bean casserole, yams with marshmallows, roasted carrots,  dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and olives.  For dessert 4 pumpkin pies, 1 apple pie and 1 apple and peach pie!  We had 9 Zimbabweans and 1 Finnish citizen who shared our meal with us—so we had 19 for dinner.  We all ate and got very full!  The 3 medical students who are on rotation with us here from  University of Zimbabwe Medical School in Harare went back 3 times!  They can eat!  Not many leftovers!

Of course our electricity went out at 4 p.m. when it looked like a big storm was going to hit—so we did all with a gas stove and flashlights!  We are still out of electricity and it is Saturday afternoon and hot.  Looks like a good day to jump in the swimming pool!
Chuck and Sylvia Brown

Denise and Stephanie drawing CD4's

Stephanie and John drawing CD4's
 Stephanie, Jim and John sorting pills for ART clinic
 Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

On Safari with 12

On Sunday of this past week (4th of Nov) 11 of us left for Rhino Camp off Lake Kariba.  We drove to Kariba and took a boat for 1 hour to reach there.  Of course on the way one vehicle broke down and we waited an hour for another vehicle to come and change with us!

We enjoyed 3 nights at Rhino camp and yes some of the group saw a Rhino.  That is always exciting since it is an extremely endangered animal.  We spent time riding and in the boat to see animals.  Rick, Major, Sylvia and Jordan spent time fishing and getting some bream for us to eat for breakfast!

On Monday morning Denise Bloomqvist joined us.  Denise is a student nurse from Finland and flew in Sunday and our driver brought her from Harare on Monday morning to join us on the safari.  She found us by doing an internet search and we are happy to have her with us for the next 6 weeks.  She was so excited to see a lot of elephants up close!  Our last breakfast there one of the elephants decided to join us and came up right behind us while we were eating!  Everyone got a bit nervous and Major a lot nervous!

On the boat ride to Kariba going home—our boat broke down and the other one ran out of fuel.  We gave the other boat fuel and they continued on with 9 of the people while John, Jim and I stayed with the floating boat until they returned.  We got so hot we jumped into the lake and swam for awhile!  We felt safe from Crocs since we were out in the middle where it was deep!  The other boat returned and got us to shore and we travelled home.  It was 110 degrees that day in Kariba!

We got back on Wednesday evening in time to cook dinner and get to Bible Study.  Our electricity had come back on Sunday evening and was staying on almost 24 hours a day.  After hot Kariba with no fans and no ice it was great to be home and enjoy those things again!

We had a busy rest of the week and on Thursday night we had a powerful thunder and lightning storm with 12 mls of rain.  Of course our electricity kept going on and off and when the storm ended our electricity was at ½ power for about 8 hours until they got it going again.  We are thankful for a good week of power.  We caught up on the washing and our freezers are frozen—yeah--ice cubes!

I am now cooking for 12 for the next couple of weeks which keeps me busy planning and cooking with the help of my cook.  We are very dry and praying for more rain soon!  People are busy plowing but no one has planted yet as it is very dry.  Keep praying for good rains!
On Saturday afternoon we gave clothing to our ministers and their wives and children.  They make very little money and we try and help them  with clothing.  We are thankful for people who donate clothes to be sent in the container.  Sylvia Brown and Sue Hahn spent hours sorting through all the clothes and organizing and getting clothes ready for all of them.  We are thankful for their hard work.
 Elephants from our rooms
 Nothing better than a Kariba sunset
Sylvia and a Bream she caught!
 African lawnmower--a hippo!
 Mom and baby elephant
Our group with our guides

Ministers and families picking out their clothes