Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rain is coming!

This past week we had 2 days of  rain--17 mls and 5 mls-- so we hope this is the start of our rainy season.  Of course as soon as the wind picked up, our electricity which had been out for 10 days and came back for 5 days--died again!  It has been 4 days without and we figure they will get it fixed in time for the next storm to knock it out!  Such is life here!

We have really had a hot October.  Most days are up to 110+ and only down to low 80's at night, so without a fan when we have no electricity it is hard to sleep well.  I spent one night on the cement floor because it was cooler.

Last week we had visitors arrive on Thursday from Bulawayo to hold a meeting for 20 local teachers.  They were from Family Impact, a Christian group that teaches teachers how to promote the family and good self image in their teaching.  They did many games and exercises with the teachers to teach them new ways to use in their classrooms.  It was very fun and exciting and all went away thankful for this 2 day workshop.  We had the trainers with us for 3 nights and they left early Sunday morning to return to Bulawayo.

Our visitors from home: Wendy, Sharon, Jill and Shenina left Monday morning for Harare with Major.  They had a day to shop and then flew off on Tuesday morning to see animals in Hwange and to see Victoria Falls.   Cheryl and I will pick them up at the airport on Monday night when they return and have a day with them before they leave for the US.  We did give them a bad time that the electricity was off most of the time they were here so maybe they brought us the bad luck.

We have been fighting water problems with pumps and pipes in our boreholes breaking.  Major bought a new pump and parts and they are busy putting it all in today. This time of the year before the rains really start it is always a hard time for water as the water table is low and we use more water for drinking and to keep cool in this hot weather!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Visitors from Home

On October 12th our visitors, Sharon, Shanena, Wendy and Jill, nurses from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in California arrived in Harare.  Dr. Kellert and I used to work at this hospital and so we were happy to welcome our friends.  Dr. Kellert went in to meet them and they spent the night at the flat in Harare and arrived here on Sunday afternoon in time for dinner.  Of course our electricity went out on the Saturday night they arrived and we never saw it again until the 22nd of October (10 days later!).

All of the nurses are Maternity and ICN nurses in my home town and we have been planning for them to come and visit for a long time.  We put them to work in delivering babies, counting pills, getting pills ready for our ART clinic, helping with immunizations and Antenatal Clinics.  They are having a great time and were very tolerable without electricity and in our heat of summer.  All week it was 110+ degrees!

They also brought suitcases of goodies from home (even See’s candy—wow) and things to give out to patients and staff.  We really appreciate all the extra things they collected and bought and brought.  It brought a lot of happiness to all!

On Thursday the 17th we took off for 3 nights on safari at Rhino Camp on Lake Kariba.  We had a wonderful time and saw lots of animals.  We even saw 9 lions come to drink and walk a long the shoreline.  We were so happy.  We had a choppy boat ride back to Kariba before we arrived home Sunday evening.

This week we were again busy in the hospital.  Monday just as we were going home from work we had a C/Section.  We finally got home to eat at 7:30 p.m.  Three of the ladies had gone out for Immunization clinic at 2 places and one was our baby nurse for the C/Section.  That day our borehole (the only functioning one) broke down and it was so hot and no water!  We are really making them appreciate the small conveniences in life taken for granted in the US!  I jumped into the pool before bed to cool off since we had no electricity and no fan!

Tuesday we woke up to cloudy weather and it was cool all day—only up to 85!  That is a big drop of 25 degrees and we loved it!  Today we woke up to clouds and our first rain of the season.  Of course rain brought an electricity fault but they are working on it as it is affecting Karoi too (yeah—if it involves them they work on it faster)!  The hospital work was not so busy today since people didn’t want to come out in the rain.  It was a nice break and allowed us to catch up on some office work today.

We got word that a container from Sebastopol Christian Church was on its way to us today.  We hope with the rain it won’t get stuck a long the way.  We are anxious to see the goodies it has brought.  We are so thankful to Sue and Gene Beckstead who spend hours sorting through medical equipment, packing it, storing suppliers in their garage and packing the container.  It is such a big help to us!
Cheryl, Sharon, Jill, Wendy, Shenena
Eating lunch at Rhino Camp

 On the boat to Rhino Camp
Kariba sunset--Jill, Wendy, Sharon, Shenena,Cheryl

Shenena, Sharon, Henry (our guide) Jill, Cheryl, Kathy and Wendy

 Group saying goodbye at hospital
Look at those beautiful lions!
A beautiful Kariba sunset

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Busy end of September

Wow this has been a busy last half of September!  On September 15th I left Chidamoyo at 6 a.m. to get to Harare in time to visit Marcia Kay Thomson, one of our missionaries from Masvingo who had been in the hospital for cancer surgery and had some complications.  I went to see what was going on with her and was able to get her up and walking when I visited.  Spent the next 2 days visiting her twice a day to get her up and going.  While there, friend Zebedee Togarepi came for some minor surgery and ended up 2 days in another hospital in Harare—so I ran between hospitals to visit both of them.  Both were doing much better when I had to leave Harare.

On Monday evening I met up with Dr. Ivirn Zimudzi, our doctor here from 2008-2011.  He is now a doctor in Namibia and was home visiting family for a few days.  It was great to see him and hear about his work.

On Tuesday the 17th, Gladys Jongling and I left for Bulawayo and spent the night there and the next day (18th) pick up fellow missionary JoAnne Martin and travelled on to Victoria Falls for an All Africa Missionary Conference at the A ‘Zambezi Lodge.  A beautiful hotel on the banks of the Zambezi River. 

This conference is held every 2 years and has been in Kenya for the last 10 or so years, so we were happy it was close to drive to.  A group from a church in Jonesboro, Arkansas came to present the program.  On Wednesday night we all went to the Boma Restaurant to eat.  The Boma has warthog steak, impala and buffalo stew, crocodile tail and Mopani worms to eat.  You get a certificate for eating the worm (really a caterpillar if that makes you feel better)!  The dinner also includes a traditional singing and dance show and a drum show that all participate in.  Eighteen of us went and it was great fun.  On Thursday evening our conference began and for the next 4 days we had wonderful sermons, lessons and great fellowship and food!  The group from the US brought us gifts and each session we met there was a wonderful gift—drink mixes, chocolate, M&Ms, books, CDs of music, USB drives, and pens, even Taco seasoning!  We were so blessed.  Over 60 missionaries and kids came from 8 African countried and then 18 from the US.  One night we did a Zambezi sunset cruise.

While there Gladys celebrated her 76th and  I celebrated my 59th birthday!  We always try and go somewhere in the world to celebrate and this year it was Vic Falls!

Early on Monday morning I left with 2 visitors who had come from the US to visit other missionaries in Mozambique and then came on to spend some days with me.  We left at 7:30 a.m. and drove the Binga Road home.  This is 2 hours of tar and then 8 hours on dirt.  Paul and Melonie Fudge from Orlando, FL rode with me and helped drive, which was a real blessing.  We were home by 5:30 p.m. to meet up with 2 other guests who had arrived that afternoon, Jane and Ewan Spence from Scotland.

Jane is a newly qualified midwife and they had come to visit Zimbabwe with relatives and Ewan was born here and lived here until he was 13.  So we had 4 guests and we put them all to work.  Paul did a church seminar, did devotions in the Primary and Secondary Schools and for the Msasa women and staff. He also helped me count for our month end reports.  Melanie helped count pills, shared with the Msasa women (waiting mothers) and helped speak at the church seminar.  Jane kept busy with ANC clinics, Well Baby Clinics and deliveries while Ewan helped clean up some computers and worked on a Power Point presentation we needed for a meeting on Friday.  It was so great to have them all here.  Jane and Ewan left on Friday the 27th.

Major arrived home with no problems on the 26th of September.  I sent Dr. Kellert in with his wife and son as Dr. Kellert left for a week of meetings in London, on the same plane Major arrived on.  Major drove himself home to the flat in Harare with his wife and son that evening when he arrived.  Then on Friday I drove in with Dr. Kajese for a meeting and finally got to welcome him home after 3 months away!  We had a joyous reunion and he talked non-stop for 2 days telling me all the highlights of who he saw and what he did!

On Friday the 27th of September, Dr. Kajese and I were involved in a meeting with a group that wants to do a research project with one of our ART outreach centers to follow the patients with viral counts and genetic markers for medication we are using.  This is a very exciting project and something I never dreamed we would have in Zimbabwe.  This is the beginning of a 2 year project and we are very excited to be part of this program. This was our initial meeting to work out some of the details.  We hope to start the project in February 2014.

While in Harare we enjoyed the blooming of the Jacaranda trees.  September is always great to see all the trees in full bloom.  Many streets are lined with the trees.

On Saturday the 28th of September we started our drive home with Major and family.  We had to leave some of his luggage in Harare and some of our shopping in order to all fit in the vehicle.  We stopped in Chinhoyi on the way home to attend the wedding reception of one of our staff members, a clerk, Donny Jesinaru and his bride Sandra.

We finally got home at 9:30 p.m. with Major entertaining us all the way home with his stories and exciting things he did when gone.
Paul and Melonie Fudge stayed with us until Thursday the 3rd when they left for the US.  Dr. Kellert came back on the 4th.  Major had a busy first week back and took Fudge’s to the airport in  Harare to leave, pick up the left luggage, and do hospital shopping—so he is back on the road again!  We hardly had time to talk but slowly we are trying to catch up.  Life is back to normal at Chidamoyo!

Donny and Sandra

Jacaranda Trees line the road in Harare
Mrs. Mereki and Groom and Bride and Major Mereki

Jacaranda Trees
Ewan and Jane Spence
Paul giving devotions with Major interpreting

Paul, Melonie and Ewen counting pills