Today is Boxing Day here and a holiday and so thought I would share with you how our Christmas went. Ours was blessed and hope the same for you.
On Tuesday the 17th of December we started our Christmas activities off with a movie that we put on for the whole community in the courtyard of the hospital. We played “The Nativity” for over 200 people that came. We played it under the stars and it almost seemed like we were there for the birth!
The same day a group from Major’s church in Jinga came to present plates and cups they had bought for the hospital to help with the fire. Our churches have been so supportive and encouraging to us. Also one of our staff members who is a volunteer Nurse Aide made some stirring spoons for making sadza, and gave them to the hospital.
On Friday night they played another movie at the hospital but had to stop half way when the rain came thundering down! Everyone was happy for the rain so no one complained! Thirteen of us travelled from Chidamoyo to Harare to see the Pantomime. This is an annual Christmas tradition —where the leading men parts are played by females and the leading female parts by men. It is especially for kids and all kids got a package of sweets on admission and stickers and more freebies at the end. This year the story was Cinderella and the 2 ugly stepsisters were played by men and Prince Charming and his assistant were played by young women. They sing a lot and the audience really gets into it with booing and clapping. When the fairy Godmother said that all boys and girls have a fairy Godmother looking after them—some 5 year old in the audience yelled “yeah, right!” and we were all on the floor dying of laughter! We really had a great time and went to dinner afterwards.
The next day we went to a wedding of good friends whose village is near our airstrip. Raphael and Chengeto Nyamutora’s youngest son Dale married another family we know well from Mashoko—the late Kingston Sithole and his wife’s second daughter, Rumbidzai. This was the first marriage to tie Chidamoyo to Mashoko—our two mission stations, so it was a lot of fun because we knew so many people on both sides of the family. We came home late Saturday night after a great day of fun!
On Sunday morning we had church at the hospital for 5 local churches in our area. They wanted to come together and pray for the hospital after the fire. Major preached and shared information from the Dedication Day of the hospital in 1968 (he got copies of the service when home this year and visited Ziden Nutt who was the missionary who built the hospital) when the hospital was dedicated as a lighthouse to all who were sick and a promise was made to never close the doors to the sick and hurting! He brought that vision up to today when we continue to offer light to many sick and hurt people and how we never closed the hospital even when so much was burnt! God has allowed us to carry on with our mission over the past 45 years! They ended the service with an offering from all our churches that was given to help the hospital, to replace things lost in the fire
During the service, of course, a lot starting happening with our patients in the hospital. I got called for a resuscitation of an AIDS patient who had been admitted for pneumonia. When I got there he was dead and we had to wheel him out to the mortuary during the service! While I was dealing with that I got called to theater where Dr. Kajese and Dr. Kellert had been doing a C/Section for complications—the baby had died at home when the mother delayed coming to the hospital. It was arm first and could not be reduced—so they had done a C/S for a dead baby—never a good case. The operation went well and then after when we started to pull her out of anesthesia the patient suddenly threw and embolism and we tried CPR for over 1 hour with no response. We were all devastated! The patient had bled for many hours at home before arriving at the hospital. So much for a quiet Sunday morning during church at the hospital!
We got home at 2 p.m. and back at 5 p.m. for Sunday night church. Sunday nights after church usually Major’s family comes for dinner and he wanted Lasagna! So we invited Kajese’s too and had a fun evening of fellowship.
Monday the 23rd was a holiday here (Unity Day) so got to sleep in until 6:30 and then up at the hospital to do discharges. When I got home about 1 p.m I baked our Christmas ham and made 5 cakes for our staff luncheon the next day!
Tuesday we closed the outpatient clinic by 1 p.m. so we were all busy seeing patients and trying to get a full days work into a half of day. Also we were decorating and getting ready for the staff luncheon. By 1:45 p.m. we finally got to start. We served a big lunch—20 chickens, 30 pounds of meat, 100 pounds of rice, gravy, 10 cabbages for coleslaw and cake. People ate until they were so full! You can’t imagine how much food our staff can eat!
We then played games and had raffle prizes, and danced to the music! We ended with speeches by Mr. Mereki (the Administrator) and Dr. Kajese (the Medical Superintendent) thanking the staff for their hard work during the year and especially after the fire. It was only because of everyone’s hard work we could carry on with 1/3 of the hospital burnt up! We then gave each staff member a beautiful bag with flour, sugar, soap, rice, cooking oil, Mazoe (drink), a T-shirt and toothbrush. My forwarding agent Sue picks out the bags each year and sends them in a container to us—this year they all had elephants on them!
Less than 2 hours later we were back for our candlelight service in the courtyard of the hospital. We read scripture and sang Christmas carols in Shona under the beautiful African sky! It was a wonderful night. After that we went home with the Mereki family for cookies and coffee and opening presents. We had a fun time and we finished after 11 p.m.!
The next morning I was up by 5 to cook for our Christmas brunch. At 9 a.m. we had church at the hospital which included a play by the youth group. In this play when Mary was crying in labor pains, Joseph asked if she wanted any Mangos! (We have plenty this time of the year).
After church we served tea and bread with margarine and jam! People had 6-10 pieces each—they were happy! Bread and tea is always special at Christmas here!
Major and family, Cheryl and the Kajese’s’ came for brunch at noon and we ate and ate! We had French toast, Ham, Scalloped potatoes, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin, apple and banana bread, fruit salad, eggs, muffins and poppy seed cake along with cookies left over! What a great time we had! Then I napped for 2 hours and spend the rest f the evening doing dishes and cleaning up.
Tonight we have a movie at the hospital—if it doesn’t rain. Maybe even get another nap in-ha!
Donations by staff and Jinga Church
Kajese's and Carolyn Mereki (far right) with cousins at Cinderella
Dale and Rumbidzai Nyamutora wedding
Staff lunch Christmas Eve
Candlelight service Christmas Eve night
Dr. and Mrs. Kajese opening gifts Christmas morning
Christmas Brunch and all the food!