Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wanted: 1 Helicopter!

Wow, one travel over our road from Karoi and you will see why we are dreaming of a helicopter.  This is the worse it has been in 34 years I have been here.  No one has worked on it for 4 years and now with an abundance of rain this year, it is a mess.  It used to take us 1 hr and 15 minutes to Karoi our nearest town.  Now it is 2- 2 1/2 hours!  We have 2 ways to go and we can’t decide if one is better than the other.  We always say it is shorter to the tar one way so at least the agony of the first isn’t so long, so we usually choose that way!
With the rain there have been big gullies and hole that have washed away in the road--it is always a challenge.  Most of us refuse to go to town unless absolutely necessary.  It is so painful!  Major goes 2 times a week sometime!  Glad he is younger and can drink a lot of coffee/coke to keep going!
We were happy to welcome our UK Trust board members, Gillian and Mike Withers from Crowthorne, England on the 17th of March.  They created our board and do our fundraising there and help us in so many ways.  This is Gillian’s 6th visit and Mike’s 4th and we have put them to work.  Gilly is sewing blankets together and patient gowns and Mike has fixed my gas stove, hung up my mosquito net after washing (a big task), fixed Cheryl’s pipes to her house, built a book shelf for our Lab and got our guest house showers working well!
We are so thankful for their time with us and for someone to do the odd jobs that have been needed to be done!  
Major is in town to pick up 3 more visitors today and 2 more groups come before Friday!  Work continues to be busy at the hospital and we look forward to our new doctor joining us in a couple of weeks--then we can all go on holiday, right?
 Some of our "Rocky Roads"

 Mike fixing shower heads and taps

Gilly sewing patient gowns

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Chidamoyo is "Cool"!

Those of you who know us at Chidamoyo or have been here to visit with us know how “cool” we are are, but this week we got even “cooler!”  We had a new air conditioning unit put into our labortory to keep the machines cool and running.  Without the air conditioning they were shutting down because they were overheating.  So with the new air conditioner we can keep going even in our hot season.
We also put an additional air condition in our operating room and it is very cool now for our doctors operating.  This week I got to enjoy it on Friday when I had several cases to do.  I think we will be fighting to work in theater and the Lab in October during our hot days!
We are thankful for our supporters who helped us make a big change  in both departments that will help our patient care be better.  Thank you!
Our only doctor left last Saturday to attend a family wedding in South Africa, so it has been me trying to run everything and do my job and his.  Boy have I been busy!  I am at the hospital at 7 a.m. and on the go until 6:30-7:30 every night.  I come home and eat and then collapse!  It has been so busy this week.  We were praying for quiet while he was away but it hasn’t been so far.  I was calling Dr. Kajese (our doctor who left in January) in Harare to consult on some cases as he was on call in his residency program.  He was on call for our hospital and Harare hospital!  No major problems and we handled everyone here, so we are thankful for that!  Just a few more days to hang on!
We have been sent 4 new nurses to join us in the past 2 weeks and we are so thankful for new staff.  Unfortunately we are losing 3 staff already who are wishing to transfer, so we are still not gaining much.  We keep praying for more staff.  We hope these new nurses will work hard and want to work well for our patients.
Our last Ohio State University medical student, Peter Sayers,  leaves today to do some traveling around Zimbabwe before heading to South Africa and then home.  I have been keeping him busy do small operations and procedures with me and setting broken bones and sewing up lacerations.  We wish him well as he awaits “the match” coming up to know where his residency will be for the next few years.
I now get 6 days break before our next guests arrived from the U.K.  Hope to catch up on some sleep!  

 Installing air conditioners

 Inside Lab

Unit for theater being installed

 Nurses on Day Shift

Peter assisting with Dr. Kellert

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The New Laboratory Machines have arrived!

New and exciting developments are happening at the hospital.  This past week we finally got installed our Full Blood Count machine and Electrolyte machine that was donated by the Rotary Club of Sebastopol, CA.  We hope to arrange the official turnover ceremony with the Harare Rotary club this week.
Let me tell you some exciting things that happened with these machines.  We ordered and paid for the machines in early September.  They promised to delivery them in 1 month.  We waited 1 month and called, yes they are coming.  Then we kept calling every week and we would get some excuse and a promise they were on the way.
In December when we got worried they were taking us and our $25,000 for a ride we called and said they better be delivered in 2 weeks or we wanted all our money back with interest!
Within a week our machines were delivered.
Then we had to call them several times about coming to set up the machines for us and teach our Lab guy how to do them.  They finally came this Monday!
When the set-up guy came he told us that we actually got bigger and better machines because they delivered machines ordered by a private lab in Harare because our’s still hadn’t arrived from the manufacturer and they were scared of us!  Thank you God!
Then a Laboratory guy over the whole Ministry of Health came to evaluate the lab and said--how did you know to buy those machines?   When we asked what he meant he said that Ministry of Health had approved those machines and so they had the reagents only for those machines in stock at the National Pharmacy Stores and we would not have to buy the reagents but could order from there.  So he was surprised to find we had those machines out here in the bush and that we had bought the correct ones for the government to help us with reagents.  We told him “God knew” which ones we should get, as we had just picked the best ones for the money!
So for the first time in my 33 years here we can do a Full Blood Count, Electrolytes and Renal and Liver function tests!  Wow this is going to be such a big help to us!  We are so thankful for the Rotary club that provided this and that is helping us to save lives in Zimbabwe.
We had 2 medical students who arrived February 9 from Ohio State, Peter and Michael.  They joined Scott who came a week earlier.  They have been busy making rounds and seeing patients around the hospital.  We had some interesting surgeries for them to help with.  
Scott and Michael are leaving this weekend for home and Peter will be with us 1 more week before he leaves.
Rain continues and crops look so good.  Many people grew tobacco in our area for a cash crop and the first sales which started a week ago were not as high as they thought.  People were very disappointed, especially with this year being a bumper crop.  Many people keep promising to come and pay their bill when they sell their tobacco and now we wonder!
In January this year, Zimbabwe adjusted their ART program to include people with CD4’s below 500 to be started on ART (before 350) and all pregnant and breastfeeding moms.  This is keeping us so busy as we have so many people to catch up on starting, and takes up most of my day!
Last night we had a birthday party for Carolyn and Michael’s cousin, Nancy who lives with them.  She is in Form 6 at our local high school and she turned 19.  We had dinner and cake and presents.  We like parties and so we always like to celebrate birthdays!  She is in the debate team and wants to be a lawyer!  She is constantly talking so I think she is choosing the right profession in the future!
 New electrolyte machine
Installing the new machines
 Our Lab Tech reading results
Our Lab tech being taught the new machines
 Scott Erwin with his friend the Geko
Michael with the Geko

Peter helping Dr. Kellert

Happy Birthday Nancy!
Carolyn Mereki and Nancy