We were sorry to bid farewell to our good friends John and Stephanie Woodman and their granddaughter Zoe on the 17th of August. They were a big help to us and we enjoyed a lot of good times together. We know we will see them back here again. Zoe will have a lot to share when she gets back to school about where she spent her summer. We welcomed 2 doctors from Alice Springs, Australia on the 15th of August when Michelle Withers and Sonia Twigg joined us. They are on the start of a 10 week African adventure that will take them from Zimbabwe to Botswana to Nambia and South Africa. Michelle came as a med student (from London) here in 1998 and has been back several times but it has been 12 years since she was last here. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived here until she was 14 so she has a drawing to here. I have visited her 3 times when she lived in Sydney. Her parents are the directors of our UK Trust in London. We were happy to welcome them and they made rounds with our doctors, did some Echos with our ultrasound and enjoyed participating in a rural hospital in Zimbabwe. They spent 3 nights at Rhino Camp and enjoyed the animals! On the 18th of August Major went to town and came home with a new to us, used LandRover. It was in very good condition and something we definitely need here on our terrible roads. As is our tradition we welcomed the vehicle at the hospital with songs of praise and a prayers for it to be used for God here and for safety to all who ride in it. All the staff and patients joined in. On Wednesday after work Major and I traveled to Batanai (our rural home) for an all night ladies meeting. Their were 80+ women from 5 churches in that area that came. It started with dinner (sadza, veges and goat) and then lots of singing, dancing, praise and worship and then a message from Mrs. Mereki and testimonies all night until 430 a.m. when they had tea and departed for home. They used my new kitchen (tsaka) for the meeting and everyone fit! I left about 11 to come home and sleep for work the next day but 2 of the ladies stayed up all night and worked the next day too! It was really a fun time. They started the foundation for my house at Batanai this week and we hope by next week it may be ready for the roof. We want to be able to spend the night there with my next guests who are coming. We have had a Bible College student from Batanai working at the hospital during his school holiday. Regis is a cousin to Major and he has just finished his first year of 3 years at Bible College and he helped by doing devotions at the hospital, visiting patients in the wards and masasa (waiting mothers shelters) and helped in the kitchen when needed. We wish him well as he returns for another year of studies in Harare. Our 2 Australian doctors leave us early Tuesday morning so we will drive into Harare on Monday afternoon and see them off and then welcome 3 more visitors the same evening! Life is never dull here! Come and find out for yourself!
It has been a busy week as usually at Chidamoyo. On August 1st our ART team at the hospital went off for our every other month ART (AIDS drugs) clinic at Nyamutora. This site is in a research program sponsored by Stanford University in CA and a group in Harare. We have about 110 people in our project so far and the first results show that 96% of our people there have non-detectable viral loads. This means their medicines are working and they are taking them well! This was a surprising result as most other results in Zimbabwe have shown a 25% or more failure rate of medication! We are happy for these people and will continue over the next 1 1/2 years to follow them.
On the evening of the 1st of August good friends of Chidamoyo, John and Stephanie Woodman from Panama (via Maine) and their 15 year old granddaughter, Zoe from Colorado arrived to join us for 17 days. Stephanie is an OR Nurse and she helping to teach our staff some things. They arrived in time to help with month end reports and put together some shelving for use in the hospital. Stephanie and Zoe spent Friday cleaning up our scrub room and organizing it better! This is Stephanie’s 5th trip and John’s 4th trip with us. We are always thankful for their support!
On Friday as we were heading home from work a 9 month pregnant woman who stays in our Waiting Mothers Shelter came crying in my office to say she lost her cellphone down the toilet (we have pit toilets at Msasa). I went with a guard and one of our maintenance men to see how we could help and it turns out there is a hollow ledge of cement in the shower between the shower and the toilet and she had put her phone up on the ledge to shower and it fell down. When I called the phone it was way at the bottom of this brick wall. The maintenance department dug a hole in the shower wall and with some digging pulled out the phone for 1 happy lady and the other masasa women cheering! All a part of our work. Major saved the lady's phone number in my phone under the name "phone in Toilet!"
On Saturday I made a trip in and out to Harare with Major and his wife Patience. A 5 hour each way trip is a killer but we had obligations on Sunday so we left at 6:00 a.m. and got home at midnight the same day! Of course I got called to do anesthesia for a C/Section at 0330 a.m before we left, which added to my fatigue!
We have been talking about selling our flat in Harare and we have been working with a relator who found a new development that is being built with 8 townhouses. We went to look and were so impressed. With all of our visitors in and out it is a perfect fit for what we need and there is a borehole (well) for the units which has been our major problem at our current place--no water most of the time. The units will be guarded 24 hours a day which is good since we don’t live their full time. The units will be ready in March next year. The one we looked at is almost done and it is beautiful! We are praying and seeing if we can get financing. We were happy while in Harare to meet up for lunch with old friends, Dave and Becky Altman who had just arrived this past week to teach at the Bible College for this term. They left Zimbabwe in 1997 after 10+ years of service here at the Bible College. They have been a big help to us when Major is traveling in the US to get him to our supporting church in Michigan from their home in Ft. Wayne, IN. They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June, retired, sold their home in Ft. Wayne and hope to settle near Indianapolis near kids and grandkids after they finish here in mid-December. We had a wonderful few hours catching up and visiting. Major and Patience were both students under them at the Bible College when they graduated in 1991 from Zimbabwe Christian College. John and Stephanie and Zoe went off to Rhino Camp for 3 nights and days of safari on Friday and will be back Monday. Monday and Tuesday are holidays here and so hopefully the hospital will stay quiet and we can work half days and get a bit of rest and time to catch up at home! The holidays are our Memorial Day holidays.