On July 2nd Bailey Lui from Seattle, Washington arrived. She came to help us with some ministry projects and helped at the hospital. She is from the same church as Cheri and Larry Gail--our Friends of Chidamoyo founders and they encouraged her to come. We have enjoyed her and her willingness to help in everything. She brought with her school uniforms donated by a school in Seattle and we gave them to Dandawa Primary School. They were excited and thankful. Their PE team performed for us in the uniforms!
We were happy to welcome back home Bruce, Tod and Amy Ammerman (Fagan) after 42 years ago leaving Chidamoyo and moving to Harare and then 37 years since they left Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia).
John and Rileigh Schunk have spent the winter (US summer) with us before leaving for Kenya. Rileigh is the daughter of Tod Ammerman. She wanted her family to come back and see Chidamoyo while she was here and so she invited her grandfather, Aunt and father to come and see her.
On the 8th of July we welcomed them back to Chidamoyo. They were only going to be here for 5 days and so we had to fit a lot in a very short time. I am living in the house that Bruce and his wife Carolyn built in 1963--so it was interesting for them to see the changes and see the yard so built up after so many years.
On Thursday we toured the hospital with them, went to a program at the Primary School--Dandawa- that Bruce built. We toured and then the school did a special program for them. When he built the school they had 200 students--they now have 950 students!
On Friday they went to Bashungwe to see the primary school he built and how it had change. They especially enjoyed the terrible road to get there.
On Saturday morning we invited all of the community who remembered him in the early days of the mission and had a special time for everyone to see him and introduce themselves and how they remembered him. We killed an oxen and cooked beef and sadza for the 175 people that came. I put all the visitors to work cutting up vegetables and serving the food. It was a wonderful day and lots of memories.
We left after the meeting with Bruce to take him to Harare so he could spend his only Sunday here, at Glen View Church of Christ in Harare which he built up from a small group meeting under a tree to a building. As we walked in the packed church there were tears of joy to see how the church has grown. They had a wonderful service and Bruce preached.
After church they had a wonderful lunch and brought him up to date on the church and how they have progressed and have started 7 churches in Harare from this congregation. What joy it was to hear how well they have done.
We left there and had to go by the house of Raphael and Chengeto Nyamutora--who had prepared another feast for us! Raphael worked with Bruce for the 6 years he was in Harare doing correspondence course work. We had to be polite and eat a little more! We travelled home very full! We got home at 10 p.m. very exhausted.
They spent Monday at the Secondary School where John and Rileigh have been working and then put up at back board and new rim and basket on the basketball court at the mission. The Secondary basketball team (just started) has been practicing there. They need some help and John has been helping them. The first question the coach asked was "how many people are on the team?"
Tuesday they took off for Rhino Camp in Kariba to see some animals. They enjoyed that and saw a lot.
Yesterday I drove into Karoi and met them coming from Kariba, with all the luggage and we came on to Harare to spend a day before they leave tomorrow morning. Bailey is with them and she leaves tomorrow too!
It has been a very quick and busy trip, but it has been wonderful to have them all here!
Preschool presenting at school program Dandawa Primary School
It was with great sadness that we learned late Sunday evening that our good friend, Mike Withers died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 67 years. Mike and his wife Gilly established Chidamoyo UK Trust and have worked tirelessly for years raising money for many projects at Chidamoyo Christian Hospital. Mike and Gilly have come on many visits to Chidamoyo to work and help us in so many ways. They were here last year in March and he spent lots of time working on plumbing, fixing things here and there that we gave him to do. He put my complicated mosquito net up again after I took it down to wash it! His work suit is still in my closet for his next planned trip here. They even brought 2 other couples with them on a visit to have a working vacation in Zimbabwe. We put them all to work and they accomplished a lot in the weeks they were with us. Mike was quick of wit, always cheerful, had a smile on his face and loved being in Zimbabwe. He grew up his whole life in Zimbabwe and he and Gilly lived here until their oldest daughter Michelle turned 14 and they moved to England for better educational opportunities for Michelle and their son Chris. They welcomed Major and me into their homes several times in our trips passing through the UK and used us to speak to groups that so generously donated to Chidamoyo. Mike was a compassionate Christian who was very active in his local parish and with his Catholic men’s fellowship group. He visited people in many countries who belonged to the same fellowship. He also loved to watch cricket and even though he tried to explain that game to me several times, it still made no sense to my American brain!( I am sure he is trying to explain it to God in heaven right now). He loved football (soccer) and was happy to watch the league finals when he was here one time—staying up quite late to watch. We are truly heartbroken and will greatly miss this wonderful man, husband and father. We send our deepest sympathy and love to Gilly, Michelle and Sonia and Chris and Kirsty. He touched many lives and made this earth a better place for many of us through his friendship. We can’t wait to meet him again in heaven someday.
The container that was ready in January and got delayed because of the Longshoreman strike--finally arrived here at 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning! We were so excited. They took hardly anytime to unload it and then we couldn't wait to open it and get things out.
We found tape and foleys and IV cannulas and gauze, gloves--all things we have been buying for the last several months. We were about ready again to buy some more and the container came just in time to stock us up! We PTL for all the people who donated medical supplies and especially Sue and Gene Beckstead who go and collect all of it, store it in their garage and then pack it into the container. There is never an inch of space unused in our containers!
This week turned out to be busy at the hospital as we prepared for the surgeon from Harare, Mr. Chihaka and our anesthesiologist, Dr. Kajese to arrive on Friday for surgeries. We booked several people and got ready 2 rooms to operate in so we could move faster.
On Wednesday night the group of visitors here (Rachel, John and Rileigh) got back from their Victoria Falls trip bringing with them a new visitor, April who is an RN from Kansas. They all had a wonderful trip away and saw and did a lot.
Then Thursday our driver went in to get another young lady from Seattle, Bailey whose plane got delayed several hours. She finally arrived here at 1 a.m. Friday! Having not slept for 2 days straight we allowed her to sleep in and she finally came to the hospital about noon on Friday. In the afternoon I had them unpacking and sorting things that had come in our container.
Friday night the doctors from Harare arrived and we fed them dinner at 9:30 p.m. and sent them off to rest before starting at 05:30 a.m. the next day. They worked so hard with our 2 doctors, 2 nurses, 2 nurse aides and 2 visitors. I made rounds on the inpatients and got them out of the way so our 2 doctors could be in theater. They ended up doing 5 abdominal surgeries, 4 other surgeries which was a lot for one surgeon to do in 1 day.
At lunchtime I had to run to a funeral for a long standing member of our church--Ambuya Toro. She was 101 years old when she died. The funeral was attending by most of the community and a great celebration of a long time church member. She had such bad arthritis, but she always walked the 3 kms to church and back each Sunday until about 3 years ago when she became bed bound.
They finally finished just after 6 p.m. and quickly came and ate 4th of July BBQ with us. We had steak sandwiches, hot dogs, potato salad, cole slaw, pumpkin casserole, corn casserole, baked beans and buns. We had carrot cake for dessert. They were in a hurry to get back to Harare that night.
As they went to leave one of the patients they operated on started having some bleeding. They checked her and felt she was ok--then in Karoi called and decided to come back and open her again (our roads are so bad--this was dedication by these doctors!). So at 11:30 p.m. they arrived back and finished by 12:30 a.m. They came to get something more to eat at my house and then Dr. Kajese went back to do the anesthesia for our doctor who had to do a C/Section! He got to bed after 2 a.m. and they were up at 4 a.m. to go back to Karoi and then on to Harare. Our driver who drove them the first time to Karoi also drove them again at 4 a.m. and got back in time to attend church here. I saw him dozing he was exhausted too! Everyone is totally exhausted today but all patients are doing well! We are so thankful for this service which allows patients to get surgeries they could never afford in Harare. These doctors donate their time to come and help us, all of this for free. We book so many people it isn't an easy day for them. We are so thankful to them.
We had 12 people for our 4th of July BBQ and we all enjoyed it. Everyone had to wear red-white-blue to celebrate with us #239 years of Independence! We put off a few fireworks we had left over from NY Eve. Then we sat around the fire to enjoy keeping warm--it was down to 55 last night--mid-winter for us!
Unpacking the container
Container on truck that brought it
Major helping to unload the container
Bailey and John and Rileigh unpacking some goodies from the container
Dr. Chihaka teaching Dr. Isala
Surgery team with April helping
Daughter in laws bringing the pots of water to the burial site