Monday, November 28, 2016


This week we have been busy unpacking the container in between seeing patients and on Thursday night we started some heavy rain that has continued through today (Monday). We have had almost 3 inches of rain in the past 3 days and more on the way.  The greatest gift is it cooled us down and this morning it was down to 72F at 630 a.m. when I ate breakfast instead of 85F it has been.  What a relief!

Saturday and Sunday people were out in their fields plowing and planting.  It is the official start of our rainy season and we pray it will be a great year!

Saturday we had our support group for kids ages 10-15 with AIDS.  The counsellors spend time having them draw a tree of life to find out what they like, what they want to grow up to be and any problems they are having living with AIDS.  We had 38 kids who came even though it was raining hard.  They also got their meds refilled and we gave them some tea, bread and eggs eat.  They seem to really appreciate this group.  We have time to pray for them and sing and have a devotion.  We have them come every 2 months.

Sunday we went to church at Katche-Katche--about 2 hours away west from us. It was lightly rainy as we went and many people were out in their fields.  It was so beautiful to see green and the trees had almost Fall colors in places with the red and green (maybe Christmas colors?).

We took over 30 youth, crowded into 3 trucks-- from Jinga this time to encourage the church and they kept everyone singing and dancing.  We started church at 1 p.m. and didn't leave until almost 4:30 p.m.

On the way back we crossed several small rivers and Carolyn (Major's daughter) and her cousin Nancy walked a few of them for us to see how deep they were. 

 Michael flew home from school in South Africa and he drove us.  We got to the last river and it was overflowing and about 5 feet deep.  No way we could cross that by vehicle or walking.  There was another car there who had been waiting for an hour and then we noticed the river was rising not going down so we made the decision to go around another way and hope those rivers were not overflowing.  We made it and it added about 1 hour to the trip home--all 3 of our vehicles made it home by 7:30 p.m.  A long day but fun and very exhausting!

 Rain at hospital on Friday

 Support group kids doing their drawing

Runga, our counsellor working with the kids

 Kids singing

 People out plowing

 Trees in colors

 Jinga kids leading the singing and dancing

Women singing special music

Greeting people after church 

 Major and men singing and dancing after church

 Crossing one of the easy rivers

 Girls checking out one of the smaller rivers we crossed

 River we couldn't cross

Cars lined up to cross the river!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pediatric AIDS conference, Harare

This week I was invited to speak on behalf of ZACH (Zimbabwe Association of Church Hospitals) at an International Pediatric AIDS conference.  The theme was “Start Free, Be Free, and Stay Free.”  I presented preliminary studies of our research project looking at 307 kids in our area and how well they are doing on drugs.

We are proud to say that we have had not one baby born to an HIV positive mom this year that was positive so far this year.  The government has set this as their goal for 2020 and we have already reached it!

The conference was a good time to see many old friends and talk to other people working in the field.  We were the only hospital that presented as all of the other presentations were from NGOs doing work in the country.

The conference was all day Thursday and Friday and so Major and I came in Wednesday so he could pick up a truck we had in the shop here.  He picked it up and called me 15 minutes later and said he had only made it about 5 miles from the shop and it broke down.  They came and towed the truck back to the shop and Major spent the night and took my Jeep home on Thursday morning and is coming back tomorrow to try and pick up the fixed truck again!  Then we will both head for home.

Friday night I had dinner with Dr. David Katzenstein from Stanford and his colleagues to discuss our research.  Also Dr. Megan Fitzpatrick had been to Chidamoyo for 2 days while I was in town setting up her research project so she came with Matt and we got to hear about her time at Chidamoyo.

Saturday and Sunday I worked on cleaning and sorting at my townhouse and shopping.  Actually having time to go row by row instead of the usual rush.

Today I went out to get things for the hospital and get my veges so that after I see my doctor in the morning I can take off for home!  We have had a couple of hours of rain here since I came which is nice, as I got to plant some more plants in the yard and they got a good soaking from the rain the same night!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone this week!  Enjoy and have lots of turkey for me.  We hope to have ours next week after Michael gets back from school on Friday this week!  He always complains he misses it—so we will do it late for him!  No turkey here so we eat chicken!

 AIDS Conference in Harare

 Mrs. Chitimberi from ZACH telling how much mission hospitals are doing towards the fight against AIDS


 Planting new flowers and plants at the townhouse in Harare

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Busy week

This week has been a busy week with lots going on!  

On Monday we continued a tradition we have at Chidamoyo of blessing cars whenever someone gets a new to them car.  Dr. Isala bought a car for his wife--a Jeep Cherokee and so we went to bless it with singing and prayer.  It is always a special time and a time for us to share in their joy!

On Tuesday Major and I drove to town.  I needed to see my doctor and we had a lot of running around to do.  We split up into 3 cars as our driver had pulled in one of our cars that needed a new oil pump.  We got everything done before the stores closed at 5 p.m.!  The beautiful Flamboyant trees were blooming bright orange and were so beautiful--as the Jacaranda's fade the Flamboyant's take their place.

Wednesday a new container arrived from Sebastopol, CA  and we got it unloaded off the truck without any problems.  We are so happy to receive it and by Thursday we had started to unload it a bit and have started sorting all the medical equipment.  We are so thankful to those who donate, pack and save things for us and for Lynn and Sylvia who sort some of the medical goods for us and for Sue and Gene who do all the picking up, sorting, having their garage always in use by Chidamoyo and packing the container.  We are so thankful for all who help us getting this container here for us to help our patients.  Our doctors and staff get so excited with all the new things we so desperately need.

Also Wednesday we started the day with a woman who came in by ambulance bleeding at 8 months pregnant, proceeding to deliver a stillborn and then continued to bleed and bleed.  We took her into theater to try and stop the bleeding.  We gave her 2 units of blood and still couldn't stop the bleeding.  The doctors decided to transfer her for a hysterectomy but the patient had stopped breathing on us twice and we all knew she was not going to make it the 3 hours to Chinhoyi for further care.  After much encouragement from me they called the OB/GYN in Chinhoyi and he also encouraged them to open her up and tie off her uterus.  So we called Major in and he prayed while we cut!  Dr. Isala tied off all the major vessels to the uterus and put a tourniquet on it inside and then we closed her up and sent her to Chinhoyi for the full hysterectomy.

We decided Major should drive because he could get her there the fastest.  He actually can "fly" over the road at times!  So off she went with more blood hanging, more prayers and Major made the 3 hour trip in 2 hours!!  They stabilized her and took her to theater and did the hysterectomy.  They gave her 3 more units of blood and by the next morning she was out of ICU and transferred to the floor!  We all were so happy!!  We actually have not had a maternal death since July 2015 and so we are happy to keep our record going!!  We all worked hard and God really showed His power to save her!

Friday night we got our first real rain of the year with 6 mms of rain.  It cooled down to 75 last night and I pulled my sheet and blanket up during the night!  It was so nice to wake up and hear the rains.

This morning I left at 6 a.m. for a medical meeting in Chinhoyi for the day and it was so nice to see people out in their fields plowing as it rained lightly all the way to Chinhoyi.  Another rainy season and we pray for good rains and good crops.

Blessing of the new car for Mrs. Isala

 The Flamboyant trees in Harare

 Unpacking the container

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sad News and Glad News

This week has been a busy week at the hospital, but we had some slow afternoons, giving us time to catch up on cleaning up around the hospital and catching up records (finding those green ART cards!) and one afternoon I got some of the nursing staff to walk with me for 30 minutes around the hospital for some exercise!

On the 2nd of November (Wednesday) we received devastating news from Australia.  Our doctor here from 2003-05, Dr. Jono Mbangani and his wife Eva, lost their 16 y/o son who suffered severe brain damage from a Halloween prank.  They had airlifted him to Perth where he stayed on machines for 3 days.  They live 700 kms south of Perth in the town of      .  He died on the afternoon of 3-November and they will be having the funeral next week.  Please keep this family in prayer.  It is such a shock to all of us and we are so thankful they are strong Christians.  We hope to see them in person in December when they come to Zimbabwe for a family vacation to visit home.  This trip was planned several months ago and something their son was looking forward to.  I visited them in Australia in 2007.  Please continue prayers for comfort and love to surround them.

On Thursday we said goodbye to our medical students from University of Zimbabwe who had been with us for a month.  They are 3rd years (out of 5) in a rural hospital attachment.  We had 3 men and Monday the next group comes for one month who are 3 women.  We pray for these future doctors of Zimbabwe to feel a heart for the rural poor people of Zimbabwe.

We are so thankful to so many people that have responded for our need for financing for the hospital.  Since the government has not been able to give us any money since August 2014 it has been very difficult to meet all of the financial constraints we have with running a hospital.  Our patients have less and less money to pay their feeds, so we keep bartering but unfortunately we have to buy drugs and supplies with money.  So we are thankful to all of our donors who keep us going!  It was good news to see money sent to our account this week so we can pay off some of our bills and buy drugs that we desperately need!

Please pray for Zimbabwe.  Things are very tough with no cash available in the country.  People are sleeping in bank queues to get $50 out of their bank account a week!  So many little people like newspaper sellers, phone card sellers, flea market people are really suffering because people don't have cash to buy from them.  We have to go to businesses that take our debit cards because that is the only way to use your money up in your account.  Many of our patients are paying us on a phone account--sent to us by relatives in town so they can get an X-ray or medicine or lab tests.  Then we have to find businesses that will take our phone money to buy things for the hospital with that money.  The government has promised Bond notes to be produced to equal US$ but everyone is afraid of hyperinflation like before.  Pray for us!

Yesterday, Dr. Munodawafa, Major and I went to Karoi for a meeting with Karoi Hospital about District Health needs.  On the way we saw some funny sights of Zimbabwe which I will share with you in pictures!  We keep laughing!

Mto Mbangani with family in ICU in Perth

 Zimbabwe Jack--a stick with a stone!

This is from a Snack Shop

I guess this "popcorn" is for over 18 years only!!