Saturday, November 25, 2017

Historical Week in Zimbabwe

After an Army take over on November 15 which was called a "non-coup" we had a roller coaster week as the country decided what would happen next.

On Friday the 17th the ruling political party (ZANU-PF) met and dismissed President Mugabe as their President and called for his resignation by Monday the 20th or they would start impeachment hearing against him. 

Saturday the 21st the crowds in the streets of Harare and throughout the country filled with people celebrating the decision.  Many were calling it their new Independence Day.  They went up to the Army and hugged them for taking over.  All colors of people in the country turned out.

Sunday night we sat around the TV as Mugabe called for a press conference and then didn't resign.

Tuesday the 21st the Parliament meet and started Impeachment steps when all of a sudden a letter arrived which was read announcing Mugabe's resignation.  The MPs stood and cheered and danced--something never before witnessed in Zimbabwe.  People again took to the streets to celebrate and all over Zimbabwe people drove cars in the streets blowing their horns and yelling!  We were now a country without a President.

Thursday night the 23rd Emmerson Mnangagwa returned to Zimbabwe from exile in South Africa and on Friday the 24th he was sworn in as the new President of the country and ZANU-PF until the next elections sometime in mid-year 2018.

What a week this has been in Zimbabwe.  Certainly historic and above all peaceful and calm with no bloodshed.  How thankful we are that our prayers and yours were answered for prayers and safety for all Zimbabweans.

Work continues the same at the hospital.  We have been pleasantly busy but it is a slower time of the year as people are busy plowing in their fields and getting ready to plants when the rains set in.

I have been helping to see Out-patients and one of our doctors was at medical meeting fro Mon-Wed and one is on leave so that leaves only 1 to do in-patients and out-patients so I help out with out-patients when he is busy in theater.  Yesterday I did anesthesia for a skin graft for a young man that had his leg bit by a crocodile in the Sanyati River.  Emily helped me in theater and continues to help me with many paperwork projects we have to do around the hospital.

Thank you to all of you who prayed for the situation in Zimbabwe and sent well wishes to us through social media and emails.  We only knew what was happening by watching it on TV as things continued as normal in the bush.

This was Thanksgiving week in the States and we are having our dinner tomorrow night (Sunday) with 14 people coming.  Thursday wasn't a holiday here so no time to cook when I had to work all day.  Now I can have after work Saturday and Sunday to get ready.  You have to do all from scratch here--no store to help you out!  It's very dark like a big rain storm coming so I do hope we don't lose our electricity!

We have so much to be Thankful here and we are thankful to all of you! Thank you for your faithful support for the hospital through difficult times and for your support of us.

Emily is off to Batanai with Major and family for the weekend to work in the fields and help plow and plant for the weekend!  She wants the "African experience!"

 UZ Students helping with skin graft on Crocodile bites 

 Emily helping me exam outpatients

 Emily helping me in Theater

The News from the TV this week


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Two weeks back, new visitor, some rain, Army takes over

Work has been busy as I catch up from being gone for almost 7 weeks.  I have been busy working on an application through the Japanese embassy to get a digital X-ray machine.  We are praying for this wonderful gift to the hospital to be granted.

On Monday the 6th of November a new visitor, Emily Wade, from Florida, came to work with us for 6 weeks.  She is a new RN graduate from August and we are happy to have her work with us.  She has been working with us at the hospital and Thursday we went to Batanai to draw Viral Loads for people that attend our ART clinic there.  She is excited to be here and will be a big help to

During our weekly in-service meeting for nurses on Tuesday this week,  a patient came walking up to us and fell on the ground and soon we heard the plop of a baby coming out!  So during the in-service meeting we stopped to finish delivering the baby!  A big baby boy.  We suggested she name it Inservice!

We have had some more rain and it has been cloudy for 3 days and a little rain each day.  We hope that it really let's lose soon so people can get their crops planted.  It has been cloudy all day and humid but no rain so far! 

Of course as soon as the rains and thunder and lightening storms come we lose our electricity as power poles fall down.  In the 3 weeks we have been back we have lost power more than it has been on!  Hard to keep our fridges cold!  No fans to sleep with which has been hard for some of the nights.  It always seems we can't have rain and electricity at the same time.  Rainy season is always our bad time for electricity!  My visitor is appreciating electricity whenever we have it!

One of our local Headmasters at Jinga school died and we all went to the funeral on Sunday the 12th.  There were many people there.  We brought several car loads from the hospital as he was the father-in-law to our driver, Tapson Nyamaharo.  There were sprinkles of rain but we all enjoyed the clouds and coolness of the day.  We spent several hours there until the burial was over and rushed home for church at the hospital at 5 p.m.

We woke up to an Army take over of the country on Wednesday morning and we were all surprised.  Since we had no electricity for 2 days we hadn't been listening to any news and only when people started sending emails asking if we were ok did I get batteries out and turned on Voice of America.  Since we had no electricity at home Emily and I hadn't sent many emails for a couple of days so people were panicked as to why we were quiet!

When I got to the hospital where there is internet (we have 24/7 solar there) we were able to check out all the news and start writing to assure people all was fine and quiet here in the busy.  Work continued as usual.

Emily and 3 University of Zimbabwe medical students and I went out to Mawhada (1 hour away) to draw Viral Loads at one of our outreach clinics on Thursday.  We drew 118 people in 3 hours in between some rain!  We all had to pick up our stuff and run for cover everytime it started to rain since we were outside!  The students were excited to learn a new clinical skill and Emily is also learning and a big help.  I did the paperwork and the ones they couldn't get!

Things over the last several days continue to happen.  We are all awaiting the outcomes.  We sent our truck to Harare yesterday and they were able to get what we needed but stores and work places were seeming to close by mid-day.

One enjoyable outcome is that there are no roadblocks on the road by police since they are quiet since their commander was detained.  Any roadblocks are manned by Army who want to see ID and make sure no one is carrying weapons in to Harare to fight.  They are all polite and not taking bribes!  What a difference that is!

Today there are going to be many people demonstrating in the streets for the President's resignation.  We continue to pray for Peace and a better life for people in Zimbabwe.  Stay tuned!

Life here in the bush continues as usual.  Emily and Major and wife went off to Rhino Camp on Lake Kariba for a safari yesterday and will be back tomorrow, so even more quiet here!

 It has been hot--driving to hospital at 3 p.m. after lunch!

Baby Inservice

Emily drawing blood at Batanai

Outreach patients getting Viral loads

 Emily drawing blood at Batanai

Getting some rain at the hospital and turning lawn green!

 Nursing staff on duty this week on Day shift

 Funeral of Headmaster at Jinga School

 People lined up to have blood drawn

  Medical students and Emily drawing blood

The Army blocking off streets in downtown Harare on Wednesday morning

Sunday, October 29, 2017

We are home again!

Major and I had a whirlwind last week in Santa Rosa, CA before we headed for home on the 24th of October.  We saw many friends, ate lots of meals (Major's favorite), enjoyed some rain and had to go out of town to do shopping because of the fire that hit Santa Rosa.

We left at 1:30 p.m. from San Francisco on the 24th and flew to Hong Kong where we had 5 hours before we left for Johannesburg, SA where we had 3 hours and then arrived in Harare about 12:30 p.m. on the 26th.

We were met by Karen and Ben Pennington who left the next day for the US.  They took us to the townhouse and we had a new dining room set that Pennington's gave me as they were packing up to retire to the US.  It is beautiful teak and fits so well on the townhouse! I am really going to miss them as they w

It was 91 when we landed in Harare and so we knew it would be even hotter at Chidamoyo!  We enjoyed the air conditioned car on the way home!

Major headed for a haircut and I ran to the bank and grocery shopping.  We were surprised to find everything in the store--after some bad times when we were gone where groceries disappeared and then were limited.  I was able to get everything I needed and even fuel on the way home.

We left Harare at 7:30 p.m. and got home just before midnight.  Major drove and I tried to stay awake most of the way but quickly fell asleep on the dirt road!  It was 86 degrees at midnight!

I went to work for a few hours on Friday morning and during lunch decided to sleep and never woke up until 5:30 p.m.!  Jet lag really hit and after 3 hours up went back to bed until 4 a.m. Saturday!

Around 2 a.m. Saturday morning we got hit with a big thunder and lightening storm and then rain!  We got more than 78 mls in 12 hours!  That is 4.7 inches!  The temperature dropped from 95 to 75!  Boy did that feel good.  Of course, our electricity went off for 24 hours and just came back now!  People are now anxious to plow and get ready to plant!

After not sleeping most of the night last night--have been trying to keep awake so I can sleep tonight!  We had sunny day this morning and then cloudy this afternoon so the cool helped!

It's great to be home.  Sorry if we didn't catch up with you in the US--but know we love and appreciate all of you--it was a quick trip! They didn't think so here in Zimbabwe and felt we were gone forever!  They are very happy to have us back!

New Dining Room furniture from Pennington's

 Rain filling up Rain Gauge

 Rain flooding my backyard

Sticker given by my family to remember fire we went through--put on my kitchen window!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Devastating fire, 40th reunion, visit to Reno, visit with my friends

The devastating fire in Santa Rosa continued for almost 2 weeks.  The house where I was staying in Santa Rosa, Sylvia's, we had to be evacuated for 6 nights.  Luckily no homes in the area were touched and there was no smoke damage in the house.  We never lost electricity so our freezers didn't defrost.

On the 11th of October I left for 3 nights and 4 days with 5 of my best friends from UCSF Nursing School.  We had a reunion to celebrate our graduation 40 years ago.  Karen Lahl hosted us at her family cabin in North Shore, Lake Tahoe.  Karen is from Vacaville.  Then we had Cathy from Sacramento, Jean from North Carolina, Leslie from Vermont, Cheryl from Burlingame, CA and myself.  We spent 4 days talking non-stop and catching up.

We enjoyed the beautiful Lake Tahoe out our front door and went walking to see some of the sights.  We hope every 5 years to continue the tradition!  What fun we had!  Amazingly no one looked much older from when we graduated! Ha!

Saturday night the 14th I spent with Rose and Bob Coibion in Roseville, alumni from many visits.  Bob is our builder and advisor in building.

Sunday morning, my brother, sister-in-law and Major came up to pick me up and we traveled on for  2 days in Reno, Nevada to visit with my brother-in-law Mike.  We managed to do some shopping and lots of yummy eating.

When we came home Tuesday, the 17th we were able to move back into Sylvia's house.  She had moved back the evening before when they lifted the mandatory evacuation order.  It was nice to be home and the fires were slowly being contained.

This week we have been busy catching up on eye doctor appointments, shopping, seeing friends, all the things we missed for 2 weeks because of the fires.  Many roads are still closed and many houses were lost.  It is estimated that almost 90,000 acres burnt, 5700 homes and businesses burnt down.  90,000 fire fighters from Australia, Canada and states as far a ways as Florida came to work.  Two of the three hospitals in town were closed down for 12 days!  We know so many people that lost their houses and everything!

My niece Tracy had dinner with the family on Wednesday night  had dinner with us.  She works for PGE (Gas and Electric Company in California) and they had been sent to get electricity and gas back on after the fires.  We were happy to be able to see and visit with her.

We had dinner and lunches with many friends and Chidamoyo alumni this week.  Today we had a good-bye BBQ with my family.  Tomorrow we have to start packing--should take a long time with all we bought!  We leave early Tuesday morning to head back to Chidamoyo from San Francisco!

 News and picture of Santa Rosa fire

 Leslie, Cathy, Jean, Kathy, Karen and Cheryl--UCSF School of Nursing 1977!

 Kathy and Cathy

                                                          Ladies cooking breakfast together

Cathy, Karen, Sheryl, Kathy, Leslie and Jean--Cl.ass of 1977!

 Celebrating 8th birthday for great nephew Maximo (upper right corner) 

 In Reno with brother Dennis

 Family dinner with niece Tracy--head of the table

Sister-in-law Kathy, myself, Great nephew Alec, sister Kim and nephew Marc

 Chidamoyo Alumni Rick and Sue Hahn

With church friends and Chidamoyo alumni

 Matt and Dr. Megan Fitzpatrick--Chidamoyo alumni from this year

Friends from church I grew up with any their mom

Dr. Stephane Hwuang and Jeff in middle--Chidamoyo alumni from June 2017

 Dereka, Maximo, March (nephew) and Alec McCarty

Nephew Mapi Maparara

Friday, October 6, 2017

Back to Santa Rosa, CA

We had a wonderful progressive dinner on Friday the 29th of September in Seattle.  We went to 4 different houses in Wallingford neighborhood and enjoyed a home tour, history of the home and wonderful at each house along with 11 wonderful people to share it with.  Thank you to all the homeowners who donated the proceeds to Chidamoyo Hospital.

On the afternoon of the 30th of September we flew home from Seattle to my hometown of Santa Rosa, CA.  We arrived home to a wonderful sadza and oxtail dinner cooked by Sylvia Majoni-Brown.

We have spent the last week traveling and doing shopping--getting ready to go back to Zimbabwe.

Sunday morning we left with good friends and Chidamoyo board members, Patty and Gary LeDonne, for the final SF Giants baseball game of the season at ATT Park.  We enjoyed a fun game in beautiful weather and it was won in the bottom of the 9th by a home run from the Giants!  After the game they threw autographed balls into the seats and Patty got one for Major!  He was so excited!

After the game we went to meet up with our Stanford research team.  It was fun to meet with them on this side of the world and enjoyed a wonderful Chinese dinner out with Megan and Matt, Ben, Rachel, Dr. Katzenstein and Ben's wife.  It was great to catch up with everyone.  We spent the night in SF and then took the bus home the next morning.

We have been to Costco 2 times in 2 days and we are buying things to help us run the hospital better.  We also took things direct to the container which is just about ready to go--we are filling the rest up very quickly!

We also enjoyed seeing Great-nephew Maximo and his team playing soccer this week.

We are also enjoying eating out with friends and family.  I am trying not to put on weight and Major is trying to eat everything!  What a fun time we are having and feel so privilege to be here for a few weeks!

ATT Park

Gary and Major

Patty and Gary LeDonne with Major and Kathy

Stanford research team with us

 Taking things to container with Becksteads

 Great nephew Maximo playing goal keeper for soccer

 Major enjoying dinner

Dinner with the McCarty family