Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Merry Christmas for 5 days!

Christmas started here on the 20th of December at 7 p.m. when we met for caroling at the hospital.  We start with a few people and as we go around more people join us.  It rained that afternoon so we had about 8 of us to start but ended up with more than 30.  We sang in each hospital ward and gave out sweets to everyone.  We then went to staff housing, waiting mother’s shelter and more staff housing.  We got our walk in for the day and ended about 9:30 p.m.

On the 21st of December we had our annual Christmas lunch and party for all the staff at the hospital.  We close our Outpatient Department at 1 p.m. and then gather in our dining room for an afternoon of fun.

We served chicken, beef, rice, sadza, coleslaw and potatoes this year and people ate and ate until they were so full. I made 6 chocolate cakes for desert and they ate then all too. We then did some questions with prizes that got some very funny answers.

We end the party with all he staff getting a bag full of groceries to take home for their families for Christmas. We gave out 112 bags this year!  We had a great time and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  And we all came home very tired!

The 22nd of December was a holiday here so most of our staff were off from the 22nd through the 26th—a long 5-day holiday this time!  We started off at 5:30 a.m. when our surgeon and anesthesiologist from Harare arrived to do our list of elective surgeries.  I fed them breakfast and then they went to work.  They had 11 cases and they finished by 2 p.m. working straight through until they finished, then they came home and ate lunch before leaving for Harare. I did rounds so our doctor could help and learn in surgery.  We appreciate their hard work and dedication for our patients here.

On Saturday the 23rd I worked half a day and then came home to do some cooking and baking for Christmas Eve the next day.  All the presents were wrapped and under the tree ready to go.
On the 24th we had church in the morning and then at 6 p.m. had a Sunday evening service at the hospital.  After Sunday evening service Major Mereki and family came home from farming at Batanai to have a Christmas Eve dinner of ham and scalloped potatoes and all the trimmings.  We then opened our gifts and had cake and coffee before they left after 11 p.m. for home.  Shortly thereafter we had a nice gentle rain that continued all night.
Christmas morning the 25th we went for church at the hospital at 9 a.m.  We usually serve tea and bread after but after sending a car to several townships, there was no bread to be found!  So after service we served tea and cookies.  All the Water Mother’s were there and patients and some church people so they all enjoyed!

Then I went home to watch some Christmas movies on video and enjoy the peace and quiet.  Our electricity went off about 5 p.m. and by 8 p.m. I was in bed! When there are no lights I get tired very early!  The lights did come on about 9:30 p.m. and stayed on until about noon Tuesday morning and then have been off ever since.

We have had rain everyday and the ground is very wet and great for our crops so we are happy for that.

Since today was a holiday too (the 26th) I decided to stay home from work unless they called me and so far so good.  Got some baking done (I have a gas stove for when the electricity is off) and cleaned up my office.  Almost got a load of wash out before the electricity went off but they wouldn’t have dried with rain all afternoon anyway! It has kept us cool with all the rain and clouds!


I hope all of you had a great time celebrating Christmas and that it was a good family time for you.  It was great hearing about a White Christmas from friends in Seattle, to Missouri to Indiana to NJ!  We had a rainy Christmas and loved it!

Carolyn and Michael Mereki with Dr. Moyo's daughter Celine at caroling


Caroling at Hospital and giving out sweets


Administration team enjoying Christmas lunch


Staff lining up for lunch

Dr. Moyo handing out Grocery Bags to staff


Major and Kathy at the party


Surgery team from Harare busy all day on the 22nd


Tree ready with all the presents

 Opening gifts with Mereki family Christmas Eve

 Someone happy with US cash!!

 Girls opening their gifts

 Eating Christmas Eve dinner

Michael opening his gifts

 Major, Patience, Carolyn and cousins Christine and Nancy at Christmas church



 People attending church at the hospital Christmas Day

 Major preaching Christmas Day

 People getting tea and cookies after church

The rains continued through the 26th



Sunday, December 17, 2017

Christmas time in Harare, Michael arrives, Wedding, Emily leaves

Well it has been a busy 3 weeks since I wrote so lots to catch up on.  We have been on the go and keeping very busy with the countdown to Christmas.  Emily helped me to get the decorations up on the 2nd of December--she decorated the tree.  We are all decorated and ready for the whole month to celebrate!

On December 4, Michael Mereki, arrived home for Christmas holidays from University in South Africa.  It is always great to have him home and an extra driver to help us out at the hospital.  I have been putting him to work driving and helping Emily and I to get our outreach Viral Loads done at our ART clinics we do away from the hospital.  The first time he took us we had a flat tire on the way home so it was great he was with us to change it!

On December 4 our research team from Harare and Stanford came out for 2 days to work on all the details for our study which should start in January.  Dr. David Katzenstein from Stanford is our Principle Investigator and we enjoyed are talks and we look forward to providing for our kids in this research.  We have 600+ kids from age 2-21 we are studying.

Our third year medical students from UZ left on the 7th of December after 3 weeks with us.  We put them to work drawing bloods for us at our ART clinics and they liked that.  We wish them well with their future studies.

On the 8th of December I took the kids and Emily in for our Christmas tradition here.  We go to Harare for a 3 day weekend in December to get ready for Christmas.  Michael, Carolyn, Emily, Christine (Carolyn and Michael's cousin) came from Chidamoyo and we met up with their other cousin, Christine's sister, Nancy, who is doing her college internship in Harare.

The girls started with Pedicures at the spa on Friday morning, picked up Nancy from work for lunch together and then went home for a quick change and off to the annual Christmas pantomime.  Pantomime here is the main male lead is played by a lady and the main female lead is played by a man.  It is a musical comedy that is mainly for kids--but we all love it.  We took Mrs. Kajese and their daughter Alexis with us this year.

On the morning of the 9th we spent time at the flea market buying gifts for Christmas and then I left to meet up with Major and Patience to go to the wedding of Solace Mukuze and Broadwell Chinzou.  It was a wonderful wedding.

This is Sylvia's niece that she sponsored through nursing school in Australia and works in Melborne, Australia as a nurse.  She married her high school sweetheart at a wonderful ceremony at Miekles Hotel in Harare.  Her sister Gloria was her maid of honor and works as a nurse in Santa Rosa, where their Aunt Sylvia lives.  Since Sylvia couldn't come I stood in as their Aunt--which including helping to cut the wedding cake.  We stayed until late and really had a great time seeing all the relatives.

We drove home Sunday and got home in time for Sunday night church and brought some KFC chicken home to eat with the kids that night.  A great weekend had by all.

On the 14th of December Major and I traveled to Kadoma (4 hours away) for a meeting with ZACH (Zimbabwe Association of Church Hospitals).  They are the representative of mission hospitals to the government and they are a big help to mission hospitals.  We left at 4 a.m. and got home at 10 p.m.  a long day!

This was Emily's last week with me so we kept her busy helping me with computer work for our research study, and drawing blood.  We did one more outreach before she left to get viral loads.  We will miss her greatly and she left for US yesterday (Saturday).

Yesterday we also had our older kids support group (12-18 year olds) for kids born with AIDS and on ART.  The older girls have started sewing and making quilts and I was able to spend time with them in their sewing group.  They were having a great time.

We have been a bit worried as we haven't had a lot of rain yet--but Friday afternoon and evening we got a good rain.  My maize is 6 inches up already.  Keep praying for good rains as many of the areas in the country are still very dry!

If you have Instagram--follow our pictures from Chidamoyo on sistermakate.

Emily decorating the tree

Medical students drawing bloods at Nyamutora



Group from Stanford and Harare to discuss our research study

Manicures--Red for Christmas!

Lunch for our Christmas weekend

Michael, Christine, Emily, Caroline, Nancy

Decorated for Christmas in Harare townhouse

Christmas decorations at Chidamoyo



Alexis Kajese 

The Pantomime


Solace's wedding


With Gloria and the Bride Solace

Cutting the Cake


With Mr. and Mrs. Chinzou

Mereki's with Gloria Mukuze

Michael helping Emily draw blood


Changing the tyre on way home from clinic--thanks Michael!