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
With Gloria and the Bride Solace
Cutting the Cake
With Mr. and Mrs. Chinzou
Mereki's with Gloria Mukuze
Michael helping Emily draw blood