The week leading up to our 50th Anniversary celebration was full of joy in seeing old friends return to celebrate with us. On the 16th of January we welcomed Bill and Reba Harrison and their daughter Julie. They served at Chidamoyo from 1972-1977 then in Harare from 1978-81. Julie was just 4 years old when they came. They had not been at Chidamoyo since 1981 so they enjoyed seeing all the changes and seeing how large the plants and trees and grown around their old house and the mission.
On the 17th we welcomed 2 students from Illinois (via University of Kentucky) Claire and Erin who have come to spend a month with us. Claire is working towards becoming a Physician Assistant and Erin a Medical Social Worker. They have been busy learning Shona, making rounds and helping with outreach clinics and our research projects with kids.
On the 18th of January we welcomed Ziden and Helen Nutt and their grown children, Tom and Carolyn. Ziden and Helen were the first missionaries who started Chidamoyo Mission and he built the hospital and raised all the money for it from 1964-1968. He was the one who planned the first dedication of the hospital on January 20, 1968 and he gave the key note speech for the rededication celebration.
On Friday the 19th my great friend and Chidamoyo Alumni, Carolyn Hall arrived from Pretoria, SA where she works for CDC. She came to help us celebrate and we were so happy that everyone came.
With 10 American visitors (all ex-missionaries) and Carolyn and our doctors and their wives and Major and his wife we had a wonderful dinner Friday night and were able to recall some old memories of times at Chidamoyo. We had wonderful fellowship.
On Saturday we spent the day decorating, moving chairs and preparing for the big day the next day. Holly had a group of the ladies making flowers for the dignitaries to wear the next day in the afternoon. The used local flowers and greenery and they looked great!
That evening we had local people that joined us to spend the night—Mashoko Hospital sent 6 people Dr. and Mrs. Bungu and their Matron, administrator, chaplain and Mr. Chikwait. We had 2 from ZACH—our mission hospital organization and Dr. R. Ndhlovu who came representing Dr. Dale Erickson our first doctor here in 1968. He was coming and then his wife got sick so he could not come. Dr. Ndhlovu is a nephrologist who works in Harare and at University of Zimbabwe and has worked with Dale when he comes to help at the Medical School here. Dr. Shield Kajese our doctor from 2010-2014 also came. We had a big Braii (BBQ) and fed 38 people that night. We ended the evening by seeing a film Ziden made in 1968 showing the hospital from start to finish.
Sunday morning we started with breakfast for 35 at my house and then on to get ready for the service. We started at 0930 and it went until 1:45 p.m.! We had speeches from our Minister of State Shamu, Chief Dandawa, Dr. Bungu representing Churches of Christ Medical work in Zimbabwe (AS HE IS), Mrs. Chitembere, Chairperson of ZACH, Dr. Mutisi representing the Provincial Medical Director, and Minister of Parliament Gandawa.
The local high school and primary schools sang, did traditional dances and poems for all the guests.
We did a responsive reading of rededication using the same words from the dedication in 1968 and then Ziden Nutt handed the keys over to the hospital to Dr. Nura Isala, the Medical Superintendent.
We had a special presentation of a Plaque from Countryside Christian Church in Wichita, KS to honor our 50 years of service to the people and churches of Zimbabwe. Mrs. Chitembere presented it to me.
The hall we held the celebration in had over 1000 people packed inside and then another 2000 outside! People were sticking their heads in the windows and standing up in the back just to get in.
The day was very warm and the special guests got a tour of the hospital and then lunch in our dining room while the community—over 2800 people went to the church to eat—sadza and beef! We killed 3 cows, 20 chickens and provided drinks for over 300! It was a day to remember and everyone has been praising how well it went. We are thankful to all who came and were a part of this special day. Thanks for many emails to congratulate us!
We had 22 people for dinner and breakfast the next day and then the 10 Americans and Major and I left for 2 nights at Rhino Camp in Kariba and then drove to Harare for a night and then to Victoria Falls for 2 nights. Harrisons left from Victoria Falls on Saturday the 27th and the rest of us flew back to Harare (having an Adventure of almost missing our flight!) and Nutts and Holly left the next day. Bob and Cathy Walker left on Tuesday the 30th—but I came home on the 29th to work and I had a group of 9 arriving on Tuesday!
Wow, it was a quick and crazy time. Not much sleep, but lots of fun and great fellowship with many. The hospital looks so great—freshly painted and the yard neatly trimmed.
Bob Walker, Reba and Bill Harrison, Kathy, Julie Harrison, Cathy Walker, Karolyn (Nutt)Schrage, Helen and Ziden Nutt and Tom Nutt
Bill Harrison, Zebedee Togarepi, Ziden Nutt
Bill Harrison, Mollie Nyoni, Reba and Julie Harrison
Ziden Nutt and Kathy discussing the program
Cathy Walker and Kathy
Ex-missionaries and crowds at celebration
Honorable Minister of Parliament Gandawa
Honorable Minister of State Shamu
Presentation from Dr. Bungu and wife on behalf of Dr. David Grubbs and wife to Chidamoyo Administration--picture of hospital from 1991
Mrs. Chitembere presenting an award from Countryside Christian Church, Wichita, KS to Kathy
Dr. Murenje and wife with Kathy
Reba Harrison leading the Responsive Reading
The hospital newly painted
Hippo at Rhino Camp
Elephant at Rhino Camp
Kathy and Holly Dack at Rhino
The group of 12 at Victoria Falls
Group at Vic Falls
Flame Lily--National Wildflower of Zimbabwe