Wallingford Christian Assembly

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Zambia News - Ros Jeffersons's Blog 10  : ‘Munahandi mwani’  (02/02/2015)

‘Munahandi mwani’ as they say round here when they greet you.  Thereafter follows a short conversation as you continue to enquire about the person’s wellbeing and they about yours.  The whole thing finishes with ‘Mwani vude mwani, so you can see the one Lunda word you cannot do without!!  It is Saturday afternoon again and I am relaxing at home. I can hardly believe that 2 weeks have passed since I last updated my blog. That must mean that they have been busy – but nonetheless enjoyable.  Since I last wrote, Zambia has a new president, Edgar Lungu, the former minister of Justice and Defence.  We pray that he will continue to show sympathetic regard for the work of the Lord in this country.

It seems that the weeks since my last update have been punctuated by comings and goings. First of all, Alison Bell, a nurse from N Ireland, returned for a further stay.  Along with her were two visitors for the McAdams who have been helping a great deal with work in the houses, tiling etc.  Their arrival was closely followed by that of 3 brethren from Canada who are involved with well-drilling in the villages (this provides good clean water for the local people and preserves them from the risk of crocodiles at the river). One of the trio is a regular visitor while for the other two it is their first time in Zambia.  Along with them came a housemate for me (Jenna Bray), but she was so temporary that I didn’t even manage to get a photo!  She arrived late one Thursday night but was gone again the following Tuesday morning, off to Chavuma where she is helping Tamako and Ayumi, Japanese missionary nurses who hold the fort at the hospital there. Later she will move on to Katombe where Margie Gould (Canada) serves the Lord before returning to Canada with the well-drillers when they leave in late February.  I enjoyed her company and it was nice to be able to show her around Chit. We discovered that we both liked to cook.

The next event was the departure of  Gayle Wallace, an anaesthetic trainee from N Ireland who is  one of the Chit regulars.  She had been here for 4 weeks – we had flown up to Chit together on New Year’s Day.   Earlier this week, Dorothy Woodside returned from a visit back home to the US and Canada.  Her house is the nearest to mine – it is nice to have a near neighbour again.  Just yesterday morning Christina Gagnon left for Canada – this was an unplanned visit home but her younger brother is critically ill in ICU in Toronto. Please pray. Tomorrow, after the meetings, Des and Liz Norris leave on the first stage of their journey back to Canada. They too are regulars out here and with his support in anaesthesia it is possible to carry out major surgery that we could not attempt otherwise.

Yesterday I waved good-bye to one of my cerebral palsy children. She has been staying in a little house in the leper colony for the past couple of weeks or so and has attended daily for therapy sessions from yours truly (the leper colony is used for accommodation for long term patients rather than its original purpose as leprosy is now rare here).   We were able to find her a nice supportive static seat and also a little standing frame from those I was given by colleagues in Reading.  It took considerable time and also some bribery before she would tolerate the standing frame – after all if you are used to being carried everywhere on your mother’s back and your feet never touch the ground, it must feel very strange to be strapped into such a device.  Her family are devoted to her care – both parents attended the last few therapy sessions (very unusual over here) and her mother has great intuition in handling her.  I have given them a number of things to work on over the next few months until my next visit.  Another little girl has arrived to take her place in my therapy sessions, however, so I will still be busy. Some of the old action choruses are excellent alongside physiotherapy exercises and as a spin-off I provide free entertainment for the other children on the ward.  It means that they hear Gospel choruses too.

We have had several babies with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Two, with their mothers, hitched a lift on the flight to Lusaka with Gayle Wallace and are currently receiving treatment.  Just before them we had a baby come down from Congo with very severe hydrocephalus and probably the largest head circumference I have ever seen.  He was sent by Mary Ratter, a missionary nurse at Katoka.  There is always a delay in presentation over here, whereas back home the baby would be referred to the neurosurgeons within days of birth.  We were able to get him and his parents to Lusaka and heard subsequently that surgery had been successful.  His developmental outcome is guarded, however.

This morning after I had finished at the hospital I took a short walk to the local market.  It is very small with no more than four stalls and a very limited amount of produce. I bought some local mushrooms which I am cooking for supper – I am told that they are ‘delicious’. I wonder what you think of the colour? (see below). There was little else there, though I did manage to get a few tomatoes and small aubergines. Ratatouille is on the menu!  After that I visited the new hostel for girls built by Keith and Gayle Bailey (Canada).  It has been their exercise to provide accommodation for girls from the villages so that they can attend school and complete their education. Of course their time here brings the opportunity of presenting the Gospel to them.  The facilities are first rate – two girls per bedroom, regular meals, washing  and bathing facilities etc etc. There are 17 girls there currently and a couple more to come.  One of my Zambian friends, Mary Chiyesu, is the housemother.  In the past she has been involved with the disabled children’s work, hence the connection.

Mrs Sefu came again on Tuesday afternoon for a  further lesson in Lunda. We concentrated on phrases which I would use around the hospital and I have had plenty of opportunity to put them into practice over the last few days.  I am beginning to ask more questions in Lunda – though am still thrown by more than a monosyllabic answer (occasionally I do pick up on a word so can follow a little more).  The families on the ward sometimes add to my vocabulary and so help me to build on my knowledge.  

A good friend in Canada sparked off some thoughts from John 6 which I enjoyed on Christ, the bread of life, the food for the believer. As a Man here on the earth, He was sustained by spiritual food from God. We may draw that same sustenance through/in the Lord's humanity. My mind went to the early verses of Hebrews 12 and then also to those closing verses of 1 Peter 2. How much we need this in our daily walk!

The hostel building. The plaque reads  ‘To God be the Glory Baileys Hostel for Girls’

“Mushroom supper”