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Zambia News - Ros Jeffersons's Blog 12  : Visitors (3/03/2015)

This posting is long overdue. I quite thought that I would have completed it last weekend, including photos, but that was not the case….  If you read the next posting (which I must begin shortly) you will see the reason for the delay. It’s nice to have a quiet evening at home and catch up a little.

On Tuesday 10 Feb we had a visit from Dr Alan Ronald. He is from Canada and is a world expert in HIV/infectious disease medicine.  He and his wife are in Zambia to visit his sister, Marian, who has served the Lord at Loloma for the past 50 years.  They all three came through to Chit and he gave two excellent presentations, one about rational use of antibiotics and the other about HIV prevention. Both were interesting and very relevant.  I was invited to have lunch with them at the McAdams as well which was nice.  DV I hope to fit in a week or so at Loloma before the end of my stay in Zambia, probably on my way down to Lusaka.   Later in the day I had a ‘chance meeting’ with Sylvia, a former patient who was very sick on Female Ward during my visit to Chit in summer 2014. It was lovely to see her today – she has gained weight and looked so much better than when I last saw her.

Just a few days before that we had had a team out from Lusaka to teach us how to handle an Ebola epidemic… not that the virus is anywhere near us, although the first epidemic ever broke out at a mission hospital in Congo in the mid 70s.  I was able to dip in and out of the day – the funniest  bit (at last for the spectators!) was the session on how to don and doff all the protective clothing.  They used a nurse volunteer who must have been baked in all those layers in the hot afternoon!!

We have had a couple of ‘interesting’ afternoons at the hospital.  On the first, I emerged from the pharmacy store where I had been looking for milk and standing frames to see a horde of relatives and mobile patients rushing towards the hospital door with a great deal of accompanying noise. David McAdam was walking along in the middle of it smiling quietly.  It turned out that the father of one of the children on my ward was being evicted as he was refusing treatment for the child and had behaved badly towards the nurses. The local folk ensured he was removed from the hospital territory and I am told that he received a beating, but not before he had broken the glass in the hospital door.  Then one of my mothers from the ward tried to do a runner  - by scrounging a lift in the District Commissioner’s vehicle!!  He was most unimpressed when he knew what she was doing and ordered her out immediately as if she were a naughty school girl.

Two weekends ago I was able to get away from Chit and visit with the Speichinger family at Dipalata. They have had several overnight stays with me at Chit in recent weeks, and, in fact, they were here just 3 days before my own visit to their home.   Jeff was coming over to Chitokoloki on Friday to collect some wood along with Ken Wagler (regular visitor from Canada who is involved in well-drilling), so I was able to hitch a lift with them. We left in a heavy rainstorm and wondered how the road would be – the Lord overruled and once we were out of the immediate Chit vicinity everywhere was dry.  We saw some beautiful flame lilies growing by the side of the road (see photo).

 I had a lovely relaxing time at Dipalata – it is a beautful spot, so peaceful by the Mukonde river (where one of the well-drilling trio caught a huge tiger fish during my visit – we ate it the same night for supper).  I saw a number of children in clinics there, both on Saturday and also on the Monday which was Dr McAdam’s monthly clinic day at Dipalata. Among the patients was my old friend Mbuya from last summer who was always wanting to transport me round the hospital in his hand-pedalled ‘cart’.  He has made great progress with his mobility and is now able to get around with crutches over shorter distances, though still uses his cart for travelling further. It was a great reunion with him and his father.  I also reviewed one of the babies with hydrocephalus whom we sent to Lusaka for surgery at the end of January – she too has done well.  It was nice to see Betty McGennis again as well as  to enjoy the fellowship in the local assembly on the Lord’s day. Betty keeps very busy running the maternity unit and is well-respected in the local community.  I went out to see the well which Ken and team were drilling in one of the nearby villages.  No sooner had we arrived than we were surrounded by a horde of children all excited that the ‘chindelis’ had visited. I got them to sing ‘Jesus loves me’ in Lunda and also began to teach them John 14 v 6. I have included a photo of the happy gang.

Flame lily by side of road

Mbuya and myself with horn for his cart

Tiger fish caught for supper

In the village

Between the two of us David McAdam and I finished clinic and surgeries by lunchtime so that we were able to make an early get-away – landing at Chit just before a torrential storm.  Again we experienced the Lord’s protection.

Just one night after getting home I had visitors to stay once again – Jennelle Speichinger and her father, plus Ken Wagler. Jennelle was heading down to Lusaka as she was travelling up to Kenya with her brother, Jason, to help him pack up his family’s home in Nairobi and head back to Lusaka where they are now stationed.  It is a long and difficult journey.  It was great to have them here again and to be able to return something of their generosity.  After the English Bible Study which David McAdam leads, several folk came round for pancakes – great fun and a very enjoyable evening.

The next weeks will bring more visitors DV – the Hungarian doctor from Kalene is coming in Saturday along with his wife and child. He will be here for 2 weeks in order to spend time in theatre with Dr David.  The orthopaedic surgeon is also due to come next Thursday through Saturday for his regular clinic and operating session.  These are always busy days but very interesting.  At the moment we have the ‘electrical’ team visiting from Canada – 4 men plus one couple, the wife of which is the team cook (oh, her cakes at morning tea are so tempting!).  They are well–occupied in the many jobs around the mission. It seems that some of them have caught the sun too!

Each morning the Gospel is preached at the hospital over the loud speaker system. There are many opportunities to give out tracts to those who can read – we need Lunda and Luvale mainly, as well as Portuguese for patients coming over the border from Angola, and also some English.  Very few people refuse literature, some ask before we have the chance to give and all read what they are given.  Pray that the Lord will open their hearts to the glorious message of free salvation through the work of the cross.  What a thrill it would be to meet them in heaven some day!