Wallingford Christian Assembly

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Zambia News - Ros Jeffersons's Blog 13  : Busy Week (12/03/2015)

Dr Zoltan with his wife Eva and youngest son Lucas (see picture) arrived last Saturday. They have been at Kalene since last September when they left their home in Hungary. It was interesting to find that we had mutual friends – it is a small world amongst believers.  He came down with the intention of learning more surgery from Dr David – and has had somewhat of a baptism with fire!!  There were 4 emergency surgeries on the Lord’s Day after he arrived, including a Caesarian section not long before  midnight in which I too was involved.  The week brought many more opportunities to extend his skills – it has been the busiest week since I arrived at Chit!!  

On the Monday, however, the three doctors took off in the plane to spend the day in clinic at Chavuma. It was lovely to have the opportunity to visit again – I have only been to Chavuma when the Simonyi-Gindeles were living there.  Currently they have no resident doctor but Tamako and Ayumi, two nurses commended from assemblies in Japan, do a great job at the hospital. Tamako had organised a number of paediatric patients, but I also saw quite a number of adults while David and Zoltan were in theatre.  The most interesting was a girl with a hemidystonia  - it was even more astounding to discover that Chavuma had the medicine to treat it.  Many patients come to Chavuma from Angola as the border is close by and many are sick.  We managed to see everyone – and were thinking to head back home when we had several phone calls about a bad storm at Chit, and there was some question whether we would make it back at all.  We committed the issue to the Lord and headed off to the airstrip. Finally at 18.00h (the last possible time we could leave to get home before dark) we felt we should at least give it a try as the weather at Chit was improving, although the storm was moving north. Once airborne we could see the storm in a contained area and in the goodness of God could also see how to avoid it.  The Lord answered prayer and brought us safely home while there was still some daylight.   

I arrived back from Chavuma in time to enjoy another visit from Jeff and June Speichinger who stayed with me overnight en route down to Lusaka.  They left very early on the Tuesday morning for the long journey via the forest road (with much prayer for the trip, given the heavy rain).  We were glad to hear that they arrived safely.  A couple of days later Jenna Bray (Canada) was here again on her way home.  She had spent a few nights with me on the way out and it was great to see her again and catch up on all her experiences at Chavuma and Katombi.  

On Tuesday afternoon I got the bicycle out and headed down to colony for my  weekly visit with Kezia and family.  She enjoyed her therapy session this week and I felt her movements were easier.  There was clearly a storm brewing and I was thankful for the bike(ex- Ken Wilkins!) so that I could head back to the hospital quickly before the heavens opened.

We have had some sick patients this week and not all of them have made it through, sadly. I was particularly touched by one 11 year old boy who was clearly very sick at the time of admission and deteriorated over the following 48 hours.  I went to speak with his mother after his passing and was able to leave her with a Scripture booklet.  Another child was being treated for croup but despite all the treatment I threw at him there was no improvement. Finally his mother told us that before admission they had consulted a traditional healer who had mixed up roots for the child to drink.  When we had to do the inevitable tracheostomy, his larynx was very swollen with little patent airway, hence his stridor.

Thursday brought the arrival of the orthopaedic team from Lusaka for their 2 monthly clinic and day of surgery. This always brings an influx of patients to Chit.  Chavuma,  Loloma and Dipalata all send their patients through  and others come from Zambezi etc.  The queue outside the clinic room on Thursday was very long, but everybody was seen before we finished about 19.30h. The queue was nearly as long on Friday for the surgery, or so it seemed, but they were mixed with regular outpatients who kept me working till after 19.00h once again.  The wards seemed full to overflowing.  I hadn’t managed to control floorbeds before the ortho clinic; with those additional patients the line of paediatric floorbeds reached more than half way towards the front entrance of the hospital!!  I was thankful to be able to discharge some children today – including some long-stay ones (one with a matriarchal parent who kept a handle on all that was happening on the ward and was a very helpful interpreter).  The orthopaedic team came to supper here on Thursday night. (pics floor beds and departures including Keke’s).

Floor beds

On the way home!

On Friday night when I finally finished my clinic marathon I was able to make my way to the girls’ hostel where I would usually go with the Baileys. It was the last Friday of the month and therefore the time to celebrate birthdays.  We had birthday cakes  and the girls put on a special programme of songs etc which we enjoyed. They have been practising for weeks and their performance was really excellent.  They sing so well that even though there are only 17 of them it sounded like a much bigger choir. They regularly attend the English Gospel meeting on the Lord’s Day

The birthday girls and boy!  Keith and Gayle Bailey , extreme right and left and Anne Clarke (mother of Rhonda Markle, centre) and hostel girls

On Friday during the day Eddie came to the hospital. He is another young man with cerebral palsy now in his early 20s, painfully underweight and with a lot of involuntary movements. His old wheelchair lining was on its last legs (or is it threads??) to put it mildly so that he risked having no means of getting around.  I had found a hoist sling in a parcel sent out from home and with the help of one of the visitors from Canada we were able to adapt it to meet his seating needs.  It should now last a lot longer.  I was almost swept off my feet by a lady I presumed to be his granny as she expressed her gratitude!!  I went to visit him at home this afternoon. Although he understands English quite well, it is not an easy task to teach him to read and the oro-motor involvement in his cerebral palsy affects his speech clarity.  There is always the opportunity to present the Gospel and other family members present also hear the message.  Today they had the cutest litter of puppies around their outdoor kitchen hut; they were just 2 weeks old and barely on their little feet!

It has been good to hear the Gospel clearly preached in the villages over the past few weeks (, as well as in the English Gospel meeting on the Lord’s day evening when some patients also attend (Rhonda Markle and I go over to the hospital each week to invite them). We have committed to us the responsibility of making the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour, known both in word and action. 2 Corinthians 4 v 3 reminds us that, ‘If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost’.  How solemn to remember that the people with whom we come into contact every day are headed for a lost eternity and possibly all that they will hear of the Gospel is from us!