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Zambia News - Ros Jeffersons's Blog 17  : Chitokoloki life (24/06/2015)

The house where I am staying during this visit belongs to Keith and Gayle Bailey.  It is ‘right in the centre of town’ – as opposed to the Annex which is situated at one end. Gordon and Ruth Hanna are my nearest neighbours, otherwise the nearest building is the workshop, the hub of activity where the maintenance team spend their days.  Every weekday morning they have a short meeting before work and at 07.00h (when I am usually reading my own Bible) I am regularly serenaded by lusty, tuneful hymn-singing from the menfolk before they start their day. It is all part of life here. The hospital staff have a similar meeting, but only twice per week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we join them for those sessions. Their singing is equally lusty. Sadly I can’t include audio in my blog!

On Saturday afternoon I headed out on the bicycle to visit Eddie, the young man with athetoid cerebral palsy, out in his village. Of course, you can’t go far without meeting someone you know – firstly I met some of the girls from the Baileys hostel where several of us visit each Friday night in the Baileys absence.  Then I was conscious of someone following me – it was Kezia’s father. Kezia is another little girl with cerebral palsy who stayed up at Chit for virtually all of my last visit and I gave her weekly therapy sessions.  He announced that he was heading to the family home in Mumbejhi the next day and would be bringing Kezia and the rest of the family back with him next week.  I can see I will be busy once again! I made it to the village – Eddie was pleased to see me.  Our Heath-Robinson repair to his seat is already beginning to show signs of wear and will need reinforcing before too long…..   I was able to share something of the Gospel with him and another young man before I left, using a tract which contained the Two Ways chart.  At the end of July I have two visitors coming out from Scotland, one of whom is a teacher.  I am hoping that she may be able to help Eddie in his desire to learn to read.  I went out to his village again today – but timed it wrong. He was was away at the river for a bath.

On Monday I was over at Dipalata for the clinic day.  Five of us left early in the little plane (I was thinking that we treat the short flight rather as you would a car journey at home, hopping in and out of the plane.  It saves a great deal of time travelling the dirt roads).  Folk from N Ireland are out at Dipalata at the moment building a new wing on the clinic there to incorporate additional ward facilities for their inpatients.  The work is progressing well as you can see from the photos.  Betty Magennis helped me in clinic – it was a mixture of adults and children, including the babies I know well who have been treated for hydrocephalus down in Lusaka. It is nice to see them making progress.  There was also a new and very interesting diagnosis to make in one patient – and, as is usual in Africa, there was the full house of signs!. We all enjoyed lunch with the Speichingers and afterwards the surgical team finished off their list of operations before we headed back, arriving home just before sunset.  There were great views from the plane.  

On Tuesday some of the Dipalata folk came her .  Jeff Speichinger brought over Rodney Moore and Don McQullan both from NI  and out for a few weeks to help with the building work as well as two girls who are visiting for a couple of weeks (Hannah Moore and Hannah Craig). The girls stayed overnight with Joey and Kaitlin Speichinger . Hannah C wants to do midwifery and she had the opportunity to watch the delivery of a baby here, as well as to observe in theatre. All 8 of them came to me for supper on Tuesday night. We squeezed ourselves around the kitchen table and enjoyed a happy time of fellowship over the meal.

The end of last week was the regular orthopaedic visit – always a very busy time. Dr Giorgio flies in from Lusaka on the Thursday and immediately starts a mega outpatient clinic that lasts as long as required to ensure everyone is seen.  Patients come from the other mission hospitals/clinics – Loloma, Chavuma, Dipalata and decisions are made as to who needs surgery.  Friday is theatre day when all the procedures are performed – there were 18 this time and the nineteenth was done early on Saturday morning.  Saturday is post-op ward round after which Dr G returns to Lusaka. The ortho team plus Paul Osteen (visiting surgeon from the US who is covering part of Dr McAdam’s furlough), Ali Bell (nurse from NI) and Mwansa Jere, our local Zambian doctor, all came for dinner on Thursday night. You can see that it was the week of the visitors!!

Friday was the regular visit to the girls dorm.  Some of the girls were away at a school event so we were quite a bit smaller this week.  Three of us were ‘interviewed’ about what difference being a Christian made to us. I was able to tell how the Lord had led me to study medicine and also brought me out to Chitokoloki. It was good to be able to share how He has guided unfailingly each step of the way - He IS faithful.  I have to prepare for this week’s session – I hope more of them will be present.

Over the last few days I have enjoyed some thoughts about knowing the Lord.  It was sparked off when the early verses of John 17 were read in the meeting on Lord’s Day – verse 3 in particular, ’and this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only True God and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent’ – learning begun here and now on earth and consummated in heaven when He is our occupation for all eternity.  Earlier in the previous week I had read Hosea 6 v 3 ‘Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord’, speaking of progression of our learning.  The apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians (ch 3 v 10) gives us the passion of our learning – that I may know Him……  In the Roman epistle (ch 11 v 33) we have the profundity of our learning.  Then in Ephesians 3 v 17-19 we have the paradox of our learning – to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.  Finally in 2 Cor 4 v 6 we have the Personal revelation in learning – God … hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ – our knowledge of God is based upon the revelation we have of Him in the Saviour Who is ‘the outshining of His glory and the express image of His person’ .

Water tower at Dipalata

Lunch at Dipalata

Jennelle Speichinger, Betty Magennis and June Speichinger outside Dipalata clinic

Hannah Craig and baby.