Wallingford Christian Assembly

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Zambia News - Ros Jeffersons's Blog 19  : Comings & Goings (14/08/2015)

It is some time since I last updated my blog – a reflection of just how busy the last couple of weeks have been here and especially at the hospital. It feels like I have barely had an evening at home and most have been spent up on the wards caring for sick patients.  Even Saturday when I was busy preparing for Sunday lunch guests, one of my Zambian friends knocked on my door and wanted a chat.

Camp went well – just 18 girls attended, rather fewer than in previous years, but those who did attend were challenged by what they heard. My friend Carol Lumbwa (her father is one of the hospital guards and is In fellowship at one of the village assemblies) was one of those. She told me that she had learnt that there were important choices to make in life to live for the Lord.

Comings and goings continue.  At the moment we have two nursing students visiting for elective placements. Grace Summers from Mayfield assembly near Edinburgh is at Chit for 3 weeks. Her time has flown by and on Saturday she goes across to Dipalata where her grandparents are helping to build the new wards.  It has been good to have her around and she has had lots of experience on the wards and in theatre. Last weekend Cailey Gersbach from Toronto arrived here with Shawn and Rhonda Markle.  They had been in Lusaka for the Great East Road assembly conference where Shawn was speaking.  Phil and Helen Stevenson and family have also arrived from N Ireland for 5 weeks.  Phil helps on the maintenance side and Helen is a midwife, though has not been able to spend too much time at the hospital because of family responsibilities.  Their three children have been welcome visitors on the paediatric ward and have shared many activities with the patients. There was a great game of Jenga underway one day when I went on the ward, not to mention loom band sessions.  Then at the end of July I am expecting two visitors from Scotland dv – Hannah Currie from Kennaway and her friend, Rebecca, who is a teacher. Hannah is wanting to study medicine at university and wants to see it for real out here.

Dr Paul left us just one week ago. Somehow it seems much longer than that – possibly a reflection of all that has happened in the interval! There was a huge flurry of operating theatre activity before he left which meant that folk were working till midnight on occasions, especially as we had a few emergencies in that time.  Another surgeon is coming out from Canada for a few weeks in August to help with the surgical load in Dr David’s absence.  Before Dr Paul left he was able to organise for three paediatric cases who need specialist surgery to be transferred to Mukinge hospital (SIM hospital here in Zambia) in early August as they will have a paediatric surgeon visiting.  Two of the three families are already aware of the plan, but I am still trying to contact the third.  Hopefully he will attend in time. It would be such a shame to miss this opportunity.

After three busy evenings at the hospital last week – resuscitating sick babies I was glad to have a day out on Thursday.  Grace Summers and I went out with Dorothy Woodside who does a lot of community health outreach from Chit.  The luxury had been arranged as I needed to contact one of the paediatric surgery cases I had already mentioned and also I wanted to find a girl I had seen last February with a leg length discrepancy and for whom my orthotist friend in UK had fixed a shoe raise.  Off we went via Mumbezhi  health centre – down to the pontoon at Watopa over the Kabompo river for our first main stop.  On our way back we turned off the ‘main’ road to visit patients in a village – and Dorothy’s Land Rover ran aground with the wheels in two deep ruts and the body supported on the mound in between them.  Eventually help came from the village in the form of a group of hefty men who helped Dorothy’s worker put branches under the wheels and – heave-ho we were mobile again.  We had a nshima lunch in a little village house and then set off again, stopping at little villages to check blood pressures and  distribute medicines en route.  We visited just about every school in the area looking for the girl who needed the special shoes – no joy. Eventually at our last call in the village where I needed to contact the family about surgery, Dorothy asked yet again – and immediately one girl recognised her and was able to tell us where her parents lived. It happened that the girl was staying with grandparents further away. The Lord answered our prayers that we would find the family – the only details I had were her forename and that she came from Mumbezhi.  Out of all the villages that comprise Mumbezhi and all the people living there the Lord led us to just the right place and the mission was accomplished as the parents will take the shoes over to her.  We arrived back tired but happy at the end of the day, and very grateful to the Lord for His preservation and help.

I had hoped this week would have been a little quieter, but….. I was barely home on Monday night when my phone went and I was called out for a sick baby who needed the full range of investigations before we started antibiotics.  The most challenging bit was gaining intravenous access as the baby was chubby, and was crying inconsolably.  I could see no veins – but thought I felt one and the cannula went in perfectly on the first attempt.  Once again I acknowledged the Lord’s help.  By the time baby number 1 was sorted, sick baby number 2 had arrived, also requiring sorting.  When that was finished the others were taking a mother to theatre with a very difficult delivery of her baby.  That took care of the rest of the evening and I didn’t arrive home till 01.00h.

We had a couple of deaths recently which have really touched me. One was Charles, my old friend with leprosy whom I had treated all last summer. He was admitted as an emergency with very low blood pressure and suddenly arrested the following morning. We worked on resuscitation for some time but the Lord had taken him home – he was a believer. The other man was an entirely different story – he was in one of our ICU beds and was clearly very ill and on the brink of eternity. I could not help but notice the look of fear on his face as he went into death without the Saviour.  How good it is to have a certain hope, based on what the Lord Jesus accomplished at the cross and to know that we will ultimately arrive ‘home’ to be with Him!

My workers have been looking out for fresh fish from the river for me. Yesterday Moses arrived back at lunchtime when he would normally be at home, out of breath and clearly in a hurry. He had found a man selling fresh bream. Off he went again with the cool box firmly attached to my bicycle which he borrowed, and returned with 8 fine specimens including one really good-sized fish. Supper menu was immediately altered – I cooked some of the catch for my visitors and it was delicious – really fresh and a nice change from the usual meat dishes.  

Abednego, my other worker, enjoys baking!  He is very useful, especially if the hospital is very busy and I have to produce cakes for the girls dorm Bible study on a Friday night. It certainly takes the stress off me!

DV I am off to Dipalata this weekend for a couple of days After the busy-ness of the past few weeks the short break will be very welcome.

I thought pictures this time should feature modes of transport. For those of you who have been waiting for it, here is a picture of Ken Wilkins bicycle which is being put to good use over here.  The second picture was taken in the little plane as we returned from clinic at Dipalata. As the smallest, I am relegated to the back seat, though it is easier to get into a photo when seated there – Kait Speichinger and Paul Osteen are seated in front of me.

Ken Wilkins Bicycle

Plane Trip