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Zambia News - Final Days from Trip 4 (06/03/2016)

Blog  Final days of December - February visit

This blog posting was begun before I left Chitokoloki on 15 February, but was not completed / uploaded until after when I have been home to Cholsey, and since returned again to Chit. As you read below you will appreciate that the last weeks of my recent visit were, as usual, full.

The date of initial writing was 9 February.

I can hardly believe that I have just one week left at Chitokoloki before I head to Lusaka and then onward to UK for three short weeks at home.  The time has certainly passed quickly and I am reminded of the words of the Psalmist:-

‘So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom’, Psalm 90 v 12

We none of us know how long we have here, but it is our duty to God to use each day that He gives  us for His glory and in His service.

‘Give of your best to the Master;

Naught else is worthy His love.

He gave Himself for your ransom,

Gave up His glory above.

Laid down His life without murmur,

You from sin’s ruin to save.

Give Him your heart’s adoration;

Give Him the best that you have.’

The hospital work continues – there are always sick patients!  This last week the orthopaedic team from Lusaka made their regular two monthly visit for outpatient clinic and surgery.  These are always particularly busy days as patients come from Chavuma, Dipalata, Zambezi and Loloma, not to mention our own patients, all waiting patiently to be seen. The clinic did not finish till 8pm on Thursday, but the surgical list on Friday finished much earlier there were only a few major cases.  Dr Giorgio and his assistant left for Lusaka early on Saturday morning. I was not greatly involved with the orthopaedic clinic this time, not least because I had two very sick patients on the ward who demanded a lot of medical input and frequent reviews.  Sadly both of them died, one on Friday afternoon and the other on Saturday morning.  However, we read in Matthew 18v14, ‘Even so it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should perish ‘ – the work of Christ on the cross of Calvary is sufficient  for them, and so the sadness is tempered with the blessed realisation that they are in heaven with the Saviour.

Heading home from Children’s ward – everything on your head!

On Monday last we were at Chavuma for clinic and surgery – that is Dr McAdam, a visitor from Canada, Chris, the pilot, and myself. The day’s work went well, both in the operation room and in clinic and we enjoyed fellowship with Tamako and Ayumi, both commended from Japan, Nora Draper and Alice White (former missionaries in Angola and Zambia) and Martha Logan.  All was well until we were looking to return home when there was news of a major storm at Chit which would make flying very difficult;  by the time the storm had past, the darkness would have descended and  we are not well-equipped for landing in the dark.  So…. We were marooned at Chavuma without even a toothbrush!  Of course, the ladies came to our aid, providing all that we might have needed (at least for me; not too sure how the menfolk fared). I stayed with Tamako while the 3 men stayed in a presently unoccupied house.  Dr David regaled us with many stories of his days in Congo over the supper table.  We left for Chit early the next morning and were back by 09.00h, ready for Dr David’s theatre list.

At Chavuma: left-right

Back row,  David McAdam, Basil Tambakis (visiting from Canada)

Front row, Tamako Monobe, Alice White, Martha Logan

My good friend Eddie, the young man in his early 20s  with cerebral palsy who lives in the village, is very happy. He was desperate to own a mobile phone.  I was able to buy him a basic phone in Lusaka then sort out a SIM card and its registration before giving the phone to him. He was over the moon and looked quite a cool dude with his earphones in place. He likes to phone me up to check that I am still there– it usually means me phoning him back for a short conversation which is not always easy to follow.  As a result of the gift of the phone, Eddie’s sister from Lusaka contacted me – she is a school teacher there and previously Eddie and his brothers lived with her.  I was able to meet up with her as I passed through Lusaka on the way home to UK and it was interesting to learn more about the family from our conversation.  Thanks to the kindness of folk in N Ireland, via Lorraine McAdam, I was also able to give him some new clothes.  The pictures below show his pleasure.  He is not saved; nor are other members of his family. His younger brother shows no interest; I am only just getting to know his sister. Please pray for this family, that God would work in their hearts and that each will find the Saviour as their own.

There is nothing like ‘going out with a bang’, or so it seems.  I have been taking regular on-calls on Friday nights to save the missionary nurses from having  3-day weekend responsibilities – particularly arduous if the first night is a bad one.  I had a number of very quiet Fridays – until my last one when everything changed. Maternity called me about a new admission in labour in the early hours of the morning.   The baby turned out to be a transverse lie, and,  therefore , would not deliver vaginally.  So a few phone calls, plus a trip down the road on the quad bike, and the full theatre team was assembled.  After all, if I have to get up, then why shouldn’t everybody else have to do the same?! The baby was fine – a strapping baby boy  - but the surgery took longer than we had anticipated and none of us was back home till after 06.00h (when ward round is supposed to start at 07.30h!).  Ultimately both mother and baby did well, and the team survived even if we were tired the following day!  The busy-ness continued on the Lord’s Day when there was another C-section in the morning and later the nurses asked me to look at a couple of sick new admissions to the children’s ward after the English Gospel meeting, one of whom needed a blood transfusion.

Finally I was packed and on the plane to Chavuma on Monday morning where we picked up Alice and Nora (see above) who were on their way back to US and Canada respectively.  It was nice to have their company on the flight, and, though we stayed in different places in Lusaka,  we all met at  the airport on the Tuesday night as we were on the same flight to Dubai where our ways diverged.

While in Lusaka I was able to  go to Immigration to check on my missing work permit.  Imagine my joy and thankfulness to the Lord when I emerged literally 5minutes  later with the permit in my hand. This makes entry into Zambia much easier when I return in 10 days time – without the permit one is allowed in on a report order which has to be renewed every so often.  I was also able to sort the laminated version of my Zambian driving licence – another thing to thank theLord for.  A good friend in Lusaka has collected it for me and I can collect it from her on my way up country.

There is always a strong pull when I have to leave Chit for a visit home – it feels like a piece of me is left behind.  Yet the visits home are important too for refreshment and encouragement in the things of the Lord - as well as checking on my house (and the pile of mail that accumulates in my absence!!).   I look forward to setting out again on 9 March, along with a medical student form Nottingham University who is spending her elective at Chit and a paediatric dietician from Lurgan. I value your prayers that all that is done will be to His glory alone.

On the way home from the village Gospel meeting, Shawn Markle and local brethren on the quad