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Zambia News - Ros Jeffersons's Blog 3: ‘En route to Chitokoloki.’ (21/7/14)

It seems like a lot has happened since my last posting.  Probably the most significant is my arrival at Chitokoloki, my final destination, last Wednesday.  Since then life has been very full!

I had a busy few days on the Copper Belt – I saw a lot of children with disability in the Wukwashi school and several more in a group in one of the townships around Kitwe. Very much my ‘bread and butter’ stuff back home, but no physios, occupational therapists etc over here to refer them on to.  Parents have limited resources but want to do the best they can for their children.  It was exciting to see the beginnings of the new Wukwashi school building – the first pouring of cement for one of the classrooms took place on the day I was there.

On 11 July Margie Gould and I headed up country to Loloma mission station.  Tim and Joy Beer serve the Lord here and it was great to get to spend time with them and their family again.  Joy has just headed off to US for a month, taking her mother back to Chicago where she lives with Joy’s brother and his wife, so Tim and the children are at home.  I stayed with Marian Ronald and Daisy Hanna, two missionary sisters who have been serving the Lord at Loloma for almost 50 years each.  I had the opportunity to spend time in the hospital there and to meet with Dr Nkonde, the Congolese doctor who is the medical lead. It was good to get my brain thinking tropical medicine again!

The Lord’s Day in Loloma was quite different from the one that preceded it. A far cry from the large gathering in Lusaka - I attended the meetings in a small village assembly along with Daisy Hanna and two local brethren who were to be the preachers.  Timekeeping is not strict and we were the first to arrive.  We had  with us a wheelchair for an elderly lady who is cared for by the local Christians. Unfortunately, various bits of it fell off in transit.  I looked around the company, the realisation slowly dawning that I probably had the most idea as to how it should fit together again.  So I turned wheelchair technician - all dressed up for the meeting (photo attached).  After a  couple of vain attempts I managed to get one footplate properly fitted and the son of one of the preachers copied what I did and sorted the other. (For those of you who look carefully, you will see that the footplates are still not aligned – one of the local men with tools was going to sort that.)  Of course I had a large audience of children – for them it was probably the highlight of their day and I can imagine the conversation round the fire in the village that night.  We were still in good time for the meeting which started about 1 hour late.  The dear folk prepared a nshima for us afterwards –  be sure to choose the bit of chicken whose anatomy is immediately identifiable!

Tanis Walker collected me on Wednesday (16 July) and I finally arrived at Chit. I have been accommodated in the annex – the newest of the houses on the station (see picture). It is huge with 4 bedrooms, one with ensuite (where the mirror must have been put up by  a very tall person  - it was so high that the top of my head was below the edge. No room for vanity here!), large lounge with verandah, dining room, kitchen  and utility room – any one fancy a visit…??.  It was great to unpack finally and to rediscover what was in the boxes I sent out via MMN in January.  On Thursday morning I started at the hospital. Thus far I have concentrated on the paediatric ward and maternity, though I want to get to grips with the adult wards too.  Today (Saturday 19th) was quieter- I had folk for lunch and then went to help make up craft packs for the girls camp which will take place in early August.

It is good to be here – please do pray that the Lord will guide me in my involvement in the work, both medical and spiritual, that there may be something for His glory.

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I travelled on to Kabompo on Tuesday to have an overnight with Don and Elva Brooks (Canada and New Zealand). They do a great work among the African people – there is always someone knocking at their door needing help of some sort, and there is good opportunity to share the Gospel.  The highlight of that visit was to go to the village to see two brothers with cerebral palsy whom I had seen during my first visit to Chitokoloki back in 2007.  Elva has been very helpful to them in procuring PET wheelchairs (see picture) for them, as well as standing frames.  It is a great burden to their parents to care for both of them in their little village home without all the conveniences and support services there are back home.