Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The team is at Simpwesi. It is a fairly remote village that we have been too in the past. They were able to arrive before dark again! It is very difficult to arrive in the dark and get settled in for the night, so arriving during daylight is a big plus.
I am at the mission because I picked up James Thompson, a radio engineer from Abilene Texas yesterday. He will be working to configure our studios for the new radio station during the coming few days. Jenny Pippin and Ronica McQueen are also at the mission with their children, so we traveled with a singing group from Namwianga Secondary School to Katundu this morning about 8am and stayed until about 1pm. There were more than 400 people at a Gospel-meeting of sorts, and they were all packed into a small space, but the singing was great!
I will provide you further updates as I have them. There will be several audio posts that were recorded earlier that will posted throughout the next few days.
Elizabeth Wiley from Abilene Texas. She is the youngest member of ZMM 2008 and makes friends quickly.
Hannah Orozco - somebody has to hold the babies whilst the dentists work;-)
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Our second day of clinics is off to a good start. We had breakfast at 6:30 and had the clinic running prior to 8am. The crowds are already larger than yesterday. We had one elderly woman come in with a broken leg and actually broke through the skin. We have transported her to Mamba where there is a local hospital.
It was cooler last night, but still not cold (according to some anyway). It will likely prove to be much colder later in the week. Last night, our kitchen crew cooked up mashed potatoes and gravy, which our Zambian volunteers weren't too thrilled about it, but our American volunteers dearly loved. We still had traditional nsima for the Zambians. We also had fried chicken which seemed to satisfy both camps:-) Imagine cooking enough fried chicken for 250 people over an open fire. And imagine doing it without a freezer and pre-prepared vacuum-packed chicken already cut up and ready to fry. Needless to say there were lots of feathers around camp, and some tired kitchen workers.
We will try to post some photos, later, but the conditions are just too slow and cumbersome to post them here.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I will try to do some photos or audio if all goes well tomorrow.
This place is very near the Zimbabwe border, and the crowds have not been as intense as we had anticipated. It has been a good day, but we won't set any number records.
We arrived about an hour before dark yesterday, and the advance team was almost finished setting up all of the tents. It gave the team a rare opportunity to slow down and enjoy the welcome of the village-women and a few moments of just looking around. Very soon however everyone was settling into their tents and getting ready for a night of camping.
The temperature has been very mild (warm) which made last night very nice, and today a bit on the warm side.
We set up the clinic in just over an hour and were seeing patients by 9am today. We saw electric lines coming in though we did not see any electric lights near the village last night. Caribba Dam generates electricity for much of this part of Africa, so we see transmission lines even in places where no electricity is used.
We are all generally healthy and thriving.
I will stop for now, to be sure that this post goes through and if it is successful will try to add more later.
Thanks for your interest.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
This is the most relaxed day on the entire schedule. The team came in for breakfast starting at about 7am and finished up approximately 8:30. After worship, the team will have lunch at the Hamby Guest House and then we will have a lengthy meeting to prepare for the week ahead. When our Zambian volunteers join us we will approach 300 total travelers. It is a daunting task to move, feed, and house such a large group.
Tomorrow we start early and send an advance team out to construct a tent city and move everyone's luggage to their assigned tent. We ask that team members carry one small bag for the outing in addition to a sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Still it requires several large trucks to haul our katundu (stuff) from place to place.
Our first site is Kanchindu, which is very near the Zimbabwe border and south of Namwianga. We anticipate a very large crowd, partly due to Zimbabwean refuges who are fleeing Zimbabwe to find food and safety. We will spend a larger proportion of our travel-time on tarred roads as we move toward the center of the country before turning south on dirt roads. As a result we are using rented buses to help move our crew.
After our meeting this afternoon, we will have the first annual King Canopy Tent Contest. We have to put up a couple of dozen large canopies each year to shield off the sun during the clinics, and they are not particularly easy to erect. We also have trouble getting parts for them. This year we are inviting teams of novices to have a race putting the canopies up as a means to train new volunteers. We have identified a new brand of canopies that we will switch to over time that require substantially less effort to erect, but in the meantime we need to train all hands to put them up and take them down quickly. The ability to erect the canopies quickly contribute to our ability to start a clinic on time, which translates to a hundred or more people being treating during a day. So while it seems trivial to train people to put up canopies, in the end it is actually very important.
More to come
Have a great Sunday
Saturday, July 12, 2008
They drove from Livingstone to Namwianga on three rented Coaster buses. Two of them were actually very nice buses so the ride, was slow, but not particularly uncomfortable.
Everyone seems to be healthy and happy if worn out from travel.
Many of the team will go to village churches tomorrow to worship, and we will begin loading equipment and supplies in the afternoon.
More later, but we wanted to let family and friends know we are all safe with our feet on the ground in Zambia.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Please pray for the success of this effort. The resulting broadcasts will dramatically improve communications in this rural area.
The radio station studio is however coming together nicely.
In any case, the nurses were able to take a flight out at 10:50 this morning and have apparently arrived in Lusaka (at last word a few of them had emerged from the immigration line.) We have also heard that one piece of luggage did not arrive, but we are not sure.
The group is however safely on Zambian soil and is headed for a late afternoon visit with the nursing council.
The remainder of the team will arrive tomorrow if all goes well.
Thanks for your interest.
As I looked on my iPhone to check out the latest blog, I found that no one had updated it for awhile. As the discoverer of this fact, I apparently also volunteered to record the next update. So here goes.
Preparations are moving rapidly. The nurses are in
The pharmaceutical supplies are nearly packed. Star
Some of the most exciting work has been occurring at the soon-to-be radio station. A shipping container (about the size of a semi’s trailer) is being transformed into a housing for 90.5, “Namwianga Christian Radio”. The exterior has a coat of paint, and the interior is being walled into 3 separate rooms for different functions. We hope that it soon will be placed below the tower to broadcast hope and good news to the surrounding area.
In the meantime, we await the arrival of the rest of our team. Plans are underway to take hope and healing to some of the poorest people in this poor nation. God is so good to work through us. We thank you for your prayers as we are here, and for saving a place at the table when we return.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Sorry for the length of time between posts. Telecommunications in Zambia are not at their best at the moment. You may have seen news reports related to the death of Zambia’s president in a French hospital. It is still not clear whether the reports are true. If the president dies, there will be at least a four day mourning period in which there can be no public gatherings, but at the moment the news reports are saying that he is still alive. This is naturally a troubling time for Zambians.
We started our day with several rounds of discouragement. Construction on the radio tower came to a complete stand-still shortly after breakfast due to a broken rope, but we are hopeful the new rope and a new jacking device will be available first thing on Saturday.
Also we heard that a provincial government official had not yet approved our clinic sites for the second half of the medical mission. It is complex and unusual, but in short if we cannot get it resolved in the next three or four days, we will choose to go into another province with our clinics. While this is a minor inconvenience for us, it will be a great disappointment to those in the villages we had planned to visit. Many of those we treat are not able to have any formal health care during the year, and our visit provides them a significant opportunity.
Please pray for the health of Zambia's president, that the tower continues to grow skyward, and that we will be able to follow our original plan and serve a particularly underserved region with our medical mission. We will do our best to post more frequently in the coming days.
Those on our early-team are thriving. We did finish our work day off with a hot-dog roast in the back yard in celebration of the US independence day. It is just one more opportunity to share our culture.
Thanks for your interest.