Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weighing patients

Lynn Demanes & Blake Dozier weigh patients before sending them to the
doctor's area


Waiting to see the doctor

Star Ferguson and Mary Britt

Blake Dozier

Katie Miller

Eye clinic

Monday, July 20, 2009


We are working on our second clinic day at Kanchindu. Yesterday we felt like the lines were shorter than usual, but at the end of the day we had still seen well over 2200 people. I think mostly people just trickled in during the day rather than all showing up in the morning.

In any case, we were able to let most of the team stop a few minutes early to have a bit of daylight to get to their tents and organize. This morning we have had two patients, one with a broken arm, that needed to be transported to hospital. Fortunately, the roads out of this village are good.

I don't like to talk about illness among the team, because it worrys those back home, but given that we have no one seriously ill, I will tell you that many on the team are experiencing upset stomachs. The problems don't tend last more than 24 hours, but being sick in the bush is frustrating.

We will try to post some audio blogs later, but the next 24 hours for us will be a blur, so our communication may drop off sharply. Don't be concerned if they do.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Headed to Kanchindu

Yesterday was a much needed day of rest. The three clinic days were very difficult, and it was nice to have a day to catch up. Much of the team traveled few kilometers to see Mueler's Farm and get a tour. The day in the middle is essential to allow the team to rest, but even more essential to repack our things and be fully prepared for the second half.

We are thriving and appreciate your interest in ZMM.

Moving Day

This is a moving day. We are loading up to head to Kanchindu. We started early and will arrive just before dark. More to come.


Alysa and Katie


Dr. Bridgewater

Mary and James

Gibb and Sheryl



Cheering for the net ball team

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Audio Reports

Audio Reports

Audio Reports

Simalundu Day Two

Breakfast was served approximately 11:30pm Central Time in the US, but for us it was 6:30am. We attempted to have our clinic running by 7:30 this morning and were mostly successful. By the time we let the first group through the queue there were already 500 people in dental line. It is going to be a long hard day for the dentists.
Yesterday we were able to see just under 2500 patients not including those coming for vaccinations or HIV testing, but given the lines that are already in place we are likely to see more today.
The team is thriving. There are, of course, a few of our own team members who are ill. Respiratory issues are the main complaint. It is winter, and dry. The dust hangs in the air and it is impossible to go the day without breathing in a lot of it. Similarly, warmth and cooking require campfires, and between the smoke, dust, and lack of rest, it is pretty easy to have a sore throat. No one is seriously ill however, and we are, after all, a medical mission, so we have plenty of medical attention.
We will try to do some audio reports as the day wears on, assuming the satellite phone will cooperate.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Audio Reports

Dr. Lapke

Ronny McQueen

Terry Hargrove

Satellite phone reception is poor, thus the poor audio quality. Sorry.

Laura Massingill works in the eye line

Report from Simalundu

You have to take a baby out of its mother's arms to weigh it. You
have to weigh babies before you can prescribe medicine. So, the sure
sign that the medical mission is underway is to listen for the crying
There is a triage station where weight, among other things, is
recorded on a piece of paper before the patients move on to queue up
in the doctor's line. The workers at the triage station are the most
pleasant and wonderful women, but their arms and faces are white and
most of these babies aren't accustomed to seeing white faces. As a
result, the crying starts early. Zambian mothers like mothers
worldwide know how to fix the problem, but it is usually after the
next in line starts so the sound is almost constant.
It is Tuesday (I think) and we are at Simalundu and yesterday was a
moving day, so we were unable to stop and post to the blog. We may
post some late information about Monday well after Monday.
Simalundu is a village of people who were displaced by the building of
the Caribba River Dam. When their valley flooded, they were
relocated, and clearly the land they received was not as fertile as
the land they gave up to the lake. They have two wells, but one is
dry at the moment, and the other barely gives up enough water to
provide daily drinks to the local people. As a result, we carry lots
of water with us so that when the population swells to several
thousand, rather than the customary 200 or 300, people have water to
drink and to cook with. We also bring about 500 pounds of ground corn
for cooking that is given to the local villagers. Just now the village
headman came and asked if we could transport some of his people to get
water. We will send one of the smaller trucks to help them.
One of the first through the line this morning was a young man with
Elephantiasis so bad he could hardly walk. Unfortunately there is
little we can do to treat the overarching problem, however he did have
open wounds that we were able to treat, and he was given wraps that,
if used daily, will keep his condition from getting worse. Sheryl
Ramsey has been working with freewheelchairs.com out of California,
and they donated several chairs for our mission this year. On our
previous trips, we had only enough used wheelchairs to give to the
most desperate needs.
This was our first morning to set up a clinic, and we got it done but
slowly. The first day is always partially a training day when
everyone gets a feel for how it comes together. I know that when we
move on Thursday our second set up will happen much more quickly.
The need is great here. People are undernourished more than in many
of the villages we have visited, and in need of medical care. We are
blessed with a wonderful, if smaller than usual team of volunteers
from Zambia and the US.
We will try to post more as time permits.
Please forgive the disjointed nature of the posts, communication is
tricky here, and we sometimes have to post many things at once and
often out of order.
Thanks for your interest.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Team meeting

Jay gives drivers their shirts

Colored tape

Yellow tape for tent number. Red and white tape for house number. Tan
tape for name. This highly developed system helps assure that
everyone's luggage will be delivered to the correct location by our
capable A-Team. Here Jan Miller and Jill and Blaine Whitlock set up
the labeling station.

Audio Reports

Babies at Namwianga

Marti Wise

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Minister of Finance

It takes a lot of people using their talents to make the medical mission happen. LaDonna Armstrong of Surprise, Arizona helps the team with record keeping and many other tasks including exchanging US Dollars to Zambian Kwacha. The current exchange rate is roughly 5000 Kwacha to one dollar.

Team is on the ground

Everyone who is supposed to be here is here. We still have a handful of stragglers that aren't scheduled to arrive until tomorrow and will travel from Livingstone to Namwianga Mission with a group of Livingstone Nurses who are coming to participate, but the majority of the American team is here.

The flights arrived on time just after noon today, and they all brought out their luggage, labeled it with special colored tape and house numbers and we put it on the back of a lorry (truck). We strapped it down and sent it on its way in advance.

Everyone looked a bit stunned, that 18+ hour over-the-water flight really takes it out of you. We had arranged for three Coaster buses to be there to transport our team to the mission, but one of the buses didn't show, so at the last minute we crammed everyone into two buses. Unfortunately for a few, the bus (we had labled it bus #3) broke down a few miles out of town.

I was driving a small vehicle and turned around to find them and our local mechanic Martin Mwembeli had them running again in about 10 minutes, or at least that is what we thought:-)
It stopped again after about another 20 miles. (at least this time I had the good sense to stay back with the mechanic). So I sent Martin back to Livingstone to get his tools, and called Namwianga by cell phone and had Jay Starky start toward us in an old yellow school bus. I figured Martin would beat him to us, but there was no assurance that we could get the Coaster running again, so we just let them race to fix our problem.

Being on the side of the highway stranded is not a nice place to be in Zambia. The traffic doesn't tend to slow down at all, but having 40 white folk standing by the side of the road at least got a lot of people's attention.

Martin made it back first and was able to get the Coaster running. Eventually Jay showed up in the yellow-dawg and we loaded a few of the passengers on it and headed out. It wasn't long till the Coaster died again, so we loaded the remaining passengers on the Yellow-dawg and headed home. The empty Coaster passed us along the way. If none of this is making sense to you, then perhaps you are actually getting the point:-)

In any case, we all arrived safely at the mission, and I was so impressed and touched by the group that rode the Yellow-dawg down an hours worth of incredibly dusty and hot roads. It was a full day of travel that should have taken a few hours, but they were kind and gracious.

Tomorrow we will disperse to one of three church assemblies, and then join all of the wonderful Zambian volunteers for our longest information meeting. When it is all said and done we will have well over 230 individuals to move, feed, house etc. for the next two weeks, and I can't wait.

Thanks for your prayers and thoughts.

We will do our best to post daily, but sometimes it is just impossible to make it happen.


Safe arrival

Everyone arrived safely to Namwianga. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf.

Food Preparation

Ruhtt Mbunwae and Emily Calder prepare meat pies for the team to enjoy for one of their meals.

Everyone that was scheduled to arrive today made it to Livingstone. It is nearly 4pm here and the team is on it's way by bus to Namwianga.

Friday, July 10, 2009

First wave of nurses arrive

The first wave of nurses arrived just before 10pm. They looked stunned and dazed from a very long journey, but they arrived safely. The remainder of the nurses are stranded in JoBerg, but are booked on a flight Friday morning, and the Nursing Counsel has agreed to work on Saturday to conduct the interviews.

The early team had a traditional meal this evening. It was already planned that we have this meal this day, but it was also lucky, because it could be cooked outside, and the electricity to the mission was off most of the day.

The meal had rape ( a lot like collard greens mixed with peanut butter), capenta (bait fish, dried, reconstituted and cooked with tomatoes), nsima, rice, cabbage and stewed chicken. Ellie even pulled out some mopani worms, but I didn't see many people take one:0)

The work schedule has been frantic, with the team arriving tomorrow, but it seems to be coming together well.

More to come


Chicken processing, Namwianga style

Nothing but the freshest food is served to our team members!

Nurses back on schedule

Due to South African Airways' computers being down, our nurses who have to come early to interview with the Zambian Nursing Ministry, missed their overseas flight. Several of them were able to catch a morning flight today (Friday), but many had to wait behind. After a short wait, they were able to get a flight to Lusaka, and we have arranged to get them registered tomorrow afternoon.



Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rebecca Ferguson

Ryan Maxwell

Ryan is working on one of our King Canopies. Later in the day the 125 pound Ryan pitched in to move the huge bags of mealy meal. The bags are the size of a small cow and weigh 110 pounds, so it was reported that seeing Ryan move them himself was worth the admission price:)

Alysa and Rachel prepare salad

Alysa Isenhower from Putnam, Texas washes lettuce from the garden
behind the Hamby house. Dinner also included papaya from trees in the

Lyle Britt prepares generator

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Hunter helps a young man named Axe into a new wheelchair. These chairs are specially
designed to be easily repaired with locally available hardware. We always have more demand for wheelchairs than available wheelchairs.

McQueen inside water tank

They hold lots of water and at least one Ronnie McQueen:-)

Water buffalo

Ronny McQueen climbs inside one of our 400 gallon water trailers to
scrub it out.


Preparation is in full swing. The last major wave of personnel arrived Monday and activity is picking up. Star Ferguson has secured a room at the college to use as a place to sort and pack medications, and several team members spend the entire day getting medicine ready. One of the reasons we are able to see such large numbers of patients is that much of the most common medications are pre-sorted in advance into small bags and labeled. By doing this in advance, we are able to keep up with the patient flow.

Lyle Britt and a crew of helpers used a borrowed tractor to lift an exceptionally heavy generator onto a set of wheels that he had constructed in the US and sent over on a container. Once on wheels the generator was pulled behind a Land Rover about a mile to the radio station compound. Once in place the generator will allow the radio tower lights, etc. to operate even with the local electrical power is out. It was tricky moving it into place, but with enough people and a lot of patience they got it done.

The team is scheduled to arrive Saturday with a few of the nurses scheduled to arrive in Lusaka on Thursday. New nurses must undergo an interview by the government before being able to practice, so they have to come early to be ready to go out with the team

More to come



Leonard (our cook) and Kel listen while Eleanor gives directions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Power of Touch

Jessalyn Massingill took this photo, and I think it captures some of the essence of the medical mission. There is a great deal of power and healing in touch, even with a gloved hand. We are, after all, a MEDICAL mission. We take every reasonable precaution to keep ourselves healthy and to communicate trust in our professional and medically appropriate approach. We follow the rules of the Zambian government, we seek licensure of all of our medical volunteers, and we follow medical protocols, but we are also a medical MISSION. We are there to be a witness to the Lord's love and mercy. Sometimes the two seem goals seem to compete, but most of the time they are nicely intertwined.

I want to encourage our team this year to seek this wonderful balance. You are going to be very tempted to sacrifice your own rest, health, and even emotional / spiritual balance to do as much as you can while you are there. I think the motivation is appropriate, but I want to encourage you to remember that you can't serve others if you are sick yourself, whether it be physically or spiritually.

Take care of yourself, find your balance, and you will be able to be a powerful witness to God's love.


Audio Reports

Matthew Prather's Passing

One of the defining elements of Zambia Medical Mission is that we have encouraged participation by young people and families. Those in the picture worked last year in the children's ministry.

Matthew (lower right corner) and his brother Stephen (top right) participated in ZMM because of Dr. Benkhe.

Matthew had a heart for helping others.

Below is a message from Calab Ramsey (top left).

I’ve been in touch with Stephen and he says that he and his dad definitely need our prayers. He says his dad is extremely torn up about the everything, he says that he's trying to stay strong for his dad but he's also torn up. His mom has a bruised brain and a fracture at the base of her neck and two broken ribs, she is not breathing on her own. she has good pressure in her head and she is somewhat stable so they are cautiously optimistic. About Matthew, I've realized through my own tears that I shouldn't worry about him because there is no way that he isn't in heaven right now, he was too kind-hearted not to be.