Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
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.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
We are thriving and appreciate your interest in ZMM.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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
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
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.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
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.
Friday, July 10, 2009
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
Thursday, July 9, 2009
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:)
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
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