Saturday, March 09, 2013

Esther, Rob and a week at Chiulo

Rob and Esther Reich, sogros

It's amazing enough when family comes from far away to visit! Solomon wrote, “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.” But Rob and Esther Reich did not just come to visit us last month; they came to see Kalukembe and dream with us about possibilities of working, living and serving together there. In the short week we had together, we worked on the wards, performed operations, consulted on patients in clinic (Rob provided key HIV insights), attended the big annual IESA service (lots of church chutzpah, very little gospel speech), and passed our free time with long walks and talks.  We hope they had ample time to observe, question and process and then repeat that cycle again. 

Rob is a physician assistant and Esther a nurse, both who work at Esperanza health center in North Philadelphia. They already have much experience in community health and ministry; speak fluent Spanish (just a small jump from Portuguese); love the Lord and love caring for others; are simpatico; and are family (we'd more likely have an 'iron sharpening iron' experience; or, they'd just tell us when we're off the deep end). Looks great! Sign them up! . . . well, we know there are things to still ponder and pray about for them. God knows the desire of our hearts is to serve together with them at Kalukembe; but wherever they are and will be, we feel blessed to know them and to see their life stories be played out. Thanks again for coming, and a big thanks to Elias and Sammy for letting your parents come visit!
On a walk in Kalukembe.
Same, sad tune. Very few medications at Kalukembe.

On another subject, Daniel went back to Chiulo hospital for a week to fill the void of no physicians last week. Zach Rossfeld, a 4th year medical student from Ohio State University came along to help and posted a really thoughtful blog entry, which you can access by clicking here

Zach Rossfeld, in front of the HIV/AIDS outpatient clinic/container at Chiulo

This upcoming week, we have plans to go north to Huambo for Priscila to give a fistula talk and then back south to Chiulo with Dr.s Chan and Chen to keep helping out there until the new doctors are to arrive on the 19th. More to follow!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Kalene mission, Zambia. 1.17-2.1.2013

Kalene Assembly, where the Brethren Christians of the area worship. Way in the far northwest corner of the country, close to both Angola and the Congo, Kalene is a mission with a hospital that has been serving the area since 1908. This was our second place we visited while in Zambia for the month.

Kalene mission hospital, front. The hospital houses around 200 beds, with currently mostly pediatric patients. A nursing school is attached to the hospital. Roger Holland, an American family practice-trained doctor is the only full time physician there. The number of Western visitors to the hospital is comparatively much less than Chitokoloki.
Some of what we did. Here, Priscila is operating with an OBGYN who came for a week from Ohio. Daniel lost track of the number of hysterectomies and BTL's, but it was somewhere around "a lot." Daniel often did the anesthesia (spinals and ketamine, baby) as well as other procedures in the OR, and saw patients on the wards and in the clinic.
Priscila with the family of one of the patients, in the surgical waiting area. Almost all the patients come from the Lunda tribe, whose territory spans Angola, Congo and Zambia. In fact, two provinces in eastern Angola are named after the tribe. There are sad stories about how heavily these people suffered through the slave trade. . . . We could speak in Portuguese to most of the patients who came from Angola (though the flip-side of speaking French to the Congolese didn't hold as often). This certainly helped when we couldn't find a translator. Nasekelele!
At the headwaters of the Zambezi river. No crocs here! Just lots of fun exploring the rocks and nearby hydro-electric plant (spear-headed by an orthopedic surgeon from Northern Ireland, Peter Gill). Zeke especially loved the natural water slide. And the water. And the rocks. And the bugs.
Our cousin, Abigail, came to visit us! She was with us the entire time at Kalene. She came with us to the hospital, played with Zeke and was a great companion. We discovered berries in our back yard and engorged as many as our bellies could hold.
Zeke displaying the giant grapefruits of the area. Kalene is most famous for pineapples that grow for all but 9 weeks out of the year. Aside from pineapples, the area is full of fruitful goodness. Coming from Angola, where everything seems to be imported and very little fresh fruit exists, we were floored by the delicious bounty!
Seen on a local grocery store wall. Glad to know our lives are secure at Kabs Best.