Looking at the calendar, I am told that March is half over. My flight home is looming a mere 10 days from now which means that projects are wrapping up and my time in Mwandi is coming to an end.
Since my last blog post, there has been another American team of doctors who have come to serve. They were based primarily at OVC (the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children project) instead of at Mwandi Mission Hospital. To say this team was awesome would not even begin to describe them. Filled with beautiful human beings, the team was made up of almost-graduated-residents and medical students about to start the residency who all originated from North Carolina. Their southern accents and smiles were welcomed at OVC due to the report that the team lead, Dr. Tom, has established from coming consecutively for a number of years bringing with him students for an international rotation of their schooling. Each day, we saw the children from OVC - they got their height and weight (to ensure they are growing from year to year), a fluoride treatment on their teeth while being screened for cavities, a deworming pill (common due to the lack of clean water here), a head-to-toe assessment by a doctor, and finally tested the kids were tested for HIV. If tested positive, they would be referred to the ART therapy program that the hospital runs to be started on medication as soon as possible. During the second week the team was in Mwandi, we went on a couple of outreach days to communities in the district to provide the same care to the kids who could otherwise be missed. The change of pace and change of patients was a refreshing break in the last couple weeks!
A combination of Valentine’s Day festivities and Boy’s Brigade rededication service made Sunday School quite exciting/entertaining in the last while. The little girls all came dressed in red, pink, and everything heart on Valentine’s Day which was adorable. The following week Boy’s Brigade (Zambian equivalent to Cadet’s or Boy Scouts) had their rededication service for the coming season. Boys, aged 2 - 9, were all dressed in their little uniforms trying to march like the big boys which was highly entertaining. The majority couldn’t remember what was left and what was right so the line formations quickly because a jumble of kids bumping into each other. The girls were far more interested (and if I am being honest, so was I) in watching the boys try and figure out which way was which than the Sunday School lesson that morning. Luckily, the boys will have their turn to sit back and relax while the Girl’s Brigade (aka Gems or Girl Scouts) have their rededication service near the end of March.
Also since my last post, there has been some changes around the hospital. The Hospital Administrator (HA) who I worked very close with got promoted to a different position in Lusaka. As a result, a new HA has stepped into the position here in Mwandi. Please pray for guidance for him as he figures out his new role and for strength to carry out all the jobs necessary for the hospital to run smoothly so Mwandi Mission Hospital can better serve their patients. Definitely not an easy job to step into.
Thunderstorms with a lot of rain has finally happened for Mwandi District! Definitely an answer to prayer!! The river has risen a considerable amount and the vegetation is looking greener and greener. There is still however, a number of families in the farming communities who are struggling to produce a crop. Harvest season is around the corner and because the rain is too late in the season, the crops are still considered a failure. The gestation/maturation of the corn (maize) is past the time when they needed rain. The grazing animals are quite happy though because the grass/grain they wander around for is growing steadily. A small win, but thankful nonetheless.
As far as prayer requests…I guess that my time left in Mwandi is fruitful (whatever that looks like). That I am able to finish this experience well. That goodbyes are hopeful and encouraging. It is hard to believe that 5 months is almost over already. I know it will take a lot of reflection time to fully process all that has happened, and in a strange way I am anticipating that to be a period of my life where I might not come away with any answers and only more questions. And I think that is okay. I think? Either way, these last 10 days are bound to be adventure-filled so just like the last 4+ months I will just take things one day at a time :)