A quiet Saturday afternoon at home gives the opportunity to update my blog after a relatively busy week. I so value your prayers as I settle back into the ‘routine’ of Chitokoloki (if such exists!). I am realising even more just how dependent I am upon the Lord to face the challenges of each day.
It is the rainy season here – the local folk, many of whom are subsistence farmers rely on the rains for their crops, and particularly for the maize which is ground to produce flour for making nshima, the main carbohydrate dish here. It is served in large hot dollops, you break off a little bit at a time and dip it into the relish (vegetables/gravy etc) and eat it. The weather pattern is for increasing sticky heat over several days, culminating in a tropical storm with torrential rain over several hours. When the storm came during the day I was amused to see the patients’ relatives, each with their container, trying to catch the water as it poured from the rooves and gutters at the hospital.
I have made a start with the Lunda language – must do some more work at that tonight…. Mrs Sefu (see below) has kindly agreed to give me a few lessons. She speaks Lunda very well and not too quickly so it is easier to follow her than some of the others. She also understands the structure of the language and can teach it. I came away from lesson one armed with a good number of useful phrases which I could put into practice on the ward. My attempts are feeble – better earlier in the day than later – but the families seem to appreciate them and every day I learn something new. I can ask relevant questions and providing the replies are no more than monosyllabic I can follow them. A confounding factor is the amount of Luvale spoken here – and when you hear a new phrase you are never sure which language it belongs to, so you risk creating your own ‘Lundavale’ version.
Some of my old patients from last year have begun to trickle back for review. It is so nice to see them again and to try and help them make some progress. I am particularly grateful to Medical Missionary News who shipped my boxes from last September so quickly – it means that I have a number of little standing frames that I can use with the cerebral palsy children. There are also a few specialist seats in the ‘crutch store’ which we can modify with the help of the workshop men. It is DIY in terms of therapy here so I have to be the one-man show!!
Last night I had visitors in for supper. David and Lorraine McAdam came, along with Mr & Mrs Sefu an older Zambian couple who have been associated with the hospital for many years. Mr Sefu first started work here in 1957 and is now one of the ‘clinical officers’ – these folk have done some basic medical training and cope with the daily influx of outpatients, triaging out those who need to see the doctor. His wife trained as a nurse at Kalene Mission Hospital and later did her midwifery training too. She still works in the out-patient department too. They know so much of the history of the work here and of servants of the Lord who have long since ‘gone home’ that it is very interesting to listen to them.
This week saw the hospital(belated) staff Christmas lunches – happy times organised by Gordon and Ruth Hanna, Canada, as a thank you to the staff for all their hard work throughout the year. Of course there had to be a nshima with meat and vegetables, followed by sweets which they all enjoyed. The rain kept off so that all were able to sit outdoors.
The week also saw Dr McAdam’s birthday (celebrated appropriately with cake and candles) and a visit from Paul and Eunice Poidevin (Kabompo). They have been involved for many years with the revision of the Luvale New Testament which is finally completed. It was nice to see them again.
Last Lord’s Day I was able to join Shawn and Rhonda Markle in their village Gospel meeting. We walked out to a nearby village where there more than 100 children gathered in addition to adults. It was good to have the opportunity to tell them of the Saviour. They all listened well – and enjoyed the sweets afterwards.