Friday, August 24, 2012

Our Last Day in Susu

The Last day in Susu I was able to go out and see Grandma again and check on how she was doing. She was sitting up and seemed much better, she even asked for some fried chicken :) It was so good to be able to see that maybe some of the medications and a lot of the prayers were working and she was feeling a lot better. 

Inez was her cute little self and excited to see us again. She was a lot less shy and came right up to me to talk and play games. 

We couldn't stay long because we had clinic that day so I needed to head back to help the other nurses assess all of the people that had come to see us.
 Clinic day was probably one of the hardest we were some what limited on the medications we had and could give yet there were so many that not necessarily needed the medication but wanted the medication. The reason is because Nurses for Africa is the only medical team to come to their village and we are only there for 6 days, and only 2 of those days are clinic days the rest of the year they are without medical care. Can you imagine?? Really think about when you have a sick child or you have a parent or grandparent that is sick.......Here we just call up the doctor make an appointment and usually seen pretty quickly and if it's an emergency we are seen immediately. They don't have that kind of access. So while we are there they want to stock pile they want the medication so it's available when they are sick. Can't blame them for that!! But with the limited resources we had it was emotionally draining. 

This little girl was one of my patients......she had the most beautiful smile!!
speaking of smiles it was kind of shocking to me to see how many of them had such great white teeth! They don't always have access to clean water let alone tooth brushes so how do they have such good teeth and here in America our teeth are so rotten, yellow, and we have to pay money for white pearly teeth?? 

Well when they eat, they have healthy food, natural food, and not all the candy, sugar, and pop like we do!

Everyone loved to see their pictures on the digital cameras!

This is Jayme our Hands at Work leader talking to Sharon. Sharon is a Grandaughter to the Grandparents We have been visiting in their home. Sharon I believe is in the 7th or 8th grade and was wanting paper and pens so she could work on her "test" I believe they need to take in order to graduate. I pray a lot for Sharon and hope that she is able to continue school. She is currently the oldest in her home and does most of the house work and getting water etc....since her Grandparents are so ill. 

I miss Susu dirt on my feet.........

Susu has forever left a footprint on my heart, and I will never be the same!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kids Day

How can you not love a full day of kids getting to be kids??!!

That is just what we did on Thursday we all Loved Loved playing and being a kid right along side the children of Susu. I'm actually not sure who had more fun the kids or the nurses. 

Kids day is when I fell in Love with another Little Girl named Gloria. (I seem to have a heart for little girls :) When I first saw Gloria she was sad or mad during the opening of the children singing. She frowned at me and wouldn't smile at all, it broke my heart and I made it my mission to see this little girl smile by the end of the day. 
Gloria is the little girl in the middle frowning at me.

Once I smiled at Gloria and started trying to make her laugh she soon became totally attached to my hip and she didn't leave me until our bus left at the end of the day! Gloria has a special place in my heart! 

All the kids loved sunglasses!! Gloria got to wear mine most of the day :)
We played games with the kids, they held a runway show for us sporting their school uniforms and so super cute models, we did lots of singing, face painting, and LOTS of LAUGHTER!!!!! 

We also served the children lunch at the Susu Kitchen and Feeding Program. Since it was a special occasion with us there they had there "thanksgiving" type meal. The meal consisted of chicken, a cole slaw type salad, and rice. For most of the children this is the only meal they get a day. Nurses For Africa supports the feeding program year round which cost $20/month per child. The feeding program goes on every day around 1pm and the "orphaned" children are fed. This feeding program is a huge help to the families that have taken in the orphaned children since they already have very limited funds and food to care for their family. 
The Girls also got to go home with new dresses!! There is an awesome group of ladies here in the United States that sews some amazing pillow case dresses for the girls in Africa and we had the privilege of handing them out and seeing the smile on the young girls faces. We also made up special little gifts for each of the kids that consisted of things such as glow sticks, crayons, stickers, sunglasses, beads, etc......
The JOY and EXCITEMENT of each child was just amazing to see. They were so appreciative and thankful for everything they received. There was no but he got that or she got that, I wanted that.....they were just thankful!! What a blessing these children are and they are so hopeful and full of spirit!! 

And She smiles...................So Beautiful sweet Gloria!! 

There is No better medicine then Laughter!!! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mobile Clinic

Most of our evenings at the lodge were spent preparing for clinic day. Hannah took on the huge task of organizing the medications and setting up "stations" for us to count and pack pills. I made a station just for the liquid medication and took on the fun task of pouring liquid medication into 100ml bottles. It was a sticky mess but it all worked out and we were prepared for our first clinic day.

For all my pharmacy friends.....we for sure used the resources we had I'm certain this isn't the way it works in the United States :) 

Clinic Days were exhausting emotionally and physically!! When we first arrived on Wednesday morning for our first clinic I was just amazed by all the people that were there. When our bus started down the dirt road to Susu there were people following and chasing after the bus just excited we were there. 
Like every morning in Susu it started with a prayer and a lots of songs from the children and it was an amazing start to our day! When the children are standing there singing and praising God I couldn't help but SMILE and know that God was watching over the village of Susu and protecting them.

The first day I think we assessed and talked with over 360 patients. Most of which were just minor things a cough, headache, back pain, etc......It was burn season while we were there which they can only burn fields in August so there were a lot of people complaining of a cough most likely due to the smoke. I did see one little girl that appeared very sick she was lethargic, had a rash, fever, and runny nose......we were able to treat her with antibiotics and some Tylenol and I pray that she is doing well today. It is hard to see really sick people knowing they need to be in a hospital but in Susu the resources just aren't available. It's an hour drive to the nearest hospital and none of them have vehicles so it's at least an 8 mile walk to get to the nearest road where someone may give them a "lift" or a ride. Most people have no money to pay for health care, and can't miss a day working in the fields to provide food for their family. 

Around 2pm I looked out of my clinic station to still see a long line of people waiting to be seen, I was afraid we were going to end up having to turn people away and not be able to see everyone. This was hard to think about knowing that several of these people had walked miles in hope that we could help them, how could we turn them away?? It was Amazing I'm not sure how we pulled it off other then through God he showed us we could do this and we did by 5pm everyone had been seen and through the pharmacy. 

I think most of us can say that night we were exhausted and emotionally drained frustrated wishing we could do more. We did everything we could do with the resources we were given and yet at times it still didn't feel like enough. 
My Room mate Blair and I getting ready to start our clinic day

The villagers waiting to be seen

Pharmacy workers preparing medication and talking to care workers. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2nd Day of Home Visits

I was blessed to have a great group of Nurses and Care workers to go on Home Visits with we had a lot of fun getting to know each other and walking lots of miles to visit the sick. Val and I started to come up with some big plans to get medical care to Susu more frequently, we even came up with some crazy ideas like contacting George W. Bush :) President Bush was recently in Zambia and opened a new clinic in Kabwe to help women and educate on cervical cancer. 

We also talked about our starting NFFA, Nurses and Families For Africa. Where we could bring our husbands and children to also help in Susu. The Husbands could build a clinic in Susu and our children could help serve food, play with the children etc......Sounds like a great Idea!! :) 

Like I said we walked lots of miles up hill in the heat we were probably a little exhausted, a little dehydrated, and a little delirious.....but we got BIG PLANS and we need our BIG GOD to help with these plans :)

On our 2nd day of home visits we were able to stop and see Grandma and Grandpa and their family again. Grandma did look a little better but still appeared weak. Again we prayed for her and visited with the family. 
Playing Games with Inez and teaching her high fives and fist pumps :)

Grandpa and Inez with our nursing group and awesome careworker Godwin! 

Praying with Grandma in her hut where she had blankets set up as her bed to lay on the ground.
I'm so in Love with this little Girl :)

We did visit another sick gentlemen this day and had a hard time telling him there was not a whole lot we were going to be able to do for him. He was complaining of losing his vision and was nearly blind. When we arrived it was clear that he had cataracts. It was very difficult to know this is easily treated in the United States with surgery but out in the bush village of Susu his vision will most likely just continue to get worse. He requested we return with an eye if any one knows an eye specialist willing to travel to this wonderful village let me know!! His Wife was out doing work since he was unable to work in the fields anymore due to his vision. We prayed with him and we served in his home doing dishes to hopefully lighten the load for his wife when she returned home. 

After we returned from our walk and made it to the "main" part of the village we found the children from the feeding program playing games at the play yard. Our group was excited to jump right in with the children and join the fun. Since there is a little bit of a language barrier and most of them speak Bemba and just a little English it was fun trying to figure out the rules to their games!! :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Building Relationships and visiting their homes in Susu

The first day of home visits was tough we went to see one family who were very ill. When we first arrived at their home we were there to check up on the Grandfather who had been sick but we soon realized the Grandmother was also very sick and had not eaten anything for 2-3 days. This couple is an amazing couple as they are caring for 3 orphaned grandchildren. Our group of 4 nurses quickly took out all of our snacks that we had taken for ourselves and gave them to the Grandmother to eat, we treated her for possible pneumonia and gave her antibiotics and pain/fever medication to try to help.It was a hard day for our group seeing someone so ill and knowing there was not a whole lot we could do. In the United States she would have been admitted to the hospital, we would have started IV antibiotics and we would have been able to do chest x-ray, lab test, and all the tests we have available to us. 
Instead we prayed and we did everything we could do to comfort the family. We went and collected water for the familly and I became quickly attached to this little girl in my picture Inez who is 4 years old she is one of the orphaned children. 

The second house we went to that day did not need any of our "nursing" skills but welcomed our help as we helped them do dishes and sweep. Doing dishes in a rural area with no running water and no Norwex to be heard of became quiet the experience!! As Blair states "Pintrest doesn't have anything on Africa!" They are truly resourceful and use everything they have available including dirt to scrub their pans :) 

Blair and Rosemary took on the job of sweeping. They did an awesome job getting all the leaves and sticks swept away from the homestead!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Worship in Susu

To describe in words what Church was like in Susu is nearly impossible and it's an experience I will never forget and it's truly a life changing experience. I stand in awe and listen to them worship and praise God, even though in our eyes they have "nothing" but as you worship you realize they have EVERYTHING.

I have never felt so close to God as I did that Sunday and the only way I can describe it is I had peace and with every song we sang, with every word that was said, the only thing I could do was smile, smile because I knew God is there in Susu caring for the poor and I was blessed to be called to be the hands to do the work that God has called us to do.

A little story about Susu from the Hands at Work Website:

"Susu is an extraordinarily poor and isolated community in central Zambia. When Hands at Work Field worker Lawrence Kunda began visiting Susu the community was in despair. Poverty was widespread and alcoholism was a way of life. Nearly everyone existed only by subsistence farming and couldn't afford access to schools or a trip to see the doctor for sick children.
Local Community member Sanday was in such a situation when Lawrence discovered him. Lawrence struck up a friendship and began mentoring Sanday, slowly discipling him over many months about the love and compassion of Christ. In 2009 Sanday realized his faith was leading him to start doing something more for the vulnerable community around him. "

Sanday is now the pastor of the church in Susu and is an amazing leader and servant for the village.

Sanday and Lawrence sitting together on a bench outside of the church in Susu

Church service lasted approx 3 1/2 hours I think and it didn't end when we left the doors it continued on as the choir continued outside singing and worshiping. All I have to say is can you imagine if our church service lasted that long???!!! The children that sat there in church didn't have toys, or coloring books to play with, there were no children's bulletins, they sat on the benches so calm and so quiet and worshiping God......AMAZING!!! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's Zambia Time

We arrived in Lusaka, Zambia early in the morning on Saturday. We were greeted at the airport by the most wonderful people and Hands at Work staff to begin our Journey. After 10 hours on a flight and a total time change of 7 hour difference the team was exhausted and hungry. We traveled to Kabwe where we ate at Tuskers.....Let me tell you we had the most amazing Pizza ever....yep that's right I traveled all the way to Africa for the best Pizza in the world :)

Tusker's is also where I started to truly understand what it meant to be on "Zambia Time". When we arrived and ordered our drinks and they came out with our pops about an hour later, and then we patiently waited for our food, and our bill. I think we were there for around 3 hours for lunch :) I realized then that we were going to be doing a lot of waiting and practicing a lot of patience!
Our awesome Van and transportation from Lusaka to Kabwe and back to Lusaka :) 

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Journey to Africa

Well the Team has made it to London!! We have had a long journey just to get this far and still have a long ways to go. Our Team is made up of 10 nurses we are from California, Washington State, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. We all met for the first time in Chicago and already becoming friends we might not get each others names right just yet but we have a few days to work on it :) I can already tell it's going to be a fun trip with these great gals!

Saying goodbye, I handled it well as for Teagan not so much she woke up crying and cried while telling me goodbye and then for about 45minutes after. I will miss all 3 girls and Brandon very much but I know they are in good hands!!

My Dad drove me to chicago which was super nice to not have to worry about checking bags etc prior to meeting the team. I have learned that as I get older I get more anxious though around the busyness of the city or maybe I'm growing comfortable with small town Parkersburg.

The 7 hour flight to London was long, the food was good, but I didn't sleep worth a darn! So I'm hoping to catch some zzz's on the 10 hour flight to Luska. My Carry on bag got taken in London by the airline to be checked to go to Zambia, evidently it was too big and some how my bag was the one they picked out because it's the same size as everyone else....please just pray it gets to Zambia, it has all my clothes in it!!!

Alright gotta go, no editing just a quick blog will update/edit when I return home

Love you all thanks for the support and prayers