“The need of the hour, as far as I’m concerned, is to believe that God is God, and that He is a lot more interested in getting this job done than you and I are. Therefore, if He is more interested in getting the job done, has all power to do it, and has commissioned us to do it, our business is to obey Him … reaching the world for Him and trusting Him to help us do it.” –Dawson Trotman
Our team got up hopeful that we might have our medicines back to us by the afternoon. Festus had been told that the proper officials would release the drugs from customs at around 8 am, so, surely, we would have them in the afternoon. Bill started us off that morning by reading to us from Dawson Trotman’s “The Need of the Hour.” He read a section of the essay about the Mar Thoma Church, which is the largest Christian Church in Southern India. It traces its origin back 1900 years to the work of Thomas, the disciple of Jesus. When Bill had finished reading, one of our team members, Lovely Philipose, raised her hand. She said, “I am a product of that church. My family is from that part of India, and my family is Christian because of the church that Thomas started.”
drops, and by lunchtime, we had counted all the medicines that had been left over. We headed for clinic that afternoon, a half-day late and short on drugs. Festus still hadn’t arrived with our supplies. The crowds at the gate were overwhelming, and the people were obviously frustrated at our delay in getting there.
By the end of the day, our medications had still not arrived. They were finally released from customs at 4 pm. Festus had planned to take a city bus with our things to Kitwe, but since it was going to be getting dark, he was worried he wouldn’t be able to recognize and protect them from theft on the long way there. He had to hire a private car to take him with the bags back. All of this took some time, and he finally arrived in Kitwe at about 4 am.
checked the baby’s heart rate periodically with the fetoscope and assured us that everything was fine. Bill and I helped resuscitate the infant, a baby girl. Everyone else crowded outside the delivery room, peeking in to catch a glimpse of the birth. Zambians don’t usually name their babies for several days, so I don’t know this child’s name. She is probably the most photographed newborn in all of Zambia. After the baby was dried and weighed, we gave the mother a bag of ibuprofen for her pain, and she put her baby on her back and walked home.
June 26, 2009–The following day, we worked almost non-stop. I spent most of the day on my knees examining the kids. We were overwhelmed with malaria, pneumonias, and malnutrition. I had a little girl with an elbow injury. No x-ray was available because of the strike, so Bill helped me make a sling from a torn sheet to protect her until she heals. Before lunch, a second baby was born. The mother asked the “nurses” who helped her during the delivery to name the baby. After listing lots of Biblical women, they settled on Rachel.
Matt and I ate lunch with James and Dan, two of the Zambian pastors. Recently, James traveled to the Congo to help with a mission there. He told us he saw many miracles there. Sick people were healed, and many came to know Christ. While he was there, he was arrested and beaten because the local government felt threatened by his work there. In one day, the case was taken to the high court in the Congo, and the charges were ultimately dropped. James was able to stay in the Congo, and he witnessed many more miracles while he was there. James doesn’t get paid to be a pastor, and he didn’t have the benefit of attending seminary, but he is committed to what he believes is the most important work that he can do. James believes that there is so much corruption in African government that the only way to help Africans is through the church.
When I made the incision, pus sprayed everywhere, including on my clothes (I was lucky to have gloves; no gowns or anything else available). I gave him sunglasses to make peace when I was done, but he still wouldn’t smile for me.
June 27, 2009–Early in the morning, Chad (our security officer) spotted a baby in the crowd that he brought to me immediately. Evaristo Kasonde, a one month old baby boy, hadn’t nursed in two days. I knew immediately that he was sick. He was in obvious respiratory distress, and his soft-spot bulged outward on the top of his head (which shouldn’t be, considering how dehydrated he was). His mother told me he’d had fever at home. He whimpered and whined. We tried to place an IV but we were completely unsuccessful. I gave him an IM dose of Rocephin, and someone from the church drove them to the hospital. I gave mom $2.00 to get back home once they were released and $5.00 to gain emergency admission to the hospital. In an emergency, you have to pay extra. Imagine knowing that your child is in desperate need of medical attention, and travel to the hospital costs you two days’ salary, and to be seen in a timely manner, you have to pay a whole week’s income. That is a desperate situation. I still don’t know what happened to him. Later in the day, I saw 11 month old twins who weighed 6 kg (about 13 lbs). They each had the developmental skills of a 3 month old. I wanted to test them both for HIV, but of course, the lab was closed due to the strike. They only ate breastmilk and porridge. How in the world can I change that?
We finished 3 1/2 days of clinic frustrated, exhausted, and looking forward to a few days rest. We learned that night after dinner that the travel that was supposed to take about 4 hours to get to the national park was actually going to take about 9 hours . . . just one more bump in a rough Zambian road.