Pick up at the airport: Flat deck truck, 22 bags, 22 carry on and 11 tired but hopeful faces. Add a tropical deluge like none other except maybe when Noah built his arc, 30 minutes to the nurse’s hostel. Our driver sweetly said “ they are now baptised by Zambia, so belong to us” and ...you get the picture?
Home in Lusaka: same faces, very wet, same bags, very wet, 7 rooms. Bathroom...not wet!? Spirits high and a dinner out brings smiles...you get the picture?
A quiet space: Shopping with all 13 of us...herding cats? Tried all banks...some money woes, but nothing we can’t solve. Then to a cafe called Zebra Crossing. Looks like a small piece of Africa on safari. Grass thatched shade. Great food and cold beer, served by lovely people in a courtyard filled with African art and a wonderful gift shop. Even had a cat attack... a Tabby attacked a small duckling that was enjoying a walk with Madame Duck... you get the picture?
Bus ride: same baggage, same faces, add what seemed like 200 Zambian men trying to guide, sell and help, tropical deluge interspersed with sun and a mature bus, a rousing sermon to set the stage....you get the picture?
Arriving at first stop on the trip to Mongu....all 13 out in search of bathroom. All 13 suddenly developing well trained bladders after bathroom facilities failed to pass inspection....you get the picture!
Finally, Mongu and one more hassle with 24 bags, 22 carry on, various bags acquired in Lusaka ( think food ) and 13 tired but spirited nurses. Jess womaning the phone and pick up appears along with Sister Stella who was on our bus! Home at last! Showers (not from the sky) are warm, house is great, kitchen well and equipped. Smiles all round...you get the picture?
Our first crisis, one of us must go home to support a sick family member. All of you who have had anything to do with supporting and raising these young women should take a bow. They all used their skills and love to support and organize each other to get our friend home. They are caring, lovely people who continue to send support to their colleague...you know this picture.
13 nurses: Welcomed warmly by Dr. Silumesii, the Executive Director of Lewanika General Hospital. Met the Acting Director of Nursing and were toured around the Lewanika Hospital that will be our practice site for the next five weeks. 10 pairs of big eyes, questioning looks, worried brows. If captions were to appear above heads, some would say “what am I doing here?” ...they have painted this picture.
Mid week: Party at our house to say good bye to some friends. We were elected to host because we are a party on our own and we have a great living room. As our Irish friend said, “looks like an excellent place for a Hooley (sp?)”. So, tired but valiant, we make Chili, and make nice and had a good send off...played Scatagories...you’ve seen this picture.
Wards: We are part of the scenery now, children on the ward greet us with smiles, student nurses look forward to interacting with us, and all watch us with the curiosity and love reserved for an eccentric aunt who brings gifts and exotic behaviours when she visits. We have had our moments, sad things have happened, tears shed, but we kept going back. We leave the children’s ward on Friday and as I look back I see three Canadian students receiving waves, shy smiles and handshakes from a ward full of kids and parents, all of them sporting happy face stickers on their cheeks...you should see this picture!
We have completed our first 10 days in Zambia and have many pictures caught in our minds...each different and each to be visited and reflected upon. Slowly, we are making inroads with our Zambian colleagues...respect is growing on both sides. We are teaching and learning each day.
Jess and I have met with many of our usual support team. Dr. Margaret Maimbolwa greeted us in her usual warm and helpful manner. Dr.Elenor Msidi, with the Zambian Nursing Council, guided me through the registration process and I now proudly can say I am registered in Zambia. We continue to meet with various officials regarding our practicum and OKAZHI initiatives.
From the land of forever skies, big lightening, extreme living...I hope you get our pictures!
Love to all, Fay