Thursday, February 24, 2011

Friday- Bally Vaughn Game Park

So after all of our exploration and learning, we rewarded ourselves to a day of fun on Friday! We all headed off to the game park. Luckily it was a gorgeous day! We pulled into a gorgeous gate and got onto a truck with 2 rows of seats in the back. We drove past some fields and out into an open area that reminded me of National Geographic. Fields, old crooked African looking trees, a herd of zebras and 3 huge elephants, a beautiful, clear blue river flowing below the cliff and green..everywhere.

We walked over to the tree overlooking the edge with a table set up with tea cups for our afternoon tea later on. First, we rode elephants. It was sooo scary! We had to hold on really tight to the elephant trainer & the other person in front of us in order not to fall backwards off the elephant when he stood up (they kneeled down to let us get on their backs). They rode us around the area and the elephants made me laugh. They were all about 18-19 years old and the trainers called them stubborn teenagers because they liked to stop and eat alot. He would yell, "Eli! Eli! Go Eli!" and the elephant would stomp it's foot and hand the trainer rocks and sticks with its trunk for treats. It was such an experience. The elephants definitely had personality.

While we were waiting for the other group to have their turn on the elephants, we got REAL close to the zebras and got some great pictures. We also shared tea outside under the cool looking tree and walked down the trail to the river where we got on big canoes painted like zebras! We canoed up and down the river and got to see all the beautiful scenery. But we were warned not to fall in or we'd be infested with parasites. Gross. Luckily we didn't fall in!

After our canoing experience, we headed back to the truck and took a tour of their zoo area. They had monkeys, lizards, chickens, a BIG fat smelling pig, among other animals. The coolest part of that was seeing a wild monkey wandering around torturing the monkeys that were still in the cage. And Bud impersonating a baboon and making the baboons go CRAZY in their cages trying to figure out where the baboon call was coming from! Funny.

Then it was lunch time. We drove through large open fields filled with wilderbeasts (sp?), zebras, zonkeys (zebra mixed with a donkey), giraffes, cape buffalo, and antelope. We finally reached a gorgeous thatched building with a very nice table set up inside all fancy for lunch! our surprise, wild baby lion cubs came out to play! The owners of Balli Vaughn found the cubs abandoned by their mother so they took them home to feed until they are able to be back in teh wild on their own. They were adorable to play with but still had VERY sharp teeth. At one point, the man that worked there told me and Alicia to put our fingers in their mouths...I was like, "Are you serious? I know their babies, but they still have TEETH!" But, sure enough, the cubs were comforted by sucking onour fingers and one cub actually fell asleep with my hand in it's mouth! they were so adorable and I wanted to take them home!

The rest of the afternoon we spent trucking around the park looking at all sorts of animals and learning all about how they live in their environment. They all seemed to have very specific reasons why they act and live a certain way--very contrary to the term "wild". God is so creative, so perfect, and so GREAT at planning our world so exactly. It was amazing to watch these creatures, all so very different, living together. I learned alot that day.


Cape Buffalo--scary things. They got VERY close to us too!

Papa lion. his name was Brutus and he charged at the flimsy little fence that separated him from us. I think we ALL had our lives flash before us, but it was worth it to get these REALLY close up pictures that look like they belong in National Geographic!! He was magnificent.

Zebras and Wildabeasts co-habitating.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thursday-- Foundations for Farming

January 13, 2011

Once we traveled back to Harare, we went to Foundations for Farming. Brian, the head of the program, was SO inspiring. He had a crazy story. He was a very successful Tobacco farmer. Had his own farm and it was very profitable, but two things happened: 1. he lost his farm  2. he felt convicted to stop farming tobacco, a harmful product, and begin farming things that are helpful to people. He ended up starting foundations for farming and began to teach people things he learned from the US when they began to rotate crops during the great depression. He now teaches people all over the country to farm and compost effectively as well as grow herbs and make them into herbal remedies. He firmly believes that God has created everything we need on this earth and that we should be using it to the best of our abilities. He truly is living out his beliefs to the fullest!

He showed us the demonstration fields he uses to teach people how crops grow using different farming techniques. It was interesting to see the different ways people culturally plant and the height and size of each plant based on the technique within the same soil! He shows them how to feed the soil back the nutrients that are used when producing crops by adding specific nutrients into the compost which they lay ontop of the soil in addition to rotating the soil they plant the crops on. They also had a very impressive herb garden! Brian really believes that Zimbabweans have everything they need and he wants to show them and support them in making a profit and a living off of their crops as well as restoring the country's amazing richness.

I was so inspired! And now I'd love to grow my own herb garden. We learned SO much at Foundations for Farming in such a short amount of time!

Foundations for Farming had the most beautiful flowers!! (and I thought KARANDA was beautiful!!)

This is Brian teaching us...he drew stuff in the dirt to explain things.

Brian standing in his farms teaching us!

The team standing around the healthy corn stalks!

Brian's assistant teaching us all about the herbs in the extensive herb garden.

The herb room where they dry the herbs to make tea.


Karanda Hospital- Part 2

So, for some reason in my journaling about Karanda I left out the most important part! The hospital. I'm pretty sure if I recall correctly-- I was EXHAUSTED by that point and wrote during the day and could not at night since we didn't have electricity. I will try to write everything I can remember...

The hospital was much more than I ever imagined it would be. There was the main hospital which was built with an inner courtyard and held an adult wards (one for men and one for women), childrens' ward, maternity ward, infant ward, a pharmacy, and a room for surgeries. When we were there, we walked through every single ward of the hospital. It felt very intrusive, but nobody seemed bothered by it. The most difficult ward to see was the children's ward. Inside were about 15 children, most with snake bites, broken bones, or babies with encephalitis (a condition where the baby's head swells). The thing that struck me as amazing was that in this small room crammed with beds filled with children were mothers at every bed. The mothers stay with the child 24/7. We asked if they go home to sleep and the nurse there told us that they sleep on the floor next to their child's bed. What dedication!

this was the lab where they test blood and things

this is the only shot from inside a hospital ward I have--Anna (in white) is a nurse we met there and I believe this is the pediatric ward

This is the pharmacy

This is one of the buildings which was the nursing school

We also were lucky enough to enter the maternity ward as a woman was in the process of giving birth! And another mother was just starting to nurse her newborn baby. Jeff, the american man we met back on Sunday at the Braii who was in Zimbabwe for 6 weeks to perform surgeries was there! We met up with him at the "theater" which is what they call the operating room. We saw a child who just had both of his legs broken to fix his knee alignment (i think bow-legged) and a man who was waiting to have surgery on his eye.

At Karanda, they see about 500 patients a day and perform anywhere from 12-15 surgeries per day on average. The main surgeon there (I feel awful that I forgot his name!) is 81 years old!! He is absolutely amazing and usually ends up performing most of these surguries unless they are lucky enough to have help from doctors who travel there to volunteer (like Jeff). The nurses claim he has the steadiest hand they've ever seen and his 81 years old!!

Also, the hospital survives on mostly donated items. We noticed, on the way around the hospital that they have a special room dedicated to sterilizing the equipment including plastic tubes, gloves, and tools to re-use. Sounds awful, but it works for them and that's how they are able to treat so many people each day!

They also had a nursing school which we briefly toured which impressed me as well as 2 dorms for the students. They are desperately in need of books since nursing books are so expensive, but they had a pretty good looking library and multiple classrooms including a mock hospital ward where they could practice.

In the surrounding area were also a group of buildings/huts dedicated to the treatment and counseling of HIV/AIDS victims and their families. They travel to the clinic to get medication, counseling, and treatment. They stay in the huts until they are able to travel home.

Also, there is a similar type set-up for pre-natal care. Women are encouraged to travel to the hospital before they give birth and stay in huts around an outdoor kitchen (many were set up so as to be a common place to cook even when the electricity runs out). They would stay there until they are ready to go into labor at which time they would obviously go into the maternity ward for assistance.

The building in the center with the flat roof is the kitchen--there were a couple kitchens like this around the hospital area for people to cook together.

There were also dorm/type homes set up for medical personnel and houses for the doctors. The buiding we stayed in was the guest house for visiting doctors volunteering (like Jeff and another family we met there from Canada). The entire campus was absolutely breath taking and was beyond my furthest expectations!

After the tour we all settled in the guest house for dinner. A bunch of the nurses came over and we sat at a long table to enjoy a traditional Sadsa meal with everyone. We had to eat with our hands!! We were also told that traditionally men are served first, then women, then children. Interesting right? When we are so used to women and children being taken care of first. I had to get over my fear of eating with my hands and dig in just like the children did at the feeding projects on Monday! We were told sadsa is much more delicious eating it the "right" way..and surprisingly they were very right! It was delicious and we ate most of the time in the dark because of the lack of electricity--we were used to that happening by now.

After dinner, we all sat in a big circle and listened to Bud tell a HILARIOUS story about a babboon stealing candy from him when he was a small boy. He was one of the best story tellers ever and made the most hysterical facial expressions and sound effects! He told that story along with another story about a fly and an alligator in Shona while one of the nurses, Kirsten, translated in english with almost equally funny sound effects! It was quite a show and was an amazing way to end the trip all together.

We were supposed to wake up the next day and travel into the villages, but unfortunately we had a HUGE storm which ended the day quite early since we needed to head back before all the bridges were flooded too much to get home. Regardless of the disappointing rain, we got home safely with the trusty van and our trusty Bud to get us there safely! And then we headed to another amazing place--Foundations for Farming...but that's for another entry!


Oh, ps one more important thing. Thursday morning, before we headed home, the other tour group (from our group because we split in half for tours) didn't get to see the pediatric ward on Wednesday, so they asked if they could see it before the drive home. When they were there, they were SO lucky and actually got to take pictures of each child in teh ward (we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the wards the previous day). They also found out through conversation that meals that we had packed last spring for a program called Feed the Need at our church had actually ended up inthe kitchen of Karanda hospital and were being fed to the children for means of keeping them healthy and giving them good nutrition!! How amazing is that! They even got to go over to the kitchen to see the meals in person. What a blessing. I was kinda jealous I was not part of that group, but it was an amazing story to hear and share later! Things we do really do matter! It was a good and encouraging way to end the trip to Karanda.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wednesday-- Karanda Day 1

Wednesday we went to a hospital called Karanda in Mt. Darwin, Zimbabwe close to the border of Mozambique. It was built by TEAM (the organization we were traveling with) and opened in 1961. Today it is very well known as the best hospital in the country!

January 12, 2011

Well, we are here in Karanda after a very long drive! We woke up VERY early and left around 6am. We drove for about 3 hours through Harare and into the bush. The further and further we drove, the more and more beautiful it was. We started to see many huts and tribes. The mountains were absolutely indescribable. There were fields of corn, tobacco and cotton everywhere and people were already out and working in the fields. After about 2 hours, we reached a VERY bumpy dirt road and stopped at a bridge. We got out and took pictures and explored a bit.

The scenery here is breathtaking! So green and colorful. The dirt is a very rich red-brown. We drove past ginea hens, chickens, cows and oxen.

At one point, we reached an area near where Bud grew up--WAY out in the bush. He told us he'd take us somewhere very special--somewhere no other group has been! It was a school called the Chironga School. As soon as we pulled up and got out of the van, children began pouring out of their classrooms waving and smiling. We took pictures and they continued to swarm around us and reach for our hands. Their faces were all so eager and surprised. We learned a song in Shona, the tribal language in that area, so we decided to sing the song to the children. Well, they loved it and sang it back to us with alarmingly LOUD voices!! It was the most amazing, and most beautiful sound I've EVER heard--it brought me to tears. 600 children singing us while we were surround by their beautiful faces. It was an extremely special, touching and memorable moment--probably my favorite moment from the entire trip.

Bud also brought us back behind the school where he showed us 2 grave stones. One was of a small boy who died 2 days after being born and the other was of a missionary who died and wanted to be buried behind that school.

Alittle while later we arrived at Karanda mission hospital. We found our rooms in a gorgeous building surrounded by gorgeous flowers and trees just as the sun came out! When we first arrived, we sat and listened to a woman named Dorothy tell us a story about a baby:

"A nurse was outside of a building at Karanda and thought she heard a faint cry from in the grass, but wasn’t sure. She went over to it and found a baby lying on the ground, but was afraid to touch it. So the nurse went and got a security guard and showed him the baby, who picked it up and brought it to the hospital. The baby was weak and dehydrated, and nobody knew what to do with him or who had left him. They searched everywhere, but his mother could not be found. The nurses did not know how they should feed him—they tried formula, but that was expensive and was not always readily available from the surrounding villages. Then they tried animal milk and a couple other things, but the baby did not seem to really gain any weight. He was still weak and was not properly cared for by the nurses. Dorothy would come in each morning and find the baby dirty and crying. The nurses stayed away from him and did not like to hold or pay attention to him. Dorothy tried to teach them how to hold him and show affection, how to change his diapers and feed him, but each morning and new shift she would find the same thing, that the baby was uncared for. She found out through a separate missionary project that goat’s milk was nutritionally beneficial to babies, and so she began feeding the baby warm goat’s milk with sugar in it. But in Shona culture, goats are used only for meat, and so using their milk is not easily accepted by the Shona people and nurses. Dorothy began taking the baby home during the day and her husband would feed him and show him affection, and then during the evenings she would take care of the baby. After a while, her husband suggested that they keep the baby, so she asked and received permission from the hospital to keep him. She was allowed to take him home permanently and named him my “Tapewa”, which means “gift”. " (Alicia Waranis--one of the team members)

We later go to meet Tapewa and went on our tour of the hospital with Dorothy! (more on the tour later)

After lunch, Alicia and I went out exploring and found a swing set hut! It was a swing set with thatched rooves. As I sit on a rock near huts and beautiful trees I am amazed. This place is so completely indescribable. The clouds and blue sky are the only things familiar, yet in a very strange way I don't feel completely far from home. I wish everyone I know could be here, because I KNOW pictures will never do any of it justice.

The beauty varies from the hand-made brick homes with thatched rooves, to the live cattle, the sound of exotic birds and chickens, to the magnificent flowers and fruit blooming on trees. Somehow I feel comfort in the uncomfortable. I am finding authentic beauty in the simplicity of the Zimbabwean lifestyle. Although I know I am right amidst such extreme poverty, I know at the same time how rich ths country is in joy, culture, and it's fruitfulness. In even the simple things like unique looking beetles and butterflies, the hot,hot sun, the foreign sounds, the passionate and compassionate people and their amazing smiles-- I absolutely LOVE Zimbabwe!


Tuesday-- Cranborne Community Church

January 11, 2011

Today it rained!! All. Day. Long. And we were without electricity all. day. long. But it was a great day regardless. We went to a church today called the Cranborne Community Church where we met Pastor Yamakaw and his wife Pervencia. We listened to all that they do in the church of around 500 they serve and in their surrounding community. It was really inspiring. They talked about the compassion ministries they are involved with.

One of the things they do is support about 400 widows. There, when a woman loses her husband, she is in danger because the bread winner is not there to support her. She loses everything. So, they run a project to help teach the widows skills they can use to support themselves like: plaiting hair, planting peanuts, making peanut butter to sell and sewing school uniforms. The pastor's wife, , had an amazing vision to actually open a school to teach the widows to counsel so that they could support eachother and the community as well!

Also, their church supports an orphanage which we visited. The pastor and his wife have also taken in 6 young adults in their own home where they teach boys to raise poultry for eggs & food and teach the girls similar skills that they teach the widows.

Both the pastor and his wife had such beautiful hearts. When they talked it was so easy to see their hearts overflowing with such sincere love (as did all of the orphanage caretakers & women running the feeding stations yesterday). It was amazing to me to think about this couple really giving all they have for the people they serve. They did not hold back anything at all and, to me, portrayed a very real portrait of what we should all look like serving and being followers of Christ to those around us.

It is very evident that God is doing AMAZING things here. And he doesn't need any outsiders to help. The people in their very own communities are taking the responsibility as their own and doing daily what they need to to support and love eachother. It is absolutely beautiful and I wish I could take this humble and passionate couple to the states to teach us a bit more about how to take care of others!!

Tomorrow we leave for Karanda. I am both nervous and very excited. We shall see what happens.