Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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.

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