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!


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