Sunday, July 26, 2009


I leave in a few hours for the USofA. Pray for safe travels!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A quick update

Hello all!

Saying goodbye to all of my friends at Karanda was really hard- especially to the Kids Club kids. My last day, the ladies in charge asked if I wanted to say anything to the kids. I started out strong, but when Vimbai started to translate for the little ones, I broke down crying. They all gave me big hugs as I left. It was especially hard saying goodbye to Tafadswa. He was still in the hospital, so he didn't hear that I was leaving. He does not speak English, nor does him umbuya, so I did my best to tell him using my broken Shona. Apparently it worked because when I asked a nurse aid to translate for me, he said that he aldready understood, though Tafadswa was still is old smiling self. Umbuya told me to return soon before her grandson got too big. He needs me as his "shamwari"-- "friend."

We spent the weekend at Imire Game Park and saw lots of elephants, rhinos, and giraffe. It was a COLD weekend. You may not believe it, but there was not a time when I wasn't wearing at least 3 layers of clothes, wrapped up in blankets, or sitting in front of a fire. And this is in Africa!

I have been in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital city, for a few days now. Relaxing. Spending time with other TEAM missionaries. Watching lots of field hockey.

My flight home leaves on Monday. and then I will keep myself busy showing everyone pictures, getting ready for RA training, seeing family and friends, and heading back to Orange City.

Be looking for pictures to be posted shortly after I return home!

Be praying:
*that God can use my time left in Zimababwe, even though I am not in Karanda
*that my journey home will go smoothly
*that I can affectively tell my story once I return
*the God will continually be working in the lives of the other SOS members

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Journal Entry

In all of the business of the weekend, I forgot to mention that our Dambudzo [the burn patient] died on Saturday. =(. No one knows the reason why. But our best bet is the she just gave up. Her father came to see her for the first time of few days ago. Maybe she was holding on until he came. My friend was saying that she went in for the dressing change on Friday and her eyes were "creepily wide open" and she kept saying that she couldn't do this anymore.
Oh man. She was a trooper. Granted she did the damage to herself... I couldn't imagine that much pain and think of all that mental depression and everything that went along with it. Like seriously. Wanting to kill yourself the waking to find yourself in that condition. Wow. It was a miracle that she lasted that long.
I think God kept her alive to set things right wither her parents and family and her in-laws. She was also able to hear the gospel. I am not sure if she was a believer when she died, but I know the chaplains talked with her often. I pray that now she is in heaven basking in God's glory in a new body that isn't damaged by burns.

I have never cut onions before...

I am not sure if it is the onions crying or if I am just appreciating the comments from everyone.

Right now our medical school friends are over and cooking a Shona meal for us. Sadza. Beef stew. Rice with peanut butter = mupunga une dovi. and Madora (fried caterpillars). Yum!

I only have one full week left here before we go a game park. and then another week and I fly home. Ready or not!

Friday, July 10, 2009

This wasn't in the job description...

So to all of you who thought that I would be coming to Zimbabwe to work as a nurse's aide with Naomi. Yeah... apparently the job description extended FAR beyond that. Let me list for you all of the jobs I have had since arriving at Karanda.

*Nurse aide for Naomi in peads ward
------BUT Naomi for quite sometime SO:
*dress Dambudzo's burns 
*act as a self-appointed, low-talent clown and make funny faces at the older kids in peads ward (if I did it to the young ones... they would cry because I am a scary white girl.)
*substitute teach for two days for 3rd and 5th graders
*serve as a exam-giver for nursing students (twice)
*be a computer teacher for the new secretary who knows absolutely nothing about computers
*chef (as explained in my previous post)
*jungle gym for the monkeys-- i mean local kids -- to hang on. 
*photographer/videographer - for when the long term missionaries want me to document everything
and on and on and on!

It has been a great and fun experience to see how God's plans for me differ everyday. 

There are four medical students here who I have become quite good friends with. They like to introduce me to fun aspects of Shona culture. I have been learning how to balance different things on my head (ex:  20L bucket of water ---which i have NOT mastered--- and a big bunch of banana freshly cut from the tree). They have also made me try matemba, a small, inch-long fish, that is served dried or fried. These fish are 33% eyeballs. Eww. Fried they taste a bit like sardines. But dried, i can't get past the fact that I am eating eyeball. In a couple days they are coming over to cook us a Shona meal (I love Shona meals). This meal with include madora. A more common name for madora is caterpillars. Yeah that's right, in 2 days time I will have consumed caterpillars! 
But don't think I am the only one trying new foods. We had them over the other night for s'mores. When we were in Harare it tooks us 5 stores to finally find marshmallows. So we got to roast them and served them with chocolate and marie buscuits- which are the closet thing they have to graham crackers. Eating them reminded me of VCBC and all the smores I have eaten around that campfire. The medical students thought that they were "so delicious!"

Today we went on more home visits to different HIV victims and  orphan caregivers. Usually we go to 5-8 houses. Today we went to 3. At the 3rd house we went to we met 3 ladies. The mother, her daughter, and the grandmother. The grandmother is the 1st out of 5 wives of the man who owns the big homestead. Her daughter, who is elderly as well, so I will call her "umbuya" out of respect, is deaf & mute and also has what is basically a fancy "peg leg." But umbuya was the sweetest old lady ever. To communicate with us, she would just move her arms around in some sort of unofficial sign language (I could not understand anything! But the chaplain could and that is all that matters). This woman is usually very stingy with everything - she would not even allow her own daughter to enter her house, they daughter lives with the grandmother. BUT! on this very day, Umbuya took us on a walk to her "garden" - aka her jungle of banana trees and papaya trees. She gave us 3 big bunches of bananas and 5 big paw-paw(papaya). We walked them almost all the way back before she stopped along the road and made us set now the fruit. We were to drive the truck back to the spot to pick them up so the other wives did not see that she was sharing with us. HA! What an experience it was! That took up a lot of time, so we headed back to Karanda instead of visiting more people. 

I am also very involved in the Kids Club here. This is a time when AIDS orphans can come and eat a meal and play with other kids. Whenever it is time for Kids Club and those kids see me walking to the area, they yell "Ellen! Ellen!" -- which I have started to accept as my name. Lynn, the 1st grade teacher, and the owner of the computer that I use, has picture of kids club on here, so I want to post some: 

This is Tafadswa. He was sick in peads ward for sometime. Would make faces at him and color with him. We became good friends. 

Vimbai & Chantelle are a couple of the girls. Vimbai loves to play with me and Chantelle once peed on Miss Lynn. =)

That is all for now. It is past my bed time!!
Please be praying for me as I have been sick with a cold and/or sinus infection for a week or so. Also Naomi is ill again. 
For the healing of Dambudzo's burns, and for the healing of her spirit.
For other SOSers who are starting, in the midst of, or wrapping up at their locations.

Please keep your encouraging emails and messages coming my way. They are blessings to me!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wife training.

Before coming to Zimbabwe I could not cook a thing! --- unless it came in a box and only required a cup of water. But all that has changed. Here is a list of things I have cooked in the past 2 weeks:
*white cake from scratch
*beef and gravy dish
*squash soup
*potato chips
*chicken and rice
*carrot bread
*rice pancakes
...and on and on.
So far my experience in Zimbabwe could be described as quality wife training!

Naomi is feeling better, so I have been able to spend more time with her. She is proving to be a good friend and a lot of help as I adjust to this new culture. But although she is healthy and back at work again, I am not spending as much time with her as I thought. I have the freedom to move around to the different areas of the hospital and spend the day in the ward that needs/wants/accepts me. For example, yesterday I spent all day in the maternity ward. That was an awesome experience. The sister in charge wanted to teach me lots of things. She taught me how to draw blood and give shots, and even let me do some. I also wrote some discharge papers. And watching a delivery was hands-down the best part about the day. 

Our burn patient, Dambudzo, is doing well. Her swelling has got down a whole lot! She bends her legs and can move her arms with ease. and she is always talking up a storm. Now that I know a little more of the language, I can communicate with her a bit. I know God has her in His hands and I will be able to see her recovery progress during this next month before I return to the States. 

Some of us missionaries are going into "town" (aka Harare, the capital city) tomorrow to celebrate Naomi's birthday, get groceries, eat pizza, and renew our visas. We are invited to the US Embassy on Saturday for a 4th of July party. That should be fun and festive! =) 

Please pray:
-that our trip to Harare is safe.
-that my relationships with the locals grow stronger.
-that I can be an encouragement to the long term missionaries at the hospital.
-that God will make known His calling for my life.
-and that He will be glorified in all that I do.
Thank you all again for your encouraging notes and emails!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Blessings via internet.

Ah! God is good! I woke up this morning feeling very homesick for everything: my family, my boyfriend, my friends, NWC, and even Swaziland. To my great comfort and joy and tears, I look online to find emails and comments from my sister, Kameron, his parents, Andrew, staff and friends at Northwestern, and my dear Kittie from my team in Swaziland. Thank you so VERY much for your love and prayers. God is using them to bless me. =)

Masikati (good afternoon!)
Daswera kana maswera'wo (I spent the day well, if you spent the day well.

Since my last post...

*Naomi, the nurse I am working with has been sick for almost a week, so I have not been able to spend much time with her. 
*Dambudzo, the burn patient, is doing much better! She can talk and she can see! Haha! Funny story. She opened her eyes on Sunday, and I am not sure if anyone asked her if she could see. So the other day I asked the nurses and they put me in front of her face and asked what she saw. "White girl" was basically her response. Ha! 
*I made friends with a kids in the peads ward named Tafadswa. I taught him a typical American handshake and how to say "What's up?" "Not much." He LOVES to do that. And although he pretends not to know any English, on our way back to the hospital after playing with all of the Karanda kids, he started yelling out drill marching orders like: "Attention!" "Forward march!" "Salute!" Silly boy.
*I filled in yesterday and today for a teacher who teaches four 3rd and 5th grade students at the Karanda Primary School. Yesterday was a blast because it was a new experience. Today was not so fun. Not for any particular reason, though - I just heard God saying that I was not meant to be a teacher. 
*Cali and I get up at 6 every morning (our alarm clock go off at six... we don't get out of bed until 6:30!!) to go for a walk. The sunrise is so beautiful! Once we got up with some other short-termers who were here at 4:30am and climbed a water tower to watch the sunrise. Amazing!!

My time here is just beginning. I have just over a month until I go home.
Please be praying...
**that I make the most of my time in Karanda. 
**that Naomi will get better
**that God will continue to comfort me and the rest of the SOS team while we are away this summer.

Thanks again to everyone!