To fill you in on the rest of the events that have happened, my days at the clinic are all but over for this trip. In the days leading up to the mission I was needed to much here to get things ready. Once all the team members arrived (all 220 of them) things really got crazy, but I was very impressed to see how all the organization and planning really keeps things moving smoothly. Meals are held in a large field of chairs behind the house and there is no where you can go without running into someone. It’s nice be around so many people, but also a little hectic.
The day of the first mission required us to get up an extra early (since I was on the advance setup team), grab a quick breakfast and start packing the lorries for the long haul to Simalundu. Despite the early start and having to setup most of the camp with only a small fraction of the main group, the benefit of riding on top of all the piled up sleeping bags on the uncovered lorry was well worth it. It made a very long, slow and bumpy ride rather relaxing. I even got a short nap in.
Once we arrived, we were greeted by a group of Zambian villagers singing songs of thanks for our arrival; it nice to have such a warm welcome. Thankfully, we were able to get everything ready before the main team arrived, and more importantly, before dark! It was nice to finally be finished and have a hot meal.
After eating. my new found friend Britni (a doctor from South Africa) and I went to go see what all the commotion we were hearing from the village. We arrived to see almost a parade of Zambian dancers singing to the moonlight in celebration of our arrival. We were soon surrounded by many of them asking us questions from who are favorite football (soccer) teams were to if we were married. They also did their best to teach us more Tonga, and had a blast laughing at us when we couldn’t pronounce the words correctly.
I went to bed that night with a very big smile on my face. The Zambians had decided to sing well into the night and the singing and marching carried throughout the entire campsite. I can’t tell you what it does to a person to receive such a welcome.
In the morning we set up all the giant canopies that would be our various departments and began the clinic. I have never seen such lines of people in my life! After one day of being there we saw over 3,000 patients!!! The pharmacy dispensed medicine to almost all of them and most got at least 3 prescriptions each for a total of at least 9,000 scripts filled in an eight hour period! I doubt I shall ever see the likes of such a well oiled and efficient pharmacy.
We continued on for another day in the same fashion seeing another 3,000 patients and packed everything to move to Kapaulu the next morning (at 5:45 am!!!). That night the Zambians threw such a celebration of signing and dancing the ground shook at times, granted they were right outside my tent. If I thought the first night I spent that gave me a warm feeling, then this was red hot in comparison! Few people back in the States have ever seen the gratitude from such a thankful people. God be praised I could.
My group piled into a little bus the next morning and had a long and sleepy drive over to our next destination where we were greeted with more songs and dancing. The next village was much smaller and healthier than the previous and the day went fast. We came back to Namwianga greeted by a meal of tacos and chips! I couldn’t tell you how the American came out in my and I dashed around excited for the meal and the promise of a hot shower after only 4 days in the bush. It’s funny how the simple pleasures seem so big once you haven’t seen them for a little while. Multiply the gratitude the Zambians must have had when they are given little niceties, which we so often take for granted, that some have never had in their whole lives!
God has truly blessed me with such an opportunity to experience all that I have. Looking in at a country in such need makes me never want to leave it. Certainly the desire to finish my degree burns even greater with in me now more than ever if only for the simple fact that I can bring more knowledge and skill to this country that could never have to many healing hands.
We leave out again early tomorrow to go for another 4 days in the bush. Please be in prayer that we can repeat the same successes we have been having and that our party continues to remain as a whole, very healthy.