Saturday, May 25, 2013

OC Students leave their "mark".....

On May 4th, nine students from Oklahoma Christain University (OC) in Oklahoma City, OK arrived here in Chimala.  Three of these students have been here before, but the rest were newbies.  It was very exciting for me to see the returning students and to meet and get to know the new comers.

The students always bring a sense of excitement and adventure with them when they come.  The goals were for the students to get to know a little about the culture, become familiar with all the works of the mission, hold VBS at several of the small village churches and complete a project which would help one of the works at the mission. 

The bus ride from Dar Es Salaam to Chimala Mission is a hard 12-14 hour drive by bus.  We left Dar at 5am and arrived at the mission around 7:30pm.  During the trip, the students were able to see miles of plains, mountains and small villages.  They also had a small glimpse of some of the animals of Tanzania as we drove through Mikumi National Park.  This time on the bus also provided valuable time for us to all become more acquainted.

I used this trip to also stop in one of the bigger towns to make a personal purchase.  As many of you know, I am a dog-lover.  I almost always have a dog, so I searched high and low until I found this little guy to become a member of my family.  I also got his brother, who became a new member of the Wagner Family!  The students helped us love on them until we got them home....and then some more as well.

Gandolff is a Japanese Spitz.  Supposed to be very loyal and loveable.  So far he has been.

VBS was held for 3 evenings at 4 different villages.  I had posted notices in the villages to let the communities know when the VBS would be held.  This really increased the attendance.  I do not believe we had less than 75 children at any one location and at a couple the numbers were in the low 100's.  The OC students would act out a short story from the Bible and then they had a craft for the children to do.  For many of the children this was the first time for them to see and use a crayon. 

At a couple of the villages, the students passed out shirts which said "Mungu na Penda" which means "God loves you".

The Masai Village was particularly encouraging as on the second day, the children were raising their hands and asking really good questions.  It was hard to know whether the OC students made a bigger impact on the children or whether the children made a bigger impact on the OC students.  It was quite a blessing to see these two groups from different worlds coming together to learn about Jesus, His love and each other.

The project the OC students did for the mission this year was to help paint the wards in the hospital.  This was a big and much needed improvement for the hospital.  The childrens' wards was painted with multiple colors and then the students added a huge murial in the entry hall.  The end result was fantastic!

They also completed the male ward and painted it a beautiful light blue color.  The students were successful in completing both the childrens' and male wards during their 2 weeks here.  They also helped to ensure that the other two wards would be completed when they left.


Many other smaller projects were also tackled while they were here.  Some of the young men in the group helped to set up a projector and speakers at the secondary school, assisted with moving some supplies and shelves in the storage area and helped replace window screens at the boys dorm to keep out the mosquitos.

Two of the girls were nursing students.  They assisted in the pharmacy and in the patient wards.  One night we got a call that there had been a bus wreck and we had many patients at the hospital.  Every one came to help where they could.  Those who were not medical helped in transporting patients and in cleaning up the floors. 

Throughout the 2 and a half weeks these students spent with us, God was so evident in all we did and saw.  His Grace, Mercy and Love were shining wherever the students were.  They showed everyone through their actions what God wants us to be like.  I am so thankful that God has taught us what He wants us to do and then walks with us as we take the journey.  May God continue to strength each of these students and all of those whose lives they touched here in Tanzania. 


Friday, May 17, 2013

Recent "Adventures" and "Challenges"

Wow!  Has it really been so long since I wrote about the adventures and challenges of Chimala Mission?  Days seem to run from one to the other so quickly.  I will try to give you "high-lights" as the last 3 weeks could fill a couple of chapters in a book!

We have been blessed with presence of 2 Hong Kong medical students since the 11th of April.  They have graduated from school, but have not yet completed their residency.  They have been very active in the patient care at the hospital.  Many times Grace, Tony and I are doing rounds at various times of the day/night.  I hope the hospital doctors and nurses will be encouraged by their attentiveness and professionalism. 

At night, Grace and Tony came to my house and helped me in preparing new charts for the hospital.  The registration department has not been updated in many years and the hospital has been encouraged to do so by the government.  We had about 700 student portfolios in the storage know the folders with 2 pockets and 3-holes.  Anyway, I designed a cover and the chart pages for new charts.  The biggest draw back is finding more files from here or getting more shipped here from the states.  We average 1,700 patients per month and approximately 900 of those are new patients.  So we purchased some files which were available here in Tanzania, but they are of poor quality.  We have 2,000 charts to start with and I am praying for the friends of Chimala to donate many, many 3-holed, 2 pocket portfolios so we can ship them here.

I have also been attempting to get the staff to practise better medical care.  The nurses here have been reporting vitals signs as ----- Temperature.   I was very shocked to find that not only do the nurses not perform a complete set of vital signs, but that the doctors are diagnosing and treating patients without them.  Only one of the 5 doctors here does his own vital signs when he does rounds.  Getting them to actually do what they know they should do is VERY difficult!  I am meeting much resistance.

The second weekend Grace and Tony were here, we decided to take a day trip to Lake Malawi.  The drive was very beautiful as the countryside was full of banana trees, tea farms and rolling mountains.  The weather was also just perfect.


 Just before the Malawi/Tanzania border, we took a turn onto a smaller road which then became like  what I would call a "two-track road".  Maybe you know the type.  Anyway, the rains had been heavy in the mountains over the last few weeks so the rivers were high and swift.  At several points we had to cross the road where the river was over the roads.

Here I am taking this picture as we drive through the water.  Below is another river we had to cross.

At one point, we went across a dirt bridge-like area with river on both sides.  As we headed to the Lake, we had a small amount of trouble crossing but made it.  However, on the way back home, another big truck had gotten stuck on one side of this small bridge.  There were many bystanders watching others trying to dig the truck out.  Everyone kept telling us to go ahead and go through...that we could make it.  Well we did not make it.

Luckily there was a second big truck who pulled us out!  It was quite an experience.  I was afraid we would turn over until I relized the mud was so high up on the car we really couldn't go any further over. 

All in all, this was a great day trip.  A time to get away from the stress of the hospital and talk about other things.  I believe the delay and excitement of getting stuck was a blessing because it gave us something more "fun" to talk about for the day.  And I want you all to know that at no time did I ever wonder if our driver, James, would get us out.  James is so much fun and a great driver!  We all had a great laugh!

Much more to share, but will end for now.  The internet has been slow in the evenings, so it has taken me a week just to get this one posted.  Check soon for more updates!!