I’m missing the UK springtime with lambs and daffodils but the season is changing here and the rain is finally giving way to some sunshine! I couldn’t resist some Easter baking to make me feel springy – who knew that hot cross buns take four hours to make from scratch!! It usually takes me about five seconds to take them off the supermarket shelf! We helped host an ‘Easter Party’ for the nursing students featuring various games including a variation on the hat-scarf-gloves-chocolate game where students had to don surgical wear and pick up Minstrels with a surgical instrument! We had a lovely Easter Day and our friends, the Hannays and Poidevins, came over for a roast dinner!
At the end of March a paediatric surgeon from Australia visited with his wife for two weeks. Dr John had gathered quite a few children who needed different operations from hernias to hypospadias to Hirschsprung’s and including one little boy who was born without a bottom (anal atresia). The children ranged in age from a few months to six years old so Phil was kept on his toes with some challenging anaesthetics. Some of the children have been quite sick post-operatively but are slowly getting better now. One little boy called Mukanda has been really unwell and has had to go back to theatre two times. He now has a stoma and a really bad wound infection so please pray for him.
Phil has found a new chess partner! Robbie is 15 and comes round to play chess once a week. One of the previous doctors gave him a chess set last year and he’s eager to learn some new tactics!
The new theatre block is nearly finished! Different teams have been working on the building for a few years now and it’s great to see it nearly ready to use! There will be three new theatres with a proper recovery area and a high dependency unit as well as some theatre storage space and a lecture room. Here you can see the ‘Express Route’ from Maternity to the new theatre block for emergency Caesareans – I just about resisted the temptation to write ‘Shinjika’ (Push!) in the concrete!! We introduced you to Josiah a few months ago – he sees it as his job to ensure that the new block is kept clean and tidy and can often be spotted sweeping away!
One of the teachers from nearby Sakaji School came to Kalene to have her baby earlier this week. We set up one of the houses as the ‘Kalene Low-Risk Birth Unit’ and Phil and I had to pretend to be midwives because the real midwife, Rachel, was away in Lusaka. They arrived in the pouring rain during a power cut so at least we were able to create an ambient atmosphere with low lighting and candles!! Gwen had a beautiful little boy and here’s a photo of me having a cuddle!
We’re so excited because our parents are coming to visit at the end of April. They’ll be staying with us for a week at Kalene and then we’ll all be travelling back to Lusaka for a couple of weeks holiday together. On the itinerary is a visit to South Lwanga National Park to see some of Zambia’s wild animals, a road-trip through Malawi back to the school where my dad taught with VSO and finally a visit to Victoria Falls where my good friend Anna will be meeting us before she comes to spend some time at Kalene. We’re so looking forward to some time off as we’re feeling pretty tired. There’s three doctors here and we’re two of them which means that the Bonnetts are on-call 48 hours out of every 72! We work shifts back in the UK and we’ve never had to do 24-hour-plus on-calls before (older doctors who used to work really long hours would probably consider us complete lightweights!!) so adjusting to the ‘African Working Time Directive’ has taken a bit of getting used to!
We told you about some the wildlife in our house last blog. I was sitting in our living room last week when the tiniest frog I have ever seen hopped past! Here you can see how small it is in comparison to a pen! We’ve also recently discovered a tarantula ‘nest’ in the garden to my great horror. The gardener was quite excited and called me over to ask “What do you call these animals in English?” to which my answer was “TARANTULAS!!!! AAAAAAAAH!!!!”
More soon! Thanks for reading!
Love Tess & Phil xx