Africa Again

March 10, 2019

Day one of these travels proved to be exciting. I highly recommend taking advantage of a back and neck massage service at the airport pre-flight. Although quite costly, it served to loosen tensions that made a 15 hour flight bearable.

Most flights I have experienced have been uneventful until now. Thirteen hours in, the older man in the row in front of my position exposed his drunken self by playing music at a loud volume. He raised a fist at the most patient attendant and exchanged the usual expletive before cozying himself off to slumber.

Fourteen hours in a mother with a newborn panicked loudly that “he’s not breathing. Get a doctor, please." Her despair was real and challenged me to feel her pain. The attendants rushed to her aid and resolved the issue, reassuring her he was breathing as well as administered oxygen.

Most heartbreaking was the young woman in our row who was emotional the entire trip. She was up and down, unable to rest and was tearful. My understanding was satisfied when it was revealed she was on her way home to Pakistan because her father had just died less than 24 hours prior. She allowed us to pray for her and I believe a connection was created with our new Muslim friend. Before we departed, I gave her a card to contact if she wanted and she gave a hug in her traditional manner. And, yes, I allowed that meaningful interaction. The last leg of this journey is in progress. About 6 hours to go until arrival in Lusaka. God is certainly leading us.

March 11, 2019

This morning started with a workout and then a very British breakfast at a restaurant down the street. The plan was to go to the Ridgeway campus of the medical school to inquire about students who can complete the questionnaire. Far exceeding our expectations again, God has lined us up with the right people after only one inquiry. We were warmly greeted by students who remembered us from our last visit. The school is giving us three days during which they will announce that we are here and would like them to participate. Joy and Vivek (two 6th year students) met us and insured that they would make the 4th year students available to us. They run the clinical lab at this time and will give us access to that room where we spent time with Dr. Cheryl when we assisted her with the medical student clinicals. The Zambia community at the medical school placed a memorial photo of Dr. Snyder on the wall. Her vision to build awareness to addressing the mental health well being of the students is a goal that appears to be moving in a positive direction. In the last two years, there have been others who are becoming aware of addressing the mental health of medical students as the suicide rate among this population has increased. It is hoped that we can somehow work together to identify the need to providing mental health services, which will result in designing how it can be implemented to benefit not only the students but the school program as well.

Prayer needs for today include: That the distribution of the questionnaire runs smoothly; that we continue to be directed to the proper authorities who will assist us in identifying teaching opportunities in the future; that this beautiful weather continues throughout our stay; that our bodies acclimate to the time change for this very short trip and for safe travels.