Digesting Life...

More From Africa

The dust has settled after my trip to Africa and I find myself wholly involved in my routine. And then I remembered an Africa related topic I planned to write about which is the subject of this offering.

The medical students were tasked to write about solutions for problems of domestic violence in groups which consisted of about ten peers. When I read what I will be posting below, I recall the emotion that it stirred in me. The men in this group made a pledge to the women they will marry as follows:

“Domestic violence should be discouraged at all costs. It brings with it unwanted adverse effects on the entire family and community at large. It’s not God’s desire that we have such. As group 2 men, we promise to love and cherish our wives – to be upholding them in high esteem, letting them know that we shall always love them as God has commanded us to do so. Women, please know that you are special and as Christ loves his church, so shall we as men, love you to the fullest!”

Domestic violence is not an isolated problem. Every society has to deal with it and it sometimes becomes entangled in customs and practices within cultures. It is wrong. I had the pleasure of interacting with men and women in Africa who are willing to use their awareness to work towards solutions that start with themselves.

Zambia Pictures

I wanted to share some pictures from my trip to Zambia.

You can click on each image to view it full screen.

Driving From The Aiport

Driving From The Aiport

Outside the door to the dining room at the Ashland Lodge where we stayed for 6 days

Outside the door to the dining room at the Ashland Lodge where we stayed for 6 days

Dr Snyder

Dr Snyder giving medical attention to a man who was having a seizure on the street the first day

Dr Snyder

Dr. Snyder

Pastor Doudy who also served as our driver

Pastor Doudy

Zambian Life

Zambian Life

University Teaching Hospital

University Teaching Hospotal (UTH)

UTH

UTH

UTH The Conditions are quite different

UTH The conditions are quite different

UTH Lobby

UTH Lobby

UTH Lobby

UTH Lobby

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

One location where we taught

One location where we taught

University of Zambia

University of Zambia

Entry into the psychiatry unit

Entry into the psychiatry unit

Shopping with some team members

Shopping with some team members

May 31, 2017 .... Last Day

Today is my last day in Zambia. I started off with some tearful goodbyes to team members who are moving on. Two are making their way to Livingston today for some adventures and the rest are going into the rural villages where they will be experiencing a minimalist existence (like camping) while teaching.

This morning I teach at the University Teaching Hospital for the last time to 6th year medical students who are doing their psychiatry rotation and the rest of the day I get to listen to Dr. Byler teach on psychopharmacology. Our flight leaves at 930 this evening so if any of you are prayer warriors, please keep us in your prayers for everything flight related.

I must say it will take a while to fully recognize all that has occurred on this adventure and the growth for me as a clinician and a person. The students took the time to give us heartfelt cards, Zambia flag pins and individually crafted bracelets. The leaders in the group were readily identifiable and our hugs goodbye were warm and meaningful.

I have been able to not only identify but also started working on a research project focused on the need for the medical students to have counseling available to them. The ethics committee on ground here has provided me with all of the paperwork to complete and turn in so there will be some busy days ahead.

The Zambia team is playing in a World Cup tournament and there is much passion for the team – such cheers altogether.

I am surely grateful for this trip and hope that others will be inspired to join me in the future!

May 26, 2017 .... Tear Gas

I have been involved in organizing a role play for the medical students in diagnosing mental illness, asked to assist with a therapy session at the teaching hospital by a neuro psychology student at the teaching hospital, continue to do therapy with students and experiencing the hand of God in all of this. On May 24, 2017 I had my first experience with tear gas as we were teaching in the lecture hall with all 160 students. All of a sudden the air became toxic and our eyes watered. We left the hall for a time until it subsided. That stuff is no joke as the eyes water, the sinuses drain and the breathing is strained. The reason for the gas was that a verdict was expected on a trial for treason- political – and they expected some riots. Preventative measures by the police, who were stationed on streets around the campus. We quickly recovered. It seems the experience is quite usual for the Zambians.

We experienced the first Celebrate Recovery meeting. I was able to give the information to a young man with an addiction and he actually attended with his mother. The Celebrate Recovery team were also instrumental in the follow-up calls to his family. There are so many prayer needs here and I am honored that people have entrusted me with the knowledge of those needs.

Our team is solid and I have made some long lasting friendships. Today are prayer needs include the disaster drill that Dr. Snyder is staging – we get to act like victims – and an outreach to the Zambian students and the public.

May 21, 2017 .... Rewards & Blessings

Our driver is also a pastor of a small church that we attended today. How different the surroundings but the same gospel is taught. The Africans break out in song, A Capella, and make the most glorious sounds. I was able to record their songs and would be pleased to email them to anyone who wants them. Twenty minutes of worship – African style.

The last couple of days have been rewarding as I have had the privilege of counseling some students. On Saturday evening Dr. Snyder gave the fourth though seventh year medical students a party, after they learned how to suture trotters (pig’s feet). Zambian parties are great – always games and plenty of food. It was a time to get to personally know some of the students.

My blessings this last week include being able to stretch myself - I actually taught 160 students – observing some mental health needs of the medical students as well as learning how to truly love on people who are in need. One of the stops this week was at Mother Teresa’s orphanage where Kate and I met with the widows. Well, they were so grateful for the yarn I brought them and even more excited about the wash cloth I left for them to copy. When I returned today to hold the babies and play with the children, they were so proud to show me the many wash cloths they made – prototypes of the one I left for them. If it is on anyone’s heart to donate yarn and crochet needles, I invite you to contact me as I plan on keeping them in stock!

This upcoming week will be busier than before. My goal is to remain flexible and willing to do whatever is asked of me. Prayers for all of us are needed in the area of flexibility and understanding that the Zambian schedule is not going to meet our expectations every day.

I did get sick with some kind of stomach ailment and was so glad to be in the presence of medical doctors. Dr. Snyder did a brief assessment and delivered medication to me that expedited a recovery. All the while I was not disabled from meeting my assignments. God has definitely been with us all the way.

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