The Weekend at Macha

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Our first full weekend in Macha has been full of activity.  Dr. & Mrs. Phil Thuma graciously hosted the 10 of us for dinner on Friday evening.  We started with appetizers of fruit smoothies and peanuts.  The main course included huge baked potatoes, corn on the cob, tossed salad and chili.  Dessert was tea or coffee with chocolate cake.  The entire meal was terrific as well as the fellowship with Elaine and Phil.  We have had delicious corn on the cob several times now which is such a delightful treat in mid-January.  To heck with the Caribbean during the cold winter in Pa, come to Zambia!!

Saturday began with rounds on the hospital wards.  Wanda sprinkled students between pediatrics, female and maternity wards.  Rounds are a terrific opportunity for our students to apply prior pathophysiology and pharmacology learning to new situations not seen commonly in the US.  Therefore, a perfect chance to practice critical thinking & problem solving.  Limitation of supplies forces one to be highly creative in that problem solving!  One of the creative concoctions used in pediatrics for underweight children is a nutritious mixture of cornmeal, milk, and ground peanuts.  These ingredients are all accessible since corn and peanuts are grown locally and dairy farms are common.  Luckily, peanut allergy is unheard of in Zambia. (Genetics or Divine intervention??)

After lunch, we took a 20 minute walk to the local restaurant for some ice cream.  A dish of ice cream was 8,000 kwacha.  That sounds expensive but equals about $1.65 in US dollars so pretty darn reasonable.  We ended the day with a movie relevant to the health care issues in Zambia, The Constant Gardner. The fictional murder mystery is set primarily in Africa and the story is related to a tuberculosis epidemic and an unscrupulous pharmaceutical company.
Church today was a 20 minute walk of navigating muddy streams of water from heavy rains.  Our native expert on all the footpaths & roads, Wanda, knows which path to take when it's muddy & which path is the quickest when it's dry.  Wanda pointed out the original hospital where her father worked in Macha built in the 1920's -30's.  The church music was in Tonga but very beautiful, lively and enjoyable. We were invited to the front of the church during the service to introduce ourselves and be warmly welcomed by the congregation.  We were thankful that the rain held for our walk back to the dorm!

We just took an afternoon walk to the dam since the sun came out after lunch.  Tonight the students are invited to attend the Christian Nursing Fellowship meeting at the Macha School of Nursing.  We hope your weekend has been fun, too.

Amani, Wanda & Tara

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