This past Monday we met in the ICU at 6:30 a.m., checked on our sick patients, then loaded up in Dr. David’s four-wheel drive vehicle and headed north from Chitokoloki toward the Angolan border. For most of the trip the roads were soft sand, often nothing more than a narrow path through the high grass that brushed the sides of the vehicle as we drove through. We rarely passed a vehicle; most of the traffic was ox drawn wagons. We went north past the town of Zambezi to within 12 kilometers of the Angolan border to the Chavuma Mission Hospital.
This is a small hospital (probably 50 in-patient beds) that services a wide area of this part of Zambia. Two young Japanese nurses who felt that God has called them to this part of Africa and now work full-time at Chavuma run the hospital. The hospital is very clean, efficiently run and has male, female and pediatric wards, an active maternity service and one very well equipped operating theatre. Dr. David makes the trip once a week to Chavuma to see patients and do surgery. During the week, if they have an emergency at Chavuma, they quickly transport the patient to Chitokoloki.
The nurses took us on rounds through the wards and then we began a busy day of surgery. We took a few minutes for a great lunch they had prepared for us (grilled perch, rice, carrots, cookies and coffee) then started back with our surgeries in the afternoon. We operated until well after dark—I think we did 14 surgeries in all. After checking to make sure our post op patients were doing well, we said our good-byes and loaded up the vehicle for the 3-hour trek home.
When we arrived back at Chitokoloki at 10 p.m., we checked on our ICU patients again. I walked back to my cottage in the pitch-black African night with what looked like a million stars in the sky above. I was so grateful to have been able to share in one day of ministry at Chavuma. I was so thankful to have met the two missionary nurses who are so courageous in their faith and faithful in their ministry. Needless to say, it was a satisfying day and I slept very well that night.