“Africa will always be here, like the sleeping Lion” African proverb
Alex Malloy and I travel the long route to Lusaka. I am fortunate to have Alex as my colleague and friend on this trip. As I tell people: young fresh brain and new ideas from Alex, age and experience from me! Anne at Kilimanjaro Lodge welcomes us once again, and we feel at home.
The next day we have lunch with Margaret and Mobita Maimbowla. Margaret is a professor of Nursing at ……….. and Mobita is retired (like I am!) from a long and successful career in politics, both in Western Province and Lusaka. We hug and settle in for a 5 hour lunch…we feel at home. They give us guidance as to the political scene in Mongu, and encourage us to advocate for the RN school in Mongu. They advise and counsel and I am so grateful for their mentorship, and most of all, for their friendship. We laugh and eat and I feel at home.
Our next day is spent visiting the General Nursing Council of Zambia. We want to bring greetings and share our vision for helping nurses at Lewineka General Hospital to document their work. As we meet with Mrs. Beatrice Zulu, we connect as nurses do, and I feel at home.
The Trip to Home:
Alex and I return to Kilimanjaro Lodge late at night and meet our Melissa, Heidi, and Amy – our new nursing colleagues from Winnipeg. After a quick sleep, we are off to the chaos, shouting, pushing and utter pandemonium that is the bus depot in Lusaka. We roll out to the admonishment of a young Zambian preacher, who warns us of the wages of sin, and asks for a donation for God’s work. The heat diminishes us, wind like a hot dryer, the hum of the wheels, cheerful chatter behind me, babies and bundles all off to Mongu. Then the game park, a dazzle of Zebra, and a herd of elephants to delight us all. Now the last and seemingly longest part of the journey, three hours to Mongu. The town rises out of shimmering heat, and wonders of wonders, newly paved, wide avenues, new road work. The sun is just about to set over the dry flood plain. We can see animals and people walking where once there was water. We straggle into Sister Cathy’s Liseli Lodge, and I feel at home.
Lewineka General Hospital:
Hugs, laughter, some shrieking, as we greet our friends at Lewanika General Hospital. We spend our first day reconnecting with our colleagues at LGH, rounding on the wards, and setting up meetings for the week to come. We have a chance meeting with Dr. Andrew Sulemsii, the Chief Medical Officer for Western Province, and a mentor and guide for OKaZHI and for me personally. We point out the changes with pride, and spent a little extra time on Pediatrics, because it feels like home! The next day, Melissa, Heidi and Amy went to work on Male ward and Alex and I complete a chart audit, check in with principal nursing officers, and prepare our teaching materials.
50 years of independence, dancing, marching, speeches, dust, heat, Mikishi dancers, cold Mosi for sundowners.
We visit a new lodge near the village of Limilunga, surprised at how it seemed to rise up out of nowhere. Beautiful lodge and chalets on a lake (or round river, as the Losi people refer to it) and a swimming pool!!!
We dance to traditional music played on drums and a xylophone. The best words of praise came from my Taxi driver, who said “Mama can dance”. No faint praise! Shuffling in the dirt, laughing with the ladies, under the shade of the mango tree, I felt Home.
Our first week was one of renewing relationships, reestablishing contacts, and reminding ourselves: We are not in charge of making changes here, that is the work of our Zambian colleagues, we can only assist, support, facilitate, teach and mentor and encourage the process of change.
Hope this finds all my friends and family well. Thank you Bill Nelems for your kind words. I feel humbled and surprised, and thankful for all your support. Also, thanks to Alex Malloy for her friendship and for being the young brain of our partnership! Thank you Zambian friends for making us feel at home. Stayed Tuned!
“These teachings must be important.”