Team TPM had a delightful, never to be forgotten day. We played Dr. Doolittle - we walked and talked with the animals.
The day started with a delicious and varied breakfast buffet. Then Petr. Picked us up for our Safari in Chobe National Park. What a safari it was!!!! We saw warthogs, kudus, impala, springbucks, hippos, and off in the distance Water Buffalo. The highlights were the baboons and the elephants.
We parked next to a large family of baboons, including, as with the all the antelope many new born babies. Then 2 "teenaged" baboons got into a fight. Well, the dad, the alpha male, was not allowing any family fights. He ran over to the combatants in second time and grabbed one and "reprimanded him, shall we say, very energetically. No blood was drawn. The other combatant ran about 1000 feet down for river bank and kept an anxious eye on dad.
The other highlight was the herd of elephants. Leo, our driver, stopped to show us an elephant footprint in the sand. We all remarked upon Grace's desire to see elephants. Leo started saying that the elephants ad moved back into the bush.
THEN IT HAPPENED!!
A large herd (16 or 17) elephants amazingly appears at the tree line!!!! We admired them as they stopped and watched us. Leo then moved our truck back approximately 15 yards and the elephants, including a baby and a number of youngsters, marched in front of us. We watched them, they watched us and the TPM team was left breathless. You have not lived until you and a wild elephant have stared each other down.
We returned to the Avanti Hotel after some purchases on the Zambezi River bank and met with Mr. Jackson 5. He took us on a tour of the grounds and showed us zebras, including a baby, a gang of mongoose, and most spectacularly, 4 giraffes right on the hotel grounds!!! After the animal adventures, we were dropped off at the market place. Everybody bargained, haggled,and bought.
We closed the day with a final team Dinner including words of the day, debriefing, a look towards plans for next year, and of course, Amarulla.
God bless all of you for following Tiny People Matter. Let us know if you have any questions or can donate any medicine, medical or school supplies. Thank you from the entire TPM team.
Steve and Michele Block
We had finished our day in Zambezi and boarded our bus for our overnight trip to Solwezi .... we got to the airport at 7 am and boarded 2 flights with our final destination being Livingston. Needless to say we were pretty beat when we arrived! Some rested by the pool, some went to the falls and we met back at 4 pm to leave for our sunset cruise! We saw hippos, monkeys,etc. We also were in awe as we watched the most amazing sunset that God painted for us!! It's as if He was saying .... thank you for a job well done my good and faithful servants!! The team was very relaxed and reflected on our wonderful and very accomplished trip!! God is sooo good!
From Melissa and the Team!
This morning we were greeted with a grey sky, and humid air. We all wandered into the dining hall for breakfast before we began the days adventure. Today the team was not scheduled for a typical class. For this class we would be lecturing the grand “Poobahs” (a Lindaism for the boss men/women). Leonard met us after breakfast to take us to the Sunset Drive-In Guest House. Team loading up! The meeting place was no longer than 10 minuets away from the lodge. We were met with questioning eyes and a few whispers floated around the room. Melissa and Linda began introductions, as well as providing some background on the HBB program. After talking to the crowd for a bit, everyone was separated into groups to work through some of the teachings. We did not treat these men and women as students because we did not wish to cause any kind of offense. They were very receptive of the program and really seemed to enjoy working through some of the skills. We all settled back into our seats to act out one of the skits. They really enjoyed the skit, and the whole room seemed to buzz with a positive energy! Again we established groups and everyone got a chance to work through a scenario. Melissa claimed that this lecture was probably the most fun they would have all day, I have to agree. We ended the class by donating delivery kits to each clinic along with a neonatal Natalie to the local hospital. The point of it all was to encourage HBB training at the surrounding districts in Zambezi. All of the administrators seemed to genuinely be on board with the idea. We had to take them by their word that they would continue the training. Once the lecture had finished the team headed back to the lodge. We had an awkward amount of time from when we had to leave Zambezi for the Lusaka airport. It was decided that we would all hang out at the lodge until it was time to depart. Some played cards, some read, and some found other forms of entertainment. Finally the time came for the team to load up and settle in for an all night buds ride. It was not the most ideal sleeping situation, but I am thankful for Mooba’s incredible driving skills. He got us their safely and in one piece. I am thankful the adventure that God has gifted us with and feeling extremely blessed to have shared this experience with such amazing people.
Today we taught 2 classes of HBB for registered nurses at the hospital in Zambezi...17 nurses in the morning and 9 nurses in the afternoon. These nurses are now certified to teach HBB which is the goal of HBB...sustainability!!
We were fortunate to take a tour of the Zambezi hospital. We donated various medical supplies, medications, and a new suction machine which was much appreciated by the hospital staff.
Late in the afternoon, we were blessed to return to the Lord's Mountain Orphanage (Methodist Church) with donations given of mosquito nets, school supplies, medications, and games for the children. These children are so joyful, full of energy and smiles. We all played singing games. It was a day to reflect on our similar needs such as love and respect and realize that material things are not that the path to happiness.
Today we dressed in our Shatangas and Steve's shirt matched Michele's shatanga. What a colorful group!! The day is always an adventure as we searched for the church. Picking up two young men who were on their way - oops we were going in the opposite direction !!
Upon arrival at the church, we were greeted by the Rev. Gallen, his wife Gertrude and daughter. Everyone warmly greeted us. The service started with joyous music, songs, and dancing bringing everyone to their feet. The choir was so melodious and energetic. Leonard is so proud of his daughter, Bwalya. It was a very special day for him. In addition, a group of students sang for us followed by the choir bringing the TPM people to their feet to dance with them. I, as well as the others, felt tremendous spiritual hugs surrounding us. Leonard introduced Michele and Steve as being members of the Jewish faith who had also visited Israel. Michele taught the congregation the word Shalom - meaning hello, goodbye, and most important- peace. Steve was asked to give a prayer to the congregation in Hebrew and he recited the "shehechianu" prayer - the Jewish prayer of joy at reaching an auspicious time and place. Pictures were taken with the choir following the services.
The eye glass clinic followed with approximately 10 people being very happy with their new glasses including two women visiting from Angola. As we get ready to leave the church, we found that the bus's wheels were stuck in the moist sand. The strong team we are, got behind the bus and along with a few of the children we pushed the bus out of the sand.
Next we made a surprise stop at the orphanage for a brief orientation and tour before our visit this week. The visit revealed how clean, organized and loving these children are. We will hopefully return for fun and games this week. Rev. Gallen then took us to an area with a beautiful view of the Zambezi River and one of its beach areas. The day ended with stupendous sunset and dinner.
We can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Saturday Nov 11th:
Today we left Solwezi at 6:00 am and drove as far west as we could drive while still being in Zambia . 71/2 hours and we arrived at our next home for the next few days. We are where the Zambezi river begins! We are in the town of Zambezi and can see the Angolan border and also not far from the Republic of Congo. The scenery is breathtaking! Leonard's daughter Bwalya lives here and we had a chance to spend a bit of time with her and will be attending the church she goes to tomorrow! Bwalya works with the food bank here and makes sure things are equally distributed and plans for the times of drought. We got settled into our rooms and wondered around the grounds and took In the scenery.
After a very yummy dinner and everyone had a chance to touch base with family back home we took a ride down to the river . We had the wonderful privilege of seeing the hand painted African sunset that God had planned for us. Tomorrow we will attend church and offer an eyeglass clinic, blood pressure screening and first aide clinic after the service . The pastor said they have been praying for a medical team to come to their church. All in all a very wonderful day!
Melissa and the Team
Up a bit earlier today so we could start an early HBB class with 17 nurses and midwives. There are now 17 new HBB certified trainers in Solwezi! After this class we were informed we would have another class with 106 nursing students...surprise!! Talk about the need to be flexible. Despite the surprise, this awesome team was up to the challenge. The energy of these students was unbelievable. They were like sponges absorbing everything we sent their way. After a brief rest we were off again. We visited Kilelabalanda orphanage. Grace had the girls playing volleyball; Steve and Leonard had the guys playing soccer. The rest of us were blowing bubbles and loving the little ones. What a wonderful day!
Our day began in the hotel restaurant with a breakfast buffet. We each shared our word of the day for yesterday today at the table:
We loaded onto Leonard’s bus around 9 a.m. and arrived at Solwezi General hospital around 9:15 a.m. We met with Sarah, the director of the midwifes, who showed us to the classrooms. The first class was at 10 a.m. with midwifery students. For about two hours our team taught HBB and ran through different scenarios with the students. Class ended at noon, and the team ate lunch in the classroom. Around 2 p.m. a class of hospital staff had filtered into the classroom. They participated in a more intensive teaching of the HBB program, and were certified master trainers by the end of the class because they were all graduated nurses. The team wrapped up and rolled out around 5:30 p.m. We are now all aback at the hotel relaxing and decompressing. Overall, a very successful day!
Today we started at 4 am for a travel day from Ndola to Solwezi. The roads were extremely bumpy and dusty. The trip would have taken only 4 hours in the states but it took us 9 hours due to the roads under construction .We arrived late in the afternoon and rested for a few hours.
We then changed into our scrub shirts for the 3rd day in a row We did Courtesy visits with the proverbial health officer of the hospital and did the introductions of the team. Although Leonard had already made contact with the necessary individuals it is respect to make the Courtesy visits. We were pleased to find out that they had been exposed to helping babies breathe. They have just started a midwifery class this past year and they were pleased that we had a team to come offer this training. The health ministry was very impressed with the years experience of our team and that Tiny People Matter had returned with teams for the 10th year. (In fact they asked if I wanted duel citizenship!!)
I'm very blessed to serve with such an awesome team every year. It never ceases to amaze me the wonderful people God chooses to serve every year on a Tiny People Matter Team! Keep the prayers coming!!! Our team is much larger than the people who are here in Zambia. It is the people who have donated funds, said the prayers, offered time and talents for our fundraisers and coworkers who helped collect supplies!! Blessings to all!! You are here with us!
Melissa from team Zambia TPM