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Our trip to the bush with ‘ZimbabWeCare’

Our trip to the bush with ‘ZimbabWeCare’

By Cecilie Lundgreen

A year ago, Eric Rose came to South Africa with his wife, Brandie and his sister Tami to visit his parents Connie and Bob Rose, who were serving a church mission there for ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’. He LOVED Africa and was determined to come back. His vision after hearing of ‘EYES4ZIMBABWE’ was to bring his own medical team along with much needed donated medical supplies and do an ‘outreach program’ in the Zimbabwean bush and to assist those that needed it the most. He had lengthy discussions with Reeve and Rachel who were excited to have him bring a team and so the planning started.

A year later, in March of 2015, Eric brought ‘his ‘ZimbabWeCare team to help the needy in Zimbabwe!

ZimbabWeCare Crew headed to Zimbabwe
ZimbabWeCan logo

Due to the sudden passing of our dear mentor, hero, father and friend, Reg Nield we arrived back from America for his funeral just a few days prior to the ‘ZimbabWeCare’ team arrival. I joined them in the bush with Rachel & Crew, continuing with Reg’s Legacy in doing good!!! Reeve and Laurette stayed to help at home.

Jeri Burr, Kelly Brock, Kristi Jahn, Michael Lemon, Eric Rose and Ben Rose flew from Salt Lake City, Utah and arrived ready to help where they could! Below is a summary of our trip. Pictures can be credited to any and all ‘team members’ as everyone took pictures and contributed to make it a fantastic trip!

They had packed bags and bags of medical supplies and donated supplies that they would use while in the bush. Knowing that it might be difficult to find certain medical supplies in Zimbabwe, they had thought of everything! It was amazing!

Duffel Bags to Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe supplies

The first day they were in Zimbabwe they went with Rachel to ‘Tichakunda School’ where we run a feeding program using ATMIT. It was time to screen and to do a follow up on all the children to see their progress and to fill up their stock of ATMIT. Each child gets a cup of ATMIT per day and it sustains them and gives them enough nourishment for them to perform better than before. The school administrators and teachers are so excited as they see the difference this feeding program makes! The school attendance is higher than ever, their attention span is greater and they retain information better.
ATMIT is a miracle food supplement!

children with books
Thumbs Up Kid
worn out shoes

We then packed up the trucks and went to started our adventure. We first went to the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe to Fombe and Rwenya.

The ‘team’ that travelled consisted of 15 people:
Rachel Nield-Geranios, Cecilie Lundgreen, Mary-Ellen Messick, Kim Holzer, Lovemore Thomas, Robert Godi, Chris Bryant, Dr. Kristi Jahn, MD, Emergency Medicine, Kelly Brock, RN, LDS Missionary Department, Jeri Burr, RN, University of Utah Healthcare, R. Ben Rose, JR, Bountiful High School, Dr. Michael Lemon, DO, General/Trauma Surgeon, Eric Rose, Dr. Dorcas Goredema, Government Dental Officer, and Ray Tsuro, Pharmaceutical distributor!

We all had our different talents and roles to play to serve in which ever capacity that was needed and we were all SO excited!! We would set up camp and help at different clinics around the country. There is a great need for some extra medical attention. We planned to assist with dentistry, eye problems, emergency care and general medical problems. We had the privilege of having a local dentist with us, Dr. Dorcas Goredema and her husband with us. We were all in high spirits when we left and were looking forward to serve! We had hygiene kits, newborn kits, school kits, toys, clothing and shoes with us as well to give out.

Along the way we found many people who were in need of help.

Before arriving at the clinic in Fombe we first stopped at a dried out river bed near Rwenya where the bridge had collapsed. Hundreds of people live there and they were in desperate need of some medical attention. The team went quickly to work and started helping the people in need there!

The following morning we split up into two groups. Dr. Kristy, Kelly, Mary Ellen an Eric headed back to the bridge and set up a makeshift clinic under the bridge and helped as many as they managed to in the tie they were there.

The remainder of the team stayed at the clinic helping Dr. Dorcas pull teeth, and Dr. Lemon with minor procedures.

People had heard about the extra help and had come as far as from Mozambique to receive help while we were there. Many patients needed general assistance, some needed teeth pulled, others needed some more serious medical attention and some needed reading glasses. We tried to helped everyone we could and it was so rewarding!

We then stopped at Regina Coeli Mission on the way back, a clinic in Nyanga that takes care of thousands of patients. The nurses and Doctors do a wonderful job there, however with lack of medical supplies and medicines, it is hard to cover the need that is there!

A young girl had been burnt badly and needed urgent care. She had a pot of boiling water fall on her and she was in extreme pain. Dr. Lemon and Dr. Jahn went to work quickly and cleaned, medicated and covered all of her wounds. They left supplies for the nurses to repeat the treatment the following day and every day following that. The young girl’s mother was SO grateful as was the staff at Reginal Coeli!

Kelly and Jeri again taught the ‘Helping Babies Breathe’ Program and the staff was eager to learn.

We then headed back to Harare to refill the trucks with medical supplies and other donated items and headed out again.

This time we went to Angwa. They are always in need of extra medical supplies and were SO excited to have us arrive with help. Hundreds of people lined up for care. This time we had an additional dentist with us, Dr. James Makamba, as Dr. Dorcas was so busy with the dentistry. He was a great help to us as well and we hope he will join us during future outreaches.

Again, we all had our jobs to do and we were excited to get started. ‘Helping Babies Breath’ was taught, teeth were pulled, small medical procedures were performed, reading glassed were given, hygiene kits, newborn kits, clothing was given out, food brought smiles to hungry souls, and toys lifted the spirits of little children. It was amazing!

Jeri and Kelly also taught a program to all the staff at the clinic called ‘Helping Babies Breathe!’ It is an amazing program where the focus in on knowing what to do the first 60 seconds of a new born baby’s life and how you can prevent complications and save a baby’s life by following certain steps.
The staff was excited to learn!

Eric Rose, who had this vision of bringing a ‘medical team’ to Zimbabwe to serve, let us know daily:
‘Do you know what I love about Zimbabwe? EVERYTHING!’.

It was so rewarding to see the relief of so many people as they receive the much needed help for a problem that has been causing them pain for such a long time. They were so grateful!

We set up camp in between and enjoyed the beauty of the Zimbabwean bush, Mana Pools National Park. It truly is a chosen part of the world!

Our next stop was Binga, a remote area that saw very little of what we had to offer in terms of help. We all knew it would be a challenge to get there as the roads are a challenge – windy and bumpy dirt roads! We all agreed that the long drive would be worth it and set out with big smiles and determination to ‘save the world!”

We did have a few ‘fun’ challenges with the roads along the way!

And we found many who needed help….

Having been on the dirt roads for quite some time, we were stopped in our tracks. It was getting dark so we were grateful for our ‘headlights’ and torches! The one wheel on Rachel’s truck was making a terrible sound. We stopped all the cars and let the guys do their work. We, in the meantime found young children that was in need of some TLC.

With very little phone signal in the bush we tried to communicate with Dean (Rachel’s husband) who they were sure could help. After a few discussions they determined that a spring in the one wheel had broken.

For 45min they were trying to fix it, with no luck! I felt prompted to ask Eric, who was busy trying to fix it ‘Hey Eric, did you say a prayer?’ To which he responded ‘No!’ I said ‘Don’t you think we should? We need help.’ So we all stopped what we were doing and gathered around the car. Eric offered a prayer in which he said ‘God, we are in a bit of a jam here, and we would REALLY appreciate your help.’ We had barely finished our prayer when we in the distance could hear a truck! We were 2hrs from civilization, so a car was a miracle in itself! The driver of the truck filled with people stopped, spoke to Rachel in shona asking if we needed help. Oh boy did we need help!

He looked at our car, got up, told us to wait a minute and walked to his car. Came back with a dirty ‘bag of tricks’, meaning an old plastic grocery bag with all kinds of things in it. Suddenly he pulls out EXACTLY the spring we needed that was broken on our car, proceeded to fix the wheel, got into his car and took off. We all stood there in awe! Never have I felt/witnessed/seen such a tender mercy and a quick answer from The Lord. We were in desperate need of a Miracle and The Lord provided it. We were all SO excited, yet humbled by this clear Miracle on a dirt road in the bush! The Lord is kind!

We excitedly jumped back into our cars and continued our adventure! We stopped at the clinic in Binga, dropped off medical supplies, ATMIT porridge, newborn kits for expectant mothers and hygiene kits. They were thrilled to receive these much needed supplies although the delivery had been delayed due to our ‘car trouble’!

When we woke the following morning we saw the beauty all around our accommodation for the night – a spectacular houseboat on beautiful Lake Kariba.

We were eager to go. We all thought we were headed to Victoria Falls and a spectacular view of one of the ‘7 Natural Wonders of the World’, however Rachel stopped at a small school in Binga first. This turned out to be one of ‘the team’s’ FAVORITE stops.

We arrived at a little dirt field where some huts were scattered. They were beautifully groomed and a building structure was underway.

They were so proud and excited about their little school and we were even more excited to be there. Kids of all ages gathered as they heard we were bringing gifts! The place was buzzing and the kids were smiling, singing and dancing for us.

Please click on this link to hear them sing! https://youtu.be/B84KthBMd50

We lined up all of our supplies which included a notebook, pens, shoes, clothing, a wooden toy car, hygiene supplies, a towel and a soft toy. They were THRILLED! The smallest pre-school children got a small bag to put their things in.

We lined up all of our supplies which included a notebook, pens, shoes, clothing, a wooden toy car, hygiene supplies, a towel and a soft toy. They were THRILLED! The smallest pre-school children got a small bag to put their things in.

The medical team attended to the children who were suffering.
A highlight for them as a statement was: ‘This was my FAVORITE stop! They have nothing here. This is where I could really help!’

The children LOVE to play soccer. Their soccer ball consists of a plastic bag that is filled with either straw or other plastic bags to create a round shaped little bag/ball which they kick around. We brought them a new, ‘REAL’ soccer ball! That was like Christmas for them. The whole school wanted to play!

When we left this school, we all felt so humbled and excited to have been able to serve them. They were SO grateful, they were excited and they felt loved! We made a difference in their lives!

‘MOSI-OA-TUNYA’ (‘The Smoke That Thunders’) is one of the ‘7 Natural Wonders of the World’ and a place you HAVE to visit while in Zimbabwe.
Binga was only a 3hour drive from Victoria Falls so we were all eager to see and experience it.

It was AMAZING and a highlight for so many!

A few ‘crazy’ volunteers decided they wante to Bungy jump off the bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia or di the gorge swing (which is right there in Victoria Falls) so we got our videos and cameras ready for the BIG event! It was hilarious!

Then we had a 12 hour drive back to Harare!

We stopped at a small clinic, Lukosi St Marys, to drop of a few supplies for them and had the opportunity to give hygiene kits and newborn kits to the expectant mothers there! We LOVE newborn kits! They bring such joy!

Halfway back to Harare, just outside Bulawayo (one of the biggest cities in Zimbabwe) we came upon a huge bus accident at 5am.
A bus had rolled over, people were scattered on the side of the road, many injured, unfortunately one fatality and it was chaos.
Everyone jumped out of their cars ready to help. ‘Our’ doctors had a bag with ‘emergency medical supplies’ handy and went quickly to work. We all roamed the area looking for victims who needed medical assistance and helped where we could.
What a Blessing that we were there at that time, because they really needed the extra expert help.
It was a sobering experience.

An exhausted and VERY happy group arrived back in Harare after a fantastically rewarding trip across the country of Zimbabwe. We had seen, felt, experienced and learnt of the Zimbabwean people, their needs, their culture, their personalities and their struggles. It was an experience that I will NEVER forget. I am Eternally grateful for those who took the time to come out and serve the Zimbabwean people. THANK YOU!

Although I do not have ‘Zimbabwean blood’ in me, I am a Zimbabwean at heart. I love this country, I adore and respect the people here and I feel Blessed to have been given the opportunity to serve them!

 
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One Response

  1. Laurie Erickson

    Thank you for all you do and sharing your experiences. They are truly inspired and inspiring.
    Laurie Erickson

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