We travelled to Zambia visiting the CURE International Hospital in Lusaka which serves primarily children with orthopedic (including club feet and cleft lip/palette), neurological (hydrocephalus, tumors, etc) and ENT problems (tubes, tonsillectomies, hearing impairments). We feel privileged to have the opportunity to contribute in a practical way to the outreach of this hospital. The stated goal of the CURE hospital system is to transform the lives of children and their families through physical and spiritual healing. A central purpose of the CURE staff is to demonstrate Jesus love to the child who comes and to their family. As the Spiritual Life staff support parents as they process a myriad of feelings in raising their disabled children (such as rejection, alienation, brokenness and hopeless), the SL staff seek to demonstrate concern and, as God leads them to share hope and truth from God’s Word. I was privileged to personally observed how the CURE staff listen to, respect and respond in love to concerns of individual parents at the various CURE locations we’ve visited including here in Zambia. When needed, they also are involved here in helping with vocational training for parents – usually moms – who benefit from tools to better provide income to support the needs of their child and the family. I personally find the environment here to be Grace filled.
So, what have I been up to? I have been visiting the children in the Pediatric ward and their parents and doing activities with them that I brought along. The ward is divided into 3 sections: orthopedic, ENT and neuro. My goal is to share Christ’s love. Most here understand some degree of English so communication is through basic English, gestures and other nonverbal communication and other nearby parents acting as “translators.” I had a revelation yesterday as a mom told me one reason they don’t understand me is my accent. (In Zambia, having been a former British colony, an English accent is the rule.) When she said that I remembered instances of hearing Americans here slip into African English…and thinking it was odd. Not so odd after all.
I also had the opportunity to observe orthopedic surgery one morning last week and was impressed with the high standards and professionalism of the OR staff, and the pleasant and respectful atmosphere.
What is it like here in Zambia? The weather until a few days ago was hot, windy and very dry. Then we had a prolonged rain one evening and since then it’s been cooler at night and not so hot in the afternoons. We are staying in the guesthouse on the hospital grounds so we are close to “the action.” The people here are soft-spoken and quite friendly. The educated and business people speak English.
Building relationships is the foundation of everything here. You would think I would have learned that key lesson after all these years. You DON’T get down to business right away…you need to show concern for the person you’re talking to first. How are they today? The family? Try to connect. So many times I forget and say what I want or need without that preliminary connecting. The Lord convicted me of that Monday morning and I confessed it to the hospital employee and asked her forgiveness. I backed up and began over again asking her about herself, her family, etc. The memory of the softening of her face, her smile and outstretched hand are priceless. (Lord, help that to become a habit in ALL my interactions.)