"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."
1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)

Friday, Sept. 27- Sunday, Sept. 29: A day in Livingstone and heading home...

On Friday, we left New Day about 7am to head to Livingstone. Protashow took us to Livingstone to do a few sight seeing things before our flight on Saturday. 

Group photo before we left New Day! L to R: Amanda, Andy, Fostina, Protashow, Carol, Graham, Katie, Traci

We went to Victoria Falls, which is incredibly dry during this drought. There is a little water falling on the Zimbabwe side but only a few trickles on the Zambia side. 

I took a photo of the group looking out at the rock formations where the Falls generally are.

  I kind of like the dry season view of the Falls since you can see all the rock formations and not covered by all the mist that is present when we've gone in April. But it is cool to see the contrast. Traci and Amanda both came in April (2017 for Traci and 2018 for Amanda), so they got to see the contrast of after rainy season vs during the dry season this trip.


Andy and Graham. And you can see the water falling on the Zimbabwe side behind them.

Protashow also arranged for a game drive truck to take us through Mosi Oa Tunya park to see safari animals. (We all paid our own way on these touristy things) :)


Giraffes...my favorite!

And we were taken by guards to see the White Rhinos they have at the park. Guards are constantly protecting these rhinos, as they are endangered.

One of guards obliged us with taking a group photo in front of the rhinos.

We had dinner Friday night and stayed at a hotel in Livingstone. Then went by the market downtown on Saturday morning before Protashow dropped us off at the airport. We were grateful for a little time to see the sights and experience a little tourism before heading home. 

And that's a wrap on another Prosthetic Promises trip to Zambia!

When reflecting on trips after we return, I often find that people asked "What was a highlight?" or just "How did the trip go?". And often times it's difficult for me to answer (perhaps others on the trips have an easier time). It's difficult to describe how awesome it is to be used by God on these trips, feeling that this is a specific purpose I was called to do using the skills He gave me. You kind of just have to experience it to really know! But I hope that reading through these day-by-day blog posts help show you a little about these trips and help you know why we keep feeling led to continue providing prosthetic, orthotic, ocular prosthetic and physical therapy care at the PPIHN clinic. 

This trip we saw 57 patients total for prosthetics, orthotics and physical therapy, and we fabricated 26 new prostheses during the trip. And all of this happened in just 9 working days! It was an empowering experience, and I think I can speak for all of the team members this trip that we were all grateful for the opportunity to serve In His Name in Zambia. 

Already looking forward to April 2020 for our next trip if funding allows. We are assembling the team at this time and have a new team member interested in joining, and also looking at fundraising to make the trip possible. Please join us in continued prayer for all the patients who we provide care for, Protashow as he takes care of the clinic and patients between our trips, and more largely, the people and country of Zambia as they continue to face difficulties in the historic drought they are experiencing right now. 

Thursday, Sept. 26: Patient fittings Day #2

Thursday started with Protashow driving the bus to Choma to pick up patients at the Disabilities Office. We had made a list of names of the 20 people he needed to have on the bus to come back for fittings.

In the morning before the bus arrived, Vincent came back for delivery of a pediatric walker that we found in the storage room. (We had sorted through the storage room with crutches and walkers to send some with Protashow to the Disabilities Office, so they would have some on hand if people came by.) We were so glad we had a pediatric walker for him! Rhoda, who is Vincent's mother or grandmother (not sure), brought us two mahuma fruits (we were told they are Zambian coconuts...but taste nothing like coconut) as thank you gifts.

Also going on Thursday morning was the "'Under 5" clinic on the porch. It's a check up clinic for kids under 5 yrs old that is held at the PPIHN clinic once a month. Here's how they weigh the kids! And amazingly most of the kids don't cry while being weighed like that.

All the prostheses waiting for fitting!

The bus arrived around 11am with all the patients. Here's everyone starting to unload off the bus.

It was a windy and unseasonably cool day, so most people moved the chairs out in the sun to stay warm.

Here's Dennis before fitting of a new left BK prosthesis. His right AK prosthesis was working well for him. 

Andy working with Dennis to check alignment and height of the prostheses. He does really well with balance and using prostheses on both sides!

Traci making alignment changes for Alan.

Alan was pleased with the prosthesis and did really well. 

Graham and Protashow getting a pylon cut for a prosthesis.

Graham adjusting the height of a prosthesis.

Lawrence with a new above knee prosthesis. He's had one before, so he can walk without needing crutches, cane or walker. 

Family photo! Protashow's wife, Mianda (sp?), had brought their youngest to the Under 5 clinic. 

Traci adjusting the alignment on Greenford's new below knee prosthesis. 

Here Andy is checking the top of Franciso's hips to make sure the height of the prosthesis is correct.

Instructing Protashow on alignment changes for Amos' above knee prosthesis. 

Before lunch was served, Traci fit Friday with the hand strap with spoon so he could try it out while eating lunch.

I think he was impressed! 

Traci making an alignment change for Christopher's prosthesis.

All smiles after fitting of a new prosthesis and working with Amanda on therapy!

Amanda working with Emmy on weight shifting with her new prosthesis. A great way to practice weight shifting is to practice stepping up on a small step (here the sidewalk) with each side. This gives the patient a sense of what the socket feels like to keep the knee extended while they will be stepping through with the sound side leg. 

Given walking with above knee prosthesis.

A busy area in the clinic. Amanda doing therapy with Given (practicing weight shifting) while Andy was adjusting the above knee prosthesis for Victor.

First step is to make sure the shoes we selected fit the patient. Here River is lacing up the shoe while I get the prosthesis ready for him to put on.

Andy assessing prosthetic alignment and function while the patient works on walking properly with the new prosthesis.

Traci fitting Friday with his below knee prosthesis. He has a more unique leg shape with such a long residual leg, so it required a "window" design for the prosthesis.

Protashow reapplying the sail of a prosthesis after modifying the socket shape.

Friday standing with his right below knee prosthesis and left partial foot prosthesis.

He walked well with both prostheses but will need practice on balancing since he's been walking with crutches on a partial left foot and only a protector on the bottom of the right leg.

I'm instructing on how to get the prosthetic knee to extend for stepping down initially on the prosthetic side. (also could be a mis-interpreted as an interesting dance move perhaps)

Amanda instructing on weight shifting and using the new prosthesis.

Ida was so excited to be fit with prostheses.

We fit her with what's called "stubbies". Her amputations are above the knee on both sides, so that's incredibly difficult to use standard length prostheses with prosthetic knees and balance.

The stubbies will allow her to stand and walk around her house mainly, but will be helpful in getting her out of her wheelchair and giving her some mobility around the house. She was so excited that she wanted to stand up and sing for us. 

Also got a group photo!

 Njanji was the last to be seen for fitting of his prosthesis....and he was so patient about it with such a great attitude.

Protashow doing the final check of River's above knee prosthesis.

Traci and Friday after his prosthetic fitting.

Andy assessing Njanji's new below knee prosthesis for correct alignment and function.

Got a photo of Njanji wearing his new prosthesis and holding the wooden one he had carved for himself.

Girls photo!

And the last people loading up on the bus to head back to Choma. 

We completed all the patient fittings about 6pm on Thursday. Protashow drove the bus back to Choma to the Disabilities Office where he would drop everyone off. It was a great day with people getting new, better fitting prostheses or prostheses for the first time! Lots of patients visiting with each other and experienced patients helping the new ones learn how to use their prosthesis. A very encouraging and positive experience....I love how much of a support group everyone is while waiting at the clinic. 

Another cool story from the day was that Wes brought a man named David up to the clinic to see what we were doing. David was at New Day to discuss the road at the bridge with Wes, which needs to be repaired before rainy season. Wes told us at the end of the day that David was amazed that we would come to Zambia to provide prostheses for people for free, and the experience of showing David what we do gave Wes an opportunity to witness to him. Very cool! 

We were so thankful for all the New Day staff and housemothers who came up to the clinic to help with translating, taking pictures and assisting the patients throughout the day!

After the bus left at 6pm, we finished packing up the clinic and locking everything up. 

We had dinner and tried the mahuma fruit that was given to us (which was a definite interesting experience...hard and stringy texture, so kind of like a fruit jerky?). Here's Amanda holding the fruit before it was cut.

We all worked on packing up our things to be ready to leave out at 7am for Livingstone on Friday. Some New Day staff stopped by the Ark to say goodbye before we left the next morning. 

*Next post: Friday, Sept. 27- Sunday, Sept. 29: A day in Livingstone and heading home...