"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)

Sunday, May 10- Tuesday, May 12: Travel and Arrival at New Day Orphanage

**This is the first of many posts to do a day-by-day recap of Prosthetic Promises' May 2015 mission trip to Zambia. New Day Orphanage in Mapanza, Zambia hosts us for the trips. Check out more info about New Day at www.newdayorphanage.org

Intro: For anyone who read my vow in an earlier post to take notes and more pictures on this trip, I'd like to let you know I did it! There are so many amazing stories to tell from this trip, and I'm excited to share! The best summary statement is "God is so awesome"! He kept showing us so many amazing people, situations and events that we can't help but raise our hands in praise. So I don't tumble out an endless post that would likely not make much sense, this will be chronological. My intention is to let all who support us in donations and prayers know what exactly our mission is all about. 

Our flight left Sunday evening, May 10th, from DFW airport. Between rain storms, flash flooding and tornadoes in the metroplex, there were over 400 flights cancelled on May 10th at DFW. Our flight was delayed, but it was a huge blessing that our flight was not cancelled. All of our flights went smoothly and all 12 bags of luggage made it to Zambia. We were so thankful for the safe and smooth travel! 

Those traveling were myself, Chris, John, John's daughter Erin, Carolyn (teacher at New Day Orphanage who was traveling back after being back in the U.S. to visit her family), Cindy and Sarah (Cindy is Debbie's sister, who lives at New Day and Sarah is Cindy's granddaughter). In London, we had almost a 12 hour layover which left us time to go out into the city for a little sightseeing before our next flight to Johannesburg. Carolyn opted to stay at the airport to rest since she's seen London sights before, so Chris, John, Erin, Cindy, Sarah and I went out for sightseeing. I loved the architecture!! Such a beautiful city! [I know you aren't reading this blog for "look at my tourist-y London pictures", but I just want to share a few] :)

This guy looked so peaceful at St. James's Park.

Buckingham palace--looked different than I imagined.

Couldn't pass up the iconic telephone booth.

I really like this photo angle. Beautiful and intricate architecture! 

John, Chris and Erin being tourists.

Okay, back to the trip.... We arrived at Livingstone, Zambia early afternoon on Tuesday. After getting all our bags, convincing the guy at customs he didn't need to searched each bag we brought and loading them on Bus Number New Day, we stopped at a grocery store for snacks for our stay and headed to New Day. 

Group picture at the Livingstone airport.

We stopped a Kalomo on the way to New Day for a restroom break. The use of the restroom facility costs each person 2 kwacha (about $0.28 USD). We arrived at New Day after dark, since it took about 4 hours to travel from Livingstone to the orphanage on the bus (the bus doesn't travel fast). 
Bus picture of Erin napping on the way to New Day.

View out the front of the bus with Ricky driving. Ricky and Niki are the volunteer coordinators at New Day and picked us up at the airport.

Scenery pictures from our drive to New Day.

When we got to New Day, the kids greeted us singing outside of the dining hall. It was so fun to see everyone in a group, all excited to greet us. Ms. Carolyn returning was the biggest excitement I think...the kids swarmed around her as she got off the bus. 

They had gotten all of our equipment and supplies down from the attic of the Ark (guesthouse) where we stored it since last year and had it all sitting out in the garage. The garage was our work area for this trip. We had dinner at the Ark and then walked down to the garage to pack up our casting supplies to leave out early Wednesday for Choma to cast patients. 
Daytime picture of the garage to show where we worked everyday.

We arranged our work benches and the foot lockers around the garage...and generally made a big mess before it was all done. All foot lockers had to be shut at night to keep bugs, critters and potentially snakes from getting in.

*Next post: Wednesday, May 13: Patients in Choma

Wednesday, May 13: Patients in Choma

Wednesday was our first work day...and started early. Blu, Chris, John, Erin and I left New Day at 7:30am in the truck for Choma, which is about an hour drive. Blu did interpreting with patients (though many of them spoke English), and Erin was our photographer. Chris and I had packed casting materials and tools to see patients that were to meet us at the Choma Hospital. John also had a bag of impression materials and tools he needed for evaluating patients. The Disabilities Office in Choma had coordinated with Blu for our trip to have patients meet at the Choma Hospital Physiotherapy clinic for us to see on Wednesday. 

This is the physiotherapy (physical therapy) clinic room. It was small, not great lighting and we made a huge mess with all our plaster casting. The staff at the clinic were so nice to let us use their facility and didn't seem to mind that we basically took over their clinic for an entire morning.

Blu and Chris in discussion. Erin (on the left) was so awesome to take pictures of patients as we worked, since it got quite chaotic once patients started coming in.

Here is the waiting area with all the patients lined up. 

The foot locker full of casting materials and our tools. 

Chris and I had 12 patients we casted for prostheses, and there were 2 additional people we evaluated but could not help. One was an older lady with both legs amputated above the knees; she was not a candidate for prostheses, and Chris explained to her and her husband why it would be too difficult for her to use bilateral AK prostheses. The other person was an older man who had polio and very weakened, atrophied legs. John had 4 patients, of which 3 were candidates that he took impressions of for custom prosthetic eyes. 

Chris and I casted patients at the same time. I am casting Kin, who lost his leg below the knee in a car accident 6 years ago. He has a prosthesis that is 5 years old that he got from a charity clinic in Monze, but that socket is cracked and is causing a sore on his leg since it is ill fitting now. Chris is casting Boyd in this picture. Boyd's amputation is above the knee, and he was a truck driver before his amputation. 

John evaluating one of his patients. The lady on the right is with the Disabilities Office that coordinated the patients coming for us to see them.

Maureen is the woman in pink, and Lwisa is the lady on the left. Maureen's amputation is above the knee. 

Lwisa had an amputation 2 years ago below the knee due to diabetes. She is also mostly blind due to the diabetes. Lwisa's daughter (in the yellow shirt), who she lives with, brought her to the clinic.

Chris is talking with Matthews, who has an above knee amputation. I'm getting information from Harrison, who had an amputation below the knee 3 years ago. Harrison has a prosthesis that he said is from around the Lusaka area, but it is ill fitting. We got each patient's name and a contact phone number to be able to call them after we had the leg ready for fitting.

This is Ackson, who has an amputation above the knee. He's waiting for his turn for casting.

I'm casting Gift, who had a below knee amputation about 9 months ago due to an industrial accident involving a saw. Gift told me his last name, which is Kasanda. I thought his first name was Kasanda until he came back for fitting, at which point I apologized for getting his name mixed up. He seemed to find it pretty funny that I was confused.

Chris is casting Greenford, who has a below knee amputation due to diabetes.

John working with another one of his patients. 

The stack of casts after we were finished seeing everyone.

After seeing all of the patients at the Choma clinic, we went to lunch and then Blu had to go to the market to pick up a few things. The market was incredibly chaotic with all the stands and people. Chris, Erin and I stayed in the truck while Blu bought produce and John took some pictures. 

On the way back to New Day from Choma, we stopped at the turn off to Macha to pick up Osia. I made Osia's below knee prosthesis last year. During the year, she had returned to New Day because the prosthetic foot broke. Blu found the foot locker of feet in the attic of the Ark and replaced it, but apparently the heat in the attic had deteriorated the material of the foot he chose so it didn't hold up well either. Blu ended up duct taping the foot all together, and she's been walking around on that. In addition to a new foot, Osia needed a new socket also since she has lost weight and her leg has atrophied since last year. We took her back to New Day to cast her for a new prosthetic socket and changed the foot to a brand new foot that was donated by Otto Bock (manufacturer of prosthetic components). Blu teased her that I would fix her leg if she could prove she could run with the prosthesis. She said she couldn't run, but she has been carrying water and walking. Women carry buckets of water on their heads...she walks around with a bucket of water balanced on her head while walking with a prosthesis! Incredible! 

John's table of equipment set up.

Foot lockers full of supplies all spread out in our work area and the stack of casts from day one of casting. 

Day one of work was very busy: 13 prosthetic patients casted and 3 eye patients' impressions taken. We got more equipment set up after Osia left, so we could get to work first thing Thursday.

*Next post: Thursday, May 14: A year is a long wait for a leg...

Thursday, May 14: A year is a long wait for a leg...

Sunrise outside "The Ark" guesthouse at New Day

Thursday morning brought more patients for evaluation and casting. Thursday's group of patients were to meet at the Macha radio station, which had been announcing our upcoming trip for some weeks. Blu went to Macha with the New Day bus to pick everyone up to bring them back to the orphanage for us to see. We had set up a casting area in the garage for prosthetic patients, and John had a table in The Ark set up for evaluating patients. 

The "Macha" group of people varied so much from the "Choma" group of people. Patients that we saw at Choma mostly live in a town. People who can live in one of the cities generally have a better quality of life. They had nicer clothes, had shoes, at least one guy had a vehicle that he drove to the clinic, and they had the means to travel distances to see us, as several were from Livingstone which is a few hours away. The people that met at the Macha radio station to come see us are the ones living out in the bush. Many of them did not own shoes, their clothes were very worn, transport is difficult...they often walk or ride a bicycle if they have one. 

Before the bus arrived back at New Day with all the patients from Macha, we had a patient that had hired transport by motorcycle and came straight to New Day. It was Joel! We saw Joel last year for a below knee prosthesis. He never came back for fitting, so we had left the prosthesis with Blu and Wes, and we had instructed them on how to fit it if he ever came back. Apparently, he said he never heard his name announced over the radio to come back for fitting. He waited a whole year to get his leg...and this man was so excited to get a prosthesis and walk! 
Chris and I were so excited Joel had come back...it bothered us so much that he wasn't able to get his leg last year. This is Chris and Joel praying together before fitting. We were both so emotional on this fitting. 

Chris fitting Joel with the prosthesis made last year...it fit great! The man standing behind is Fence, who did translating for us.

Chris teaching Joel how to walk with the prosthesis. He had crutches but quickly put those aside, because he wanted to walk independently.

Joel on the motorbike as he's leaving...incredibly excited! 

Another patient who came before the Macha group arrived was Killion. I made Killion's prosthesis last year. He is a below knee amputee due to a car accident, and he was a truck driver who was able to return to work after being fit with the prosthesis. He brought the prosthesis I made with him and was wearing one that he had gotten in the city of Ndola. His leg had atrophied so the prosthesis I made became ill fitting. He was able to purchase a new leg for 4,000 kwacha (about $550 USD). His leg had become more atrophied since being fit with the newer prosthesis, so I gave him a liner to take up the volume and adjusted the height of the prosthesis for him. He left the older prosthesis I made him last year so I could use the parts for other people. 

Before the bus came with people from Macha, John also had people come straight to New Day. He had 3 patients to evaluate before everyone else arrived. 

John's patients.

"Bus Number New Day" was full of people when they arrived! There were 8 people for Chris and I to see, plus some family members who came. John had 9 patients, plus family members of those patients. Chairs were set up outside The Ark for all of John's patients, and we set up chairs in the garage for the prosthetic patients.

The prosthetic "waiting area"

The eye "waiting area"

Chris and I casted 5 people for prostheses: Anold- was casted for his third prosthesis...Chris made him his first one in 2012 and since he's a child he needs a new one each year due to growth, Mooya- was casted for a different style of prosthesis since she has not been able to use the first prosthesis Chris made her in 2012 because of discomfort, Jimmy- needed a new leg since he broke the one he got in 2012 while riding a bicycle this past year, Rafael- was casted for a new prosthesis since he was unable to use the one Chris made in 2012 due to discomfort and falling, and Obote- was casted for an above knee prosthesis for the first time. We also saw Jessica for repairs to her leg made last year. Gladys, a woman with polio, came hoping for new crutches or a repair to her crutches. She didn't come expecting us to do something for her weak and smaller right leg due to polio...she just needed some forearm crutches that worked. Unfortunately we did not have a new pair of forearm crutches to give her, but I was able to repair both crutches so that they worked properly again. We also saw Mary, who is an older lady and not a candidate for a prosthesis, because she is not strong enough to stand and wouldn't have the strength and energy needed to walk with a prosthesis. There is a wheelchair on the shipping container that should be arriving at New Day soon that she can have. The woman who came with Mary had to pick her up to move her from the bus to the chair in the garage. The wheelchair will enable her to move around without someone needing to lift her. We got the contact information for Mary, so they can contact her once the container arrives at New Day. 

Jessica and her husband. She was very pleased with the function of her prosthesis once the repairs were made. 

The lady in the purple is interviewing Mooya. She came from the Macha radio station with the patients to interview different people during the evaluation processes. They will air the interviews and story about our mission trip on their radio station. The lady wanted to interview Chris but was disappointed Chris didn't speak Tonga. She ended up interviewing Blu instead. 

Chris casting Jimmy.

Before picture of a boy John fit with an eye. John had made some eyes before the trip to bring with him that he could try and make minor adjustments to for fitting. This enabled him to fit more patients since he didn't have to take impressions and make custom eyes for all the people he saw. 

This is Emmanuel, and he traveled with 2 other people on a motorbike about 100km to see John. He's completely blind, but John was able to fit him with a left eye. 

This lady was too funny. I wasn't there for the fitting of her eye, but the story was great. She danced around after John fit her with the prosthetic eye. Blu then told her she could take the eye out to clean it. She said "No I'm not taking the eye out. The doctor put it in and I'm not taking it out. If I do, a chicken might eat and then I'd have to kill the chicken because it ate my eye." She was definitely excited about her eye and very entertaining. 

After the the first group of people were taken back to Macha, they brought 2 more patients for John to see that were waiting at the radio station. Not everyone that comes to see John is able to be fit with a prosthetic eye, and some who come are confused about what John does exactly. Many people who come just can't see well and need glasses...John brought over 35 pairs of reading glasses and donated prescription glasses, and those were all fit by the end of the trip. Some people who come are completely blind and thinking John can give them sight...which is obviously a difficult and disappointing conversation for John and the person who came. 

Later in the afternoon, Hacompwe (pronounced Ha-jomp-way) came for repair and check-up to his prosthesis. He's had his prosthesis since 2012. Last year, the knee had to be replaced because he had broken it playing soccer. This year, the foot was worn and replaced. He also got a new liner and socks. 

After a very busy second work day, we had planned to go back to the garage for more work after dinner. But...the power went out during dinner, which we finished by candlelight and flashlight, and didn't come back on for 2 hours. So we got some much needed rest instead. 

*Next post: Friday, May 15: Determination=riding a bicycle 5 hours to get a leg...