Zambia

We drove across the first half of Zambia without much incident apart from a few massive potholes and some dodgy corners. Time meant that we couldnt travel north to the Camara Hub in Kitwe. We arrived in the concrete jungle of Lusaka and got the opportunity to do some admin. Once we had done that we headed south to a town called Chikankata. Chikankata is famous not only throughout Zambia but also worldwide as one of the best Salvation Army mission hospitals in the region. Here we met our friends Dave McKinney and Tori Graham who were on medical placement as part of their degree course. They had kindly offered to put us up for a night and show us the work they had been doing at the hospital. Chikankata can handle over 200 patients but for all this there are only a few doctors plus the medical students who were there for a period of 6 weeks. Chikankata is also a college for Nurses and Biomedical Science. Dave showed about the different wards. A number of things shocked us. The windows need to be kept open at night to avoid the spread of Tuberculosis which means the patients are left freezing every night. Outside one of the wards was a very nice pond, but Dave pointed out to this that this was a perfect breeding ground for Mosquitoes. Dave outlined the problems he had faced while working there. Most cases he saw were simply failures in hygiene that had gotten out of hand or infected. What are simple cases in the UK and Ireland are exacerbated by the environment or a lack of knowledge in Zambia. Sex Education is becoming less of a taboo which is necessary for the prevention of HIV/AIDs. Dave also found it hard to work with the locals, due to language barriers and different perspectives on life very different from his own. He had a number of issues with how the hospital did business, there were lots of people on the payroll who didn’t need to be or simply didn’t do all that there job required of them. He said there were extremes in the care provided by the nurses, some will dote on patients and take really good care of them while others will only take action if they really need to. If anything it really makes you appreciate the level of health care available to us back home.  Dave had finished his placement and was heading off on an adventure of his own to climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. We said our farewells and parted ways with promises of a reunion in September over Gucci Chips kebabs. We journeyed on towards Livingstone to see Victoria Falls. We found ourselves in a Backpackers Campsite near the centre. The next day we went up to the Falls and the first thing you notice long before you see it is the roar it makes. We went right up to the bridge with Zimbabwe to get our snaps at the border. We then travelled up to the viewpoints right beside the Falls. We had been warned by others to protect our cameras from the Falls spray. It was like a November day back home as a fine misty rain decended upon us. We could see the droplets of water gravitating up towards us. We sat in the shade of some trees and watched as tourists did the bungee jump. Jack and JC decided to go and have an adrenaline rush of their own and hired a local to take them out over the lip of the falls. They had to battle against the strong currents of the Zambezi to get out to the lip. The view was spectacular while Chris missed out as he was tired out by the short hike to Boiling Point look out point, altitude being the reason rather than attitude. However, Victoria Falls is really one of the most awe inspiring sights we have seen on the trip.

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One Response to “Zambia”

  1. David Cairns Says:

    Hi Guys, I’m really enjoying reading about your amazing trip. I’m so jealous. I’m the new Project Manager for Camara in Belfast so i look forward to catching up with you when you are back to hear all about it. You can reach me on belfast@camara.ie
    David Cairns

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