Day 5 – First Clinic Day

After much planning and preparation, today we learned to hold our plans tentatively and to go with the flow.

Our plans were to start the clinic by 9am, but our actual start time was more like 11am. After a few delays in our departure, a forgotten backpack, we were further slowed down by hitting a goat on our drive to the school. Goats are an important food source in Zambia. So in the time it took Moses to find the goat’s owner to apologize for the accident, the village had circled around the goat and picked up every last piece of it from the road.

We decided to start the clinic with the oldest students first. One clinic handled the girls, and the second clinic handled the boys. There were three stops in each clinic. The first stop was with Jerry and Kate to check each student in, initiate their medical file, take their photo, and get their height and weight. The second stop was with our RNs, Beth and Sandy, for an eye exam, vitals, and family and medical history. The last stop was with JR and Mathew for a basic physical exam. Missy, our other RN, served as the floater helping where needed and giving us bathroom breaks. And each stop, the teachers served as interpreters. It would have been impossible to do without the help of the teachers – how else could you explain a blood pressure cuff! The teacher’s presence also helped put the students at ease.

It was amazing how seamlessly the clinics operated and how willing (and curious) the students were to be examined and answer questions. We were able to get through all the grade 6-9 girls and boys on the first day (which was our goal.) We knew that many of the students would be malnourished and that hygiene would be a problem, but were surprised to learn that virtually all of the students had repeatedly suffered from malaria. We also learned that most of the boys do not sleep with bed nets, but most of the girls do. Several of the children are orphaned but living with other family members. A few students with pressing issues were identified and we are planning to meet with their parents on Thursday to encourage and help them get to a nearby clinic for treatment.

As the clinics were in progress, Janice taught classes on basic hand washing and hygiene. Utilizing her years of teaching, Janice used puppets to show how germs transfer and demonstrated how to wash hands properly. The kids were rapt with attention in her class and delighted in the goody bags they received after it.

After a very late lunch at the school, we headed back to the hotel with a bus load of people to drop off along the way. There is never a direct drive from point A to point B here in Zambia! And although the students we were not planning to see today were officially dismissed hours before we left, they lingered for as long as they could to just be around us.

Once we got back to the hotel, we settled in to the lobby to debrief and print all the student photos. We printed two of each photo – one photo to attach to their medical files (which will be stored at the school) and one photo that we will give them tomorrow. It’s a small thing, but these children rarely even see their reflection and so will be overjoyed to have their own picture to keep.

With each day, the children are less shy and more talkative. It’s hard to describe how special it was to learn each child’s name, to be able to touch each of them, and for them to allow us to share in their medical concerns. We can’t wait for tomorrow.


  1. Crystal Olmsted says

    Guys, what great feedback you are providing. I can only hope that those that have contributed to help us in this journey are reading this and feeling the amount of emotion that I am. I pray for your continued guidance and safety!

  2. Monica and I just got done reading this latest post. Both with tears. Amazing to hear about the clinic day and knowing about all of the preparation and prayers behind it. Excited for the days ahead and the next blog post. We continue to pray for the team and the days ahead. Z.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing all these incredible experiences with us. It’s amazing to hear about the lives you are touching and the children’s excitement and joy. Way to go Janice! Sounds like you’re right in your element. God is using all of you in powerful ways.

    Love, Cuzin Joy;)

  4. Hi Beth and Team – Thanks for the work that you are doing and for writing this blog. Know that there are many people over here thinking and praying for you and the people you are helping in Zambia. Much love to everyone over there!!

  5. Dianne Ross says

    What an amazing gift you are giving (and receiving). I love reading your updates, and this last one brought me to tears. THANK YOU for what you are doing for and with these children….
    Praying for you all, continuously!

  6. becky kurtz says

    this is an amazing story. i’m eager to hear each person’s individual experience.

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