Engage the Mission: Zambia
By: Brittany Latimer, Class of 2012
The Zambia Medical Mission (ZMM) is an annual event that has been taking place since the 1990s. Every year, Americans and Zambians come together to hold clinics in four different villages in the southern province. Back in the ‘90s it began as a much smaller operation but has blossomed over the years to now include about ninety-six Americans and over one hundred Zambians.
The clinic is composed of many different areas which include medical, dental, wound care, ophthalmic care, pharmacy, spiritual and children’s ministry. A line begins to form early in the morning before the clinic opens around 8 a.m. and will remain until around 5 p.m. when the clinic closes. There are nurses and doctors at the front of the line that triage the patients
and determine to which station they need to go to. Through the collaboration of the Americans and Zambians, the ZMM was able to see almost 20, 000 people over a six-day period. They were also able to distribute over 501 clean delivery kits, baptize 96 people, perform over 50 cataract surgeries, give over 50 wheelchairs away, and deliver 2 babies.
One of the things that I will never forget are the people. The people are so friendly and peaceful. Although they may not be as materially blessed as we are, they are generous with the most precious commodity, time. It is much more like a community where everyone takes care of one another and takes the time to spend with one another.
Though the trip was demanding physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, I cannot express how much I have been blessed by this trip and how much I grew as a person during this time.
By: John Deason, Class of 2012
Zambia, as you could probably guess, was the trip of a lifetime! I, along with Brittany Latimer, was there for just shy of two months. In that time I worked at the local Zonal Clinic doing everything from taking temperature and dispensing medications to pulling teeth and giving shots. Once the actual mobile medical clinic began, I was mostly working on entering the data for the computer system we brought (thanks to Healing Hands International). When we had some down time, I generally left the pharmacy to see how the other departments (wound care, general medical, and etc) operated.
Without a doubt, learning a new culture and making new friends was one of the most fascinating and fulfilling aspects of the journey. I found that there were some things my pharmacy knowledge really paid off for (i.e. antimicrobials), but my understanding of tropical diseases was sadly very lacking. Coming back has only given me a fire to finish up school and a new direction to put my focus on.
Zambia was beautiful in its own way. I’ll never forget all that I’ve seen (especially Victoria Falls!). What has truly made a lasting impression though has been the people. Beyond the relationships I’ve made, I can’t get over the spirit that is in the Zambians. It is one of patience and laughter despite the disparities these people face. It’s truly a testament emphasizing that even after all is stripped away we are still content in having only God’s love and mercy.