I was welcomed back to Zambia just after the terrible news that our president, Mr. Michael Sata, had passed away (28 October 2014). This is an interesting time in Zambia’s history, in which former Vice President, Guy Scott, has been thrown into the position of Acting President for the next 90 days until the presidential election is held. This is the first time on the continent of Africa that a white man has held the position of head of state since Nelson Mandela’s predecessor, Frederik de Klerk, in South Africa in 1996. These next few months should be interesting, to see how the former ruling party, Patriotic Front (PF), unravels as each political leader clamors to become president, and to see if Mr. Sata’s wife, Christine Kaseba, will venture out and run for president against her step-son (Michael Sata’s son from another wife), Mulenga Sata.
On to other, non-political topics.
1. Welcome, baby Zachariah! On 1 September 2014, we were thrilled to welcome our precious new baby boy into the world.
|Sweet baby Zachariah, the newest missionary|
Zachariah, or “Zach” for short, was born at Loma Linda University Medical Center. NSVD. Healthy. And of course slightly jaundiced, being an Asian child.
|Newborn nursery with the double bili lights|
After the usual round of bili lights, we were told that his biliruben levels had come down nicely, and we were able to go home from the hospital on time. His big sister was anxious to smother him with kisses; love mixed with jealousy was the theme of that relationship.
|No, look again, he doesn't have polydactyly|
|Admiring the newborn baby|
We make sure that Jaycee does not get too close to Zach, lest he get attacked with her surprise sweep of fingernails. Nonetheless, everyone is thrilled to have this new addition to the family.
|Jaycee with 1 month old Zach|
|Spending quality time with the grandparents|
|Jaycee with 2 month old Zach and Auntie Helen|
2. Jaycee thoroughly enjoyed her three months in California. It was a lot of firsts for her. She got her first perm.
|Ummm...what did we just do to our toddler?|
|What a trooper|
She got her first violin lesson (by yours truly) on a real violin.
She also enjoyed playing her Dora guitar.
|One day we'll get her a real ukelele|
She had many opportunities for playdates, which she rarely partook of while in Zambia. Alex & Andi, Andrew & Ethan, Ryann & Dylan, Nathan & Joshua & Elle, Joshua, Lyla, Yuna, Joshua & Caleb & Noah, even baby Mikko.
|Great seeing you, Kelly!|
|Love the twins' twins!|
|Selina, your sons' got my daughter on a choke-hold.|
|Janine & Curtis, thanks for coming out.|
|Sunah & Curtis, your daughter's a hoot! Jaycee loves Lyla!|
|Hanging out with Lyla & Yuna in Loma Linda's hidden park|
|Jane & Fred, great seeing you.|
|Seeing Sonia after 7 years|
She especially loved hanging out with her cousin, Oliver.
|Jaycee's favorite cousin, "Ollie oppa"|
She loved attending church, getting the peer interaction that she so craved. On Wednesdays we would sometimes attend “story time” at the local library, during which Jaycee would sing songs, listen to a book being read, having craft time, and choosing a few books to take home and read during the week.
|Singing songs at the library|
We celebrated her 2nd birthday in California, and she got to experience Chuck E. Cheese’s for the first time.
|She had a blast at Chuck E. Cheese's|
It was only during the last week or two in California that Jaycee began to perseverate on Zambia, repeatedly saying, “I wanna go back to Zambia.” “Why?” we would ask. “I wanna see papa…and Cino [our dog]!”
3. During my leave, I had the chance to speak to several audiences regarding the work at Lusaka Eye Hospital. First was for the English Ministry at the Loma Linda Korean SDA Church on 16 August 2014. Being 38 weeks pregnant seemed to make speaking in front of a large audience more difficult, but by God’s grace I somehow managed. Three weeks after the birth of Zachariah, I was on the go again. I had the opportunity to speak to the Claremont International Church, then two weeks later for vespers at the Loma Linda Korean SDA Church. On 15 October 2014 I spoke at Grand Rounds for a group of ophthalmologists at Loma Linda University’s Department of Ophthalmology, and a week later at a vespers for young medical and dental students at Loma Linda University. Finally on 1 November 2014, a day before I returned to the U.S., I spoke at a benefit concert that the Inland Korean Ladies’ Choir put on to raise funds for Lusaka Eye Hospital.
|Inland Korean Ladies' Choir, my mom's choir for 23 years|
What a blessing it was to share my experiences with the different groups of people, to see their response and excitement about the work, and to see the response that came out of their desire to help our little institution and to somehow be a part of the work going on in Zambia. I praise God for the fundraising efforts and for each individual who gave something to the cause. Each dollar will certainly go a long ways!
4. Because of the timing of Zach’s birth (which was very similar to that of Jaycee’s birth 2 years ago), and because of the every 2 yearly cycle of conferences that are held in certain locations, Paul and I were able to attend some conferences in the U.S. In August, Paul went to Chicago for a dental conference. We also got to attend the the Global Healthcare Conference in Loma Linda in October. I was delighted to be able to attend the AAO (American Academy of Ophthalmology) in Chicago and the AMEN (Adventist Missionary Evangelism Network) Conference in San Diego, both held in October. All the conferences were a blessing to attend, with great networking, reunions, and opportunities for learning. In Chicago, the AAO was a great chance to catch up with ophthalmology colleagues.
|Three generations of Lusaka Eye Hospital medical directorship - Drs. Boateng Wiafe and Eustace Penniecook|
|Kristen and I, posing with our cornea fellowship director, Dr. Jim Chodosh|
|With Dr. Dohlman, now 92!|
|Love you, Sandy & Dr. Kathy Colby.|
|Yummy vegan dinner at Karyn's Cooked|
One highlight of the Loma Linda Health conference was hearing Drs. Gillian Seton and James Appel share about their experiences in Monrovia, Liberia, in the midst of the ebola epidemic.
|Dr. James Appel|
Finally, seeing old friends was a treat at the AMEN conference, especially our mini reunion of medical school classmates!
|LLUSM Class of 2006|
5. Since Paul came back to Zambia alone before the rest of the family, he had some free time to take some students camping at the Lower Zambezi National Park. He had an amazing adventure in the wild.
|Student missionaries' tent - close encounters with elephants during the day and hippos at night|
|Hanging out with the elephants|
|Zambian car wash|
|Elephant skull minus the ivory|
|Someone didn't get a lawn chair|
My long trip back to Zambia was not easy to make with a toddler and infant, but the fact that my parents came along to help made a world of difference. They will be hanging out in Zambia with us for the next 2 months. After a few days of the entire family struggling with jet lag and trying to get back into our routine, we’re now back to life as normal in Zambia!
|Lovin' the noodles|
Stay tuned for more Zambian adventures to come.