john deason zambia

The clinic went very well.  We saw easily 3,000 plus patients a day and were out there for 6 days for a total of well over 16,000 patients in the end.  The other two villages we visited were not as exuberant in the welcoming, but they were happy to receive medical attention nonetheless.  I found I became rather adjusted to being completely covered in dirt while out there.  I’ll give credit to my dad for all those camping trips.  So even when we came back from the bush I really didn’t rush to go take a shower.  I turn 26 on the 26th of the month along with a new found friend Molly who turned 21.  They serve Mac and Cheese for us and I received a double helping of chocolate pudding at Supper.  All in all I dare say I couldn’t have had a better location for a Golden Birthday!

Our primary concern is collecting data for one day implementing a computer into the mission.  Each day me, Britt, Dr. Staggs (who insists I call him Bill), and Brandon Post (our tech guy we could not have survived this trip without) work on getting our quota of data we need to see the most common complaint, diagnosis, and medicine dispensed.  Once we achieve that, we work in different areas.   Most chose to stay in the pharmacy and lend a hand.  I usually go to various departments and see what they’re up to, which naturally means I get to lend a hand.  

Once all the clinics were over and everyone was taken care of, the entire group (minus most of the Zambians) went to Livingstone for a short break before we headed back top the States.  There we took in the sights such as Victoria Falls and a Beautiful Sunset Cruise.  It was also an opportunity to say goodbye to everyone that might not be on the same flight back.

Its incredibly hard for me to explain how I felt in those few days.  I had spent so much time in an area where electricity wasn’t even a guarantee, and yet, here we were in a pleasant little hotel with hot showers day and night and all kinds of places to eat and hang out.  It took some time to adjust, but I think the hardest feeling for me to face was that I soon would be leaving.

It’s so strange; after being here for so long, I found that Namwianga had become a home to me; the people I stayed with and the Zambians my family.  Working hand in hand with them, spending every minute of the day with them, and sharing our lives with each other really formed bonds that are difficult to describe...  As much as I desired a moment alone to collect my thoughts (you rarely get a chance to yourself with so many around), the idea of leaving them knowing you won’t see each other for a considerable amount of time, was unbearable. 

Goodbyes were eventually said in a bustling Dulles Airport while we clamored to find all of our luggage and rush to catch our connecting flights (some of which weren’t caught).  There was a sincere look in the eyes of each person I hugged and wished safety for in the next leg of their journey that they too would be missing each and every one they had spent just a fast paced, hectic, yet so beautifully wonderful time with.

Loneliness really didn’t register until I was on my flight back to Nashville.  As I looked back on the nearly two months spent in Zambia, I could only smile.  Only the best of memories kept coming back into my mind, though I know I had some hard days and times where I lost my temper, none of that seemed to be relocatable in my memory.   I knew God had granted me a wonderful time.

I was almost lost to my thoughts, then I saw the green hills of Tennessee.  It’s funny how you just know when you’re over your own State.  Instantly my heart skipped a beat.  All of my friends and family that I had been missing for so long came rushing back into mind.  For the first time since the trip began, I just jumping out of my seat wanting to be back home.  I landed to hugs and hellos and the rest is history.

I was talking to my friend about my trip, when he asked, “We’ll did you find what you needed while you were there?”  I replied, “Yes, I got everything I needed and have come back with new wants that I never knew I’d have!”  I explained that God was gracious in letting me look into the window of what he wanted from me out of my life.  While I didn’t come prepared to work and perform all the tasks I wanted to do, I was comforted by the fact that this is why I am still in school and why I was led to pharmacy to begin with.  I fully believe that God intends for me to come back and prepare myself, because next time I won’t be looking into a window, I’ll be walking though a door.

Praise God for this trip and for all those who have made it possible.  More importantly, thank you for all those who have taken an interest in reading this blog and praying for my on this journey!