April is a busy month for my family. We have three birthdays, a spring break for one school, taxes are due, Easter is usually in late March or April. And, my annual trek to Zambia fits in as well. The weather is perfect in Lusaka in mid April. Highs of around 80 and lows near 60. I’m not sure it ever rains during our time in Zambia. But that’s not the main reason we go, just a nice coincidence.
Dr. Joe Clawson and I are going for our third annual cleft lip and palate medical mission trip. We’ll be at Beit Cure hospital in Lusaka. It is starting to feel like going for a trip to visit family as we look forward to seeing Tshoma, Giorgio, Lucy, Irene, Judy, Victor, George, the list goes on. They are an amazing group of people that make this mission trip culminate in 25 or more children going home with repaired cleft lips and palates. It is the most rewarding week of my year. I never tire of looking at the pictures of the children we’ve treated in past trips, their parents and the smiles of gratitude that speak volumes in a people whose language I can’t otherwise understand.
We arrived late last night after three long flights (and over 24 hours of travel) and rolled our six large suitcases, mostly filled with medical supplies, and 4 carry-ons out into the parking lot and were greeted with…No, not the eight passenger van we were expecting, but with a four door sedan. And our dear Victor had brought a friend with him to the airport. That made four people who also needed to fit into said car. I know I’ve matured as a person because I didn’t raise my voice, cry, curse, stamp my feet or even roll my eyes. Instead, I helped organize the luggage, stacking three of the large (I’m talking 28″ or more) suitcases in the middle of the back seat. We then stuffed three pieces in the trunk and found a piece of twine lying on the parking lot and tied it to the car to “hold” the luggage in the completely open trunk. The two women in our group sat, one on each side of the large luggage, in the back seat. I barely got the door closed against my hip and put one piece of carry on behind my neck and one on my lap. We then drove very slowly to our hotel, thankful that it was 1:00 AM and the roads were deserted.
I would not be completely truthful if I didn’t mention that this very thing had happened last year! So, I was sort of prepared, but for the fact that Victor had promised us he would not do this again. Last year we had 5 people in this situation, including my teenage daughter who sat on my lap and held the carry-on luggage. What can I say…I returned, so I guess I may deserve it! Now it is time to get to work…