Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Maternity Ward

Maternity ward at the largest hospital in the World!
These two pictures are of the recovery room, after they deliver their babies!
One of my best friends daughter had a baby this week. She had a darling baby girl which they named Elizabeth Kate--Ellie ! It reminded me of a recent visit we made to the largest hospital in the world right here in South Africa. We are so blessed to live in the United States and have such wonderful hospitals.
On this trip we were taking new born blankets and hats to the new mothers. In a previous trip we had taken 2,000 hospital gowns and 4,000 hospital sheets. If the women have no insurance they can come here and for 14 rand which is about $2.00 U.S. they can deliver their baby. The maternity ward and nursery and is a complex of old army barracks.
While waiting for the hospital official to come , we watched 8 very pregnant, definitely in labor women walk past us with file in hand to a wooden bench where they waited their turn to go in and deliver. This hospital delivers about 40 to 60 babies in a 12 hour period. Day in and day out. The mothers are allowed to stay 3 to 4 hours and are then sent home. The delivery area is a large room with 20 beds and only thread bare screens between them. One doctor is on staff and the babies are delivered by "Mid-Wives". After they deliver they are sent to "ward" where there are 24 beds which were all filled and the rest of the mothers were sitting on chairs around the room with their new babies in plastic bassinetts. This hospital delivers over 22,000 babies a year!
The nurse told us that all women are tested for HIV and if infected they start the babies on the antiviral medication right away. I asked if they had trouble getting the medication. They said no, but getting them to take it or bring the babies back is another problem. As we drove into the hospital there were two huge ads on the side of the road that said "Cure AIDS with Herbal Tea"
It has only been recently that the new Minister of Health has started an Aids/HIV program. The previous Minister of Health advocated garlic and herbal teas for a cure. He was actually laughted out of the UN meeting on Aids prevention.
The blankets and hats had been donated by a young women group from the states and came in 6 huge boxes which where put in shopping carts by the hospital and then rolled to the recovery area. Our mistake was not opening the boxes and checking them before we arrived. Some of the blanket had been make out of rough upholstery fabric. We were quite embarrased and set those aside. The nurses asked us what we were doing with that material. They wanted everything we had as some women who come to deliver don't have anything to wrap their babies in and they send them home wrapped in a plastic bag or the disposable pad they just delivered on! Three set of twins had been born that morning! We noticed that women were feeding their babies out of small cups --we were told that bottles and nipples are not available to the poorer mothers so they feed their newborns with these small cups. They try very hard to get these mothers to nurse their babies and try to teach them nutrition, but thy don't have the man power or funds to keep it going. This may be a project that they might want us to undertake.
Experiences like this make you realize how blessed we are to have had our children under better circumstances! Most of all our grandchildren had better circumstances too!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What I do in my free time!

I love cooking, looking for new recipes, and trying them. Being here in Africa I have learned to go back to the basics as the baking items are not easily found. No Crisco, Karo syrup, Bisquick, Mexican foods, or cake mixes to name a few. I found these today and thought that they looked pretty yummy. The only problem is that I will have to wait til I get home to try the Almond Joy Cake, as I have not been able to find chocolate chips here.

...Almond Joy Cake...
It is rich, but really yummy. I would suggest a little whipped cream (fresh if you've got it!) or ice cream with it...
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 C. evaporated milk
1 C. sugar
24 large marshmallows
1- 14 oz bag sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C. evaporated milk
1/4 C. butter
1- 12 oz bag milk chocolate chips
1 C. toasted almonds
Bake cake mix according to box directions & poke wholes with the end of a wooden spoon. In a large saucepan, combine 1 Cup evaporated milk & sugar. Bring to a boil and stir in marshmallows until melted. Add coconut & pour mixture over cake while both are hot.
Melt together remaining milk, butter & chocolate chips. Stir until melted. Add almonds. Spread on top of cake.

It's heating up in Arizona --It's winter in South Africa--I thought this would be agreat summer dinner!

Katie's Tortellini Salad

4-6 chicken breasts (cubed & soaked in Zesty Italian Dressing)
48 oz. Cheese Tortellini
1 cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, chopped
1 cup Sliced Olives
1 cup Artichoke Hearts, chopped
2 cups Baby Spinach
Mix all together in a large bowl & toss with your favorite Caesar Dressing. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

If any of you try these recipes tell me what you think!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

First Safari In South Africa

This is what you call an Africian traffic jam! Last Sat. we went out to a wild animal preserve. The animals run free in the area and you drive around on dirt roads and try to find them! As we came around the bend we saw a pride of lions walking down the road, this one decided to just lay down right in the middle of the road and sun himself. As you can see no cars could pass and we just waited until he decided he wanted to move on. Where are the females when you need them! We spent most of the day driving around trying to find the animals. We saw lions, cheetahs, ( they were really hard to find as they blend in the the dried grasses) rhinos, zebras, wild dogs, and all sorts of elk/ antalope type annimals! The best part of the day was that I got to play with lion cubs and hubby got play with a two year old cheetah.