Mission Doctors Association


Editor’s note: I asked Sheila to reflect on their first year in Zimbabwe – as the spouse in Zimbabwe she doesn’t have an official ‘job’ because work permits are only given to the doctors, however Sheila continues to find ways to be of service the children at the hospital and school as a volunteer.

You had asked us to write and reflect on the first year here. I won’t say it has been easy, it is probably the hardest thing we have ever done. Sometimes we get so homesick for the girls that it hurts. The one thing that has kept us here is really feeling that God is calling us to do this. If we did not feel this completely we would not be here right now.

There have been so many positive things that we really feel God’s presence in everything we do. One thing is our prayer life together. We are able to go to Mass everyday together, that had always been something we could only do together when Tim was on vacation. We also do the liturgy of the hours together. We hope to keep doing this after we get home, too, and not let it die out.

The people we have met have been outstanding. They are so strong; even though some do not have enough to eat, they have a strong faith and love for God. With so many people infected with HIV/AIDS they still give praise. What a lesson for me to see.

The community we have with the Stoughton’s and the Sisters has been a gift too. Loretta and Dick have been most helpful in helping us get settled. They have been a great support and we have had the blessings of sharing many meals together. One of the SJI sisters, Sister John, has really been a gift to me. Whenever I get “down”, she comes for a visit. She always makes me laugh when she talks about eating mice and what is going on at the school with the girls.

When I say that God has been taking care of us; one time we were walking and were just saying that it would be so nice to be able to talk to someone in English. Then a guy came to his gate and invited us in to his yard. It turned out that he lives in Saudi Arabia. It was most interesting. Also just when we really are feeling homesick we will get a call from the girls. It is very hard for them to get a connection to the country. Sometimes they try for many days to get through, but the e-mail has been pretty reliable.

The time I had with the infant whose mother died at birth was very special, I will always cherish it. Again I know that God’s hand was in that. Since then there have been little things that have come up that I have been able to help with. One thing is the art class for Sister Pauline. The children have been so great; the lack of supplies has made it a challenge but they love anything you do. I take a lot of pictures; everyone loves it when you take their pictures and the camera we have shows the picture. It is amazing that whenever you start everyone comes to get in. The teens love to “strike a pose”.

Living in the rural area has been different. We do not have a landline phone so we never hear the phone ring. When the cell phone rings we wonder what that noise is at first then we get so excited. There are no planes that fly overhead except for once in a while, the military will fly over. Going to town (Masvingo) has been a challenge too. The prices are going up everyday and there is a real shortage of petrol so that makes it hard to get around. One of the things I have really enjoyed also is walking to the township, it is fun to see the kids say “good morning” and then we hear them laughing as they pass because they got to use their English.

Whenever I go out with Sister Cecilia to do something with the orphans it saddens me so much to think that we have so much and they have nothing but their spirit is inspiring to me. That is what I will remember always. Am I looking forward to another two years? No, not really. It is still painful to be away from the girls. But God is so good to us, how can we refuse Him when we really feel that this is what God wants us to do. Will we do it again? Yes, we are talking about it now.

Lets see how the last two years go; there is always a lot to look forward to.

God bless, Sheila
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