A Medical Missionary - Explores the World

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
(Genesis 1:31)
The Leprosy Mission had for many years been a generous supporter of the 200-person leprosarium and beds for 50 leprosy patients as part of the general hospital at Chikankata. Even more than that, we valued the visits of people like Eddie Askew and Alan Waudby who not only monitored what was being done, but also brought welcome encouragement. After one of the visits I was invited to be honorary field representative for TLM in Zambia. This would involve visiting leprosy projects, liaison with government and reporting back to the international directorate in order to strengthen its role with ILEP.
The task involved the occasional visits to various parts of the country, meeting staff of different backgrounds, seeing patients in different settings and recognising different patterns of the prevalence of the disease in different geographical settings. It prompted me to ask several questions. For instance,’ Does the local ecology affect the way mycobacterium leprae affects homo sapiens?’
I met staff in Zambia’s Eastern Province – Anglicans at St Francis Katete, Evangelicals at the Reformed Church Hospital in Nyanje. The Adventists flew me in a light aircraft from Lusaka to Yuka Hospital in the Western Province, tilting the plane to one side so that we could see the lechwe antelope in the swamps of the Kafue River. Also in the Western Province I visited Catholics in Mongu, and swam in the Zambezi at sunset!
But probably the most memorable visit of all was to be met in Mongu by Dr Jim Rennie of Chitokoloki Hospital in the Northwest Province and to be transported by motorboat up the Zambezi to the CMML hospital with its Brethren background. There was always a purpose in these visits, of course, but seeing the beauties of creation as I travelled was an added plus. The work of the visit completed, Jim said to me: ‘I could take you back by boat, but how about hiring a local dug-out and you’ll be poled down the Zambezi? You’ll be following in Livingstone’s footsteps,’ he added. It took most of the day as I sat quietly trusting the skills of two young Zambian men. They knew how to negotiate the hippo-crowded confluence of the Lungwebungu River with the Zambezi We arrived safely.
Livingstone had come down this river which flows over a massive gorge to become the Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya – the smoke that thunders) and wrote of it. ‘Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.’ He explored the world, discovered the world, and obviously appreciated it.
In the midst of facing the effects of a destructive disease I hope we can still ravel at the glory of creation in all its variety and beauty, and of the creator who made it so.