We flew into in Lusaka on 29th September – in the very early hours and following a long journey from Edinburgh to Amsterdam and finally Nairobi to Lusaka. Our purpose? - To take forward the Therapeutic Art training programme (a staff training programme we have developed over the last few years) - at UTH and Chainama Hospitals. This is the first time we have been in Zambia at this time of year – the hottest time! A lot of the areas of green in Lusaka have already turned brown and dusty – but the jacaranda is a sight to behold with its flowers burgeoning in a kind of misty purple haze.
Gossner Mission where we are staying is a haven and just now is feeling freshened after a dramatic thunder and heavy rain fall- releasing amazing scents from the earth and the many blossoms still around. This week we have been doing plenty of meeting and planning with the hospitals, and it really seems that we are personally welcomed and appreciated here with plenty of participants keen to join our training workshops and gain skills in Therapeutic Art. We are used to adapting our timetables to fit with Zambian staff and trainee schedules – And with some changes we have been able to finalise 2 training courses in 2 main Lusaka hospitals, which will train trainee psychiatrists, trainee neuropsychologists, nurses, clinical officers, social workers, ward assistants, physiotherapists and occupational therapy assistants over the next 6 weeks. We have a research arm of our training this year - well supported by the head professionals here -which is exploring how best our programme can be validated and then rolled out and sustained. We therefore have our work cut out and as is needed in training, therapeutic and research work, we need to have our eyes and ears open wide, to listen well and to be open to the challenges and joys of the unexpected….. This is what makes this work our passion – and it so refreshing again to meet the openness and enthusiasm for new approaches. We will try and keep track of this journey through this blog.