ETCETERA - Doctor leads medical mission to Eastern Zambia


Some persistent badgering - uh, make that avid encouragement from a friend - finally convinced Dr. John B. "Jack" Hoehn to put fingers to keyboard to record his recent medical mission trip to Eastern Zambia.

A member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Canadian College of Family Physicians and the International Society of Dermatology, he is a family physician at Adventist Health Medical Group in Walla Walla, with special interests in skin diseases and travel medicine.

He described the trip as "40 confirmed Adventists refreshed with the scientific, scriptural and prophetic messages of Adventism then empowered with a kit of basic equipment, let loose for their families, churches and neighbor's benefit."

Jack noted that "it was a dark and stormy night - African dark, tropical stormy - and we were loaded to the roof line with 23 souls and enough supplies to sustain us and 40 more."

For possibly the 20th time, he and wife Deanne Hoehn tackled the 120-kilometer track from Chipata, Zambia, to the South Luangwa valley, "Africa's last unspoiled game reserve," next to which 70,000 underserved Africans reside.

On previous trips they came to see the elephants, lions, hippos and carmine bee-eaters. "During the 13 years we lived and worked in Africa this was our favorite retreat out of the 20th century back to much earlier times when animals coexisted with men. Now that men have automatic rifles and cell phones, the balance between the two requires that humans be banned and the animals be protected in a game reserve, so the villages were moved to the boundaries across the rainy season swollen South Luangwa, and the animals roam more or less protected in the 9,000 square kilometers they have as their own. Sort of like Creation Day 6 before the two in God's image came from the red earth."

Tourists and visitors who fly into the Mfuwe airport, end up at a comfortable game lodge, he said. But they're unaware of most of the villages they bypass where people attempt to earn a living on half the land they used to occupy and the hunting that sustained them is inaccessible.

"Adventism is a powerful force in Zambia today. There are hundreds of thousands of young SDAs all across this centrally located Southern-African nation. But even Adventism has perhaps bypassed those in the Eastern Province and especially those in the Mambwe district containing both the South Luangwa Game Park and the villages outside of the park," Jack wrote.

There are four churches and some smaller companies in the valley. Three of the churches have buildings of some sort and one meets in a school classroom on the Sabbath. Forty lay members volunteered to spend 10 days in a full-time community health worker training course. "We called them Adventist Health Promoters, and our two minibuses and pickup truck loaded with the people and supplies to make this happen slipped and slid and bounced down the rain slicked roads in the early morning hours of March 17."

Walla Walla University Seventh-day Adventist Church sponsored the team of students and adults, but Troy Fitzgerald and Deanne were responsible for the effort, Jack said. Troy, a pastor and educator, has partnered with the Hoehn family on short-term missions to Africa for about a decade, Jack said.

They originally planned it for 2010, but Haiti and other issues intervened. So this year they went during school spring break. Planning occurred in Deanne's kitchen, combining her detail expertise with Troy's inspiration.

Jack has 13 years of African mission hospital experience and a diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene from the University of London and Royal College of Surgeons. Previous trips with medical and dental professionals were exercises of clinics examining and treating hundred of patients seeking Western medicine, he said. "Hundreds of people were more or less treated and at least encouraged, and we had supplied months of medicines for local clinics we upgraded."

Yet, he said short-term clinics like short-term relationships can be interesting but are not rewarding. "Most of the time our busy clinics were not enough, not nearly enough."

The idea this time was to teach and train instead of just treat. "Teach others to treat, empower motivated Zambians with tools for health. This is indeed in the traditions of Adventism that our prophetess (Ellen White) enunciated time and time again: every Adventist a home medical missionary to neighbors and friends."

They used two textbooks, David Werner's "Where There Is No Doctor," and White's "The Ministry Of Healing."

"The traditional and practical points of the Adventist health message mesh perfectly with the home and village health care principles taught to community health workers," Jack said. "Biblical health principles of cleanliness, hygiene, sanitation, plant-based diet, sexual morality and rational obedience to natural and moral law supplement the same scientific based observations."

They also tackled women's rights and the kind of rulership the Bible promotes for husbands. They held frank, open and then gender-specific discussions of sexuality and practices in a nation hammered by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The recent scientific support of male circumcision of all infants and even adult males was introduced as a new topic for Adventist Health Promoters to adopt and promote for their communities at large.

The AHP kit includes the reference texts "Where There is No Doctor" and "Ministry of Healing"; a simple headlamp with spare batteries; a Sawyer 0.2 water filtration system, capable of back-flushing for a million gallons of bacteria-free water without using fuel and time to boil; a mosquito net for each home; a small stock of Co-artem antimalarials; five non-mercury (Nex-temp) thermometers and a simple plan for treatment of fevers was taught; a sturdy pair of EMS scissors and some splinter removal scissors; a stock of elastic bandages and sterile gauze for wound care; Silvadene ointment for skin infections and burns; hydrocortisone 1 percent for skin allergies; 10 tubes chloramphenicol eye ointment for eye infections; a liter Benzyoyl Benzoate for treating scabies; 2,000 Doxycycline antibiotics for home-based use with simple treatment guidelines; 100 Ciprofloxacin antibiotics; 1,000 X aspirin tablets; 1,000 x Paracetamol (Tylenol, Panadol) tablets adult size; 1,000v Paracetamol tablets child size; an AHP backpack; a reusable shopping bag; and pens, a notebook and felt-tip marker.

Instruction was given in rational, non-poisonous use of modern medicines, guidelines in avoiding irrational or toxic medicines or herbs and on the use of safe garden herbals and medicines and supplies available over the counter in shops like bleach , petrolatum jelly, denatured alcohol and vinegar for topical use.

AHPs also learned to use limited professional health facilities available to them as liaisons between the Zambian health care system and their communities, Jack said. Vaccination, TB treatments, HIV testing and antiretroviral therapies along with surgical and medical care available only through governmental and mission hospitals and clinics was promoted.

Student pastors Philimon Tudor and Tajloi Cunningham held church-based revival meetings each evening. Rob Holm fixed vehicles for the district pastor John Phiri, and showed Biblical DVDs to the team. His wife Lorelei Holm, joined Paula Elsom, both registered nurses, Evelyn Boyd, speech therapist, student nurses and premeds Vanessa, Hannah, Tucker and Rachel in giving lectures. Dentist Jeff Schroeder and dental therapist Angela Farrow cleaned or extracted uncleanable teeth for students and the community.

Deanne, with help from everyone else, fed the crew three meals daily, and the 40 students at lunch, while showing new ways to use locally available foods for an interesting and innovative Zambian plant based diet.

Pre-university team members demonstrated ideas for cooking, filtering and gave lectures on health and spiritual topics, and made themselves generally useful. In addition, Jack said Megan Farrow, Cameron Fitzgerald, Justin Elsom, Matthew and Robert Holm made the trip fun as well as productive.


Lowden Study Club members will celebrate their 100th anniversary with an 11:30 a.m. luncheon and cake and coffee from 2-4 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Walla Walla Country Club, said member Wanda Simms. They are seeking descendants of past and present members to participate.

Women from the Lowden area founded the organization on Dec. 14, 1911, with the motto "Who Goes not forward goes backward." The club's colors are red and white and the club flower is the carnation.

The group meets on the third Thursday each month and study "just about everything." "Sometimes the women would wear their favorite hat and tell them why and where they got it. Others would read a book and give book reports," Wanda said.

The first officers were Jennie Wade Reavis, Mary Elizabeth Noon Lowden and Addie Hailston Cornell.

Current officers, who served through May are Denise O'Bryan, president; Wanda, vice president; Kathy Munns, secretary; Judy Mahaffey, alternate secretary; Judy Mahaffey, treasurer; and Elaine MacDonald, alternate. There are also flowers and cards, membership, scrapbook and telephone committees.

Newly elected officers who will begin serving in August are: Wanda, president; Elaine MacDonald, vice president; Kathy Munns, secretary; Judy Mahaffey, alternate secretary; Judy Mahaffey, treasurer; and Elaine MacDonald, alternate treasurer.

Wanda is reviewing the club scrapbook and readying a DVD for the anniversary party.

Currently, the group is 18 members strong. "Anyone can join that would be able to attend the meetings. We have been looking for more women to join. Everyone has so many different ideas that it is great to share. In fact one of the ladies that is a member works at Fort Walla Walla Museum." Members enjoy doing crafts as well.

For more information about the anniversary celebration or the club in general, contact Wanda at 509-529-3032 or email .

Walla Walla High School Latino Club students received recognition for exceptional dedication to the community and for personal achievements the past few years during a May 23 gathering in the Walla Walla School District Board Room.

Latino Club partners with the Learning for Life program and 16 individuals received Young American Awards and nine students received Learning for Life Leadership Awards.

The Learning for Life Program supports Latino Club as Exploring Post 311, a subsidiary program of Blue Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

The awards recognized a substantial achievement by youths who are active in their communities and demonstrate citizenship and leadership. Exploring Post 311's Charter organization is the College Place First Presbyterian Church Men's Breakfast Group.

Learning for Life Leadership Awards go to those who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and given their time to make the program a success.

Recipients include: Anthony Olivos, senior, active in BPA Science Bowl and Latino Club. He holds a 3.85 GPA and ranks 26/483. He plans to pursue a degree in electrical engineering at Washington State University; Rubi Villegas, senior, active in Latino Club, Education Talent Search, Link Crew, City League Soccer, Writing Club, Science Club and Advancement Via Individual Determination. She will attend WSU; Sergio Galvn, senior, active in Latino Club, Bonneville Power Administration Science Bowl and Education Talent Search. He plans to pursue an electrical engineering degree at WSU; Marissa Castillo, senior, active in Garrison Night School pre-literacy program, Wa-Hi cheerleading and Latino Club. She is ASB vice president. She plans to attend Walla Walla Community College; Bahia Parrish, senior, active in Garrison Night School pre-literacy program, BPA Science Bowl and Latino Club. She is Latino Club vice president and plans to attend University of Idaho; Cristina Sosa, active Latino Club, Advancement Via Individual Determination, Wa-Hi tennis, Wa-Hi Journal, 4-H , Garrison Night School program and Special Olympics mentor. Active in 4-H for many years, she has been elected to serve as a Washington state 4-H ambassador; Ana Andrade, junior, active in Latino Club, Advancement Via Individual Determination ASB and track. She is Junior Class secretary and will be Senior Class president; Grasiela Ocampo, senior, active in Latino Club (as secretary), Education Talent Search and Crest Club. She contributed 225-plus hours of community service during the 2009-2010 school year and received a "Silver Award" - President's Volunteer Service Award. She plans to attend WSU; Jahaira Chvez, senior, has maintained a 3.5 GPA, is active in Latino Club (treasurer), Education Talent Search, City League Soccer, and Advancement Via Individual Determination, she will attend WSU.

First presented in 1968, Young American Awards go to students who have achieved excellence in the fields of art, athletics, business, education, government, humanities, literature, music, math, religion, science, or service and have been involved in service to their community that adds to the quality of life.

Recipients are: Roger Contreras, senior, involved in Educational Talent Search, wrestling and Latino Club (president). He plans to attend WSU to earn a degree in criminal justice then attend Gonzaga University School of Law; Jennifer Golden, senior, active in National Honor Society, Crest and Latino clubs. She wants to study architecture at WSU or UI; Mariela Bahena, senior, active in Exploring Post's Science Bowl Team and participated in the Regional Bonneville Power Science Bowl in 2010 and 2011. She plans to study accounting and business at Eastern Washington University; Alex Cern, senior, active in football, basketball, track, ASB (president), College Place Presbyterian Church, Wa-Hi Journal, and a 12-sport athlete the past four years. He performed more than 230 hours of community service through College Place Presbyterian Church and plans to WWCC; Jos Beleche, senior, active in NHS and Latino Club, Advancement Via Individual Determination, BPA Science Bowl and varsity soccer. A Gates Millennium scholar, Jose plans to study electrical engineering at Whitman College; Gesner Rangel, senior, active in BPA Science Bowl, Latino Club and JV soccer. He plans to attend WSU to pursue a degree in the medical field; Jazmn Llanes, an educational volunteer in the Garrison Night School - Adult Education Program; and attended a three-week Cascades Challenge in North Cascades National Park; she plans to attend WWCC and received a 2011 Latino Club ADELANTARSE Scholarship; Cristin Marn, active in Latino Club, TRiO-Educational Talent Search, CASHE Conference WSU and Future Cougars of Color WSU, and plans to study electrical engineering at WSU; Yessica Olivos, senior, involved in Latino Club, Science Bowl Team and Regional BPA Science Bowl in 2010 and 2011, she plans to attend WWCC; Alexis Enriquez, senior, involved in Educational Talent Search and Latino Club, maintained a 3.7 gpa and plans to attend WSU to study electrical engineering; Yvonne Segovia, junior, educational volunteer in the Garrison Night School - Adult Education Program, active in Advancement Via Individual Determination and Latino Club and attended the three week Cascades Challenge; Janella Bermudez, senior, 4.0 GPA, one of three Class of 2011 Wa-Hi valedictorians, active in Education Talent Search, Advancement Via Individual Determination and NHS, recognized as Abajian Toyota Student of the month for January 2011, a Gates Millennium Scholar and plans to attend Gonzaga; Sara Luna, senior, active in Latino Club, Education Talent Search, Drama Club and Post 311, had the role of Shaindel in the spring Wa-Hi production of "Fiddler on the Roof." She plans to study drama at WWCC; Erica Salgado, senior, involved in Latino Club, TRiO-ETS and NHS, graduating with a 3.7 GPA, involved in church and community; Juan Villegas, senior, active in Latino Club, JROTC and Advancement Via Individual Determination. As a recent immigrant, Juan has excelled in learning English and has been able to succeed in high school. He plans to attend Central Washington University; and Max Weber, who graduated from Whitman College in 2008, works as an education talent search counselor, mentor and role model for first-generation students who plan to seek higher education after high school. His college activities at Whitman include earning the Borleske Trophy, which honors top male athlete of the year. Max serves all students on campus. Currently his mentoring and counseling of Wa-Hi students has accelerated the number of Latinos who are going to college in an extraordinary way by helping to provide for the financial needs of these students to attend college.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at or 526-8313.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in