Baobab trees dot the plains, casting squat shadows. The quiet, cool wind tempers the arid heat and gives the area its name. Mvumi, where Trevor and Robyn Lucas were based, means ‘place of the winds’.
Trevor was recruited by Crosslinks early on in his medical training. Once qualified, he went out to Mvumi Hospital, where he met Robyn. Robyn was a nurse at Kilimatinde Hospital and Hombolo Leprosy Centre and had come to visit her parents, who were also missionaries in Mvumi.
After Trevor returned from language school in Nairobi, they were married and both worked in Mvumi Hospital, caring for the stream of sick people who flooded through the doors. Patients came from all over Tanzania and from far beyond its borders.
Seven-year-old Yusuf, for example, was carried 1,200 miles (imagine walking from John O’Groats to Land’s End − and then to Norwich!) from Somalia to the hospital for an operation to restore his sight. Like many mission hospitals, short-wave radio kept the Lucases in touch with the outside world while light aircraft brought expert help and resources.
When the Lucases arrived, Tanzania was a newly independent nation unified by its charismatic president, Julius Nyerere. There was political stability, without inter-tribal tensions or significant corruption. The Dodoma region (which includes Mvumi) had a nominal Christian ethos. Yet tribal animism and traditional African religions still had a significant role in the culture and Islam had a strong hold in the west of the country.
Trevor’s day-to-day life in hospital involved teaching a training course for hospital laboratory technicians, who then went on to work in other hospitals in Tanzania. This course was recognised and accredited by the Tanzanian government under the Laboratory Auxiliary qualification. Trevor’s skill and teaching was invaluable at equipping local technicians to diagnose diseases correctly and to treat patients.
Trevor also worked with other missionaries, non-missionary expatriates and local medics in the small pathology unit, diagnosing diseases and running tests. Robyn worked as a nurse on the wards, washing and caring for patients and administering medicines.
As Trevor’s Swahili improved, he was asked to serve as a lay reader in the church. Alongside his medical duties, Trevor would travel with the local pastor to remote churches in the Mvumi parish to preach or assist in services.
When asked what the Lord taught him during his years in Tanzania, Trevor Lucas had one answer: ‘He is able!’
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As the communications content developer at Crosslinks, Polly helps mission partners connect with both Crosslinks and their supporters back home. As well as ensuring Crosslinks' internal communications run smoothly, she also oversees the writing of our external communications, including the Crosslinks blog.
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