My three babies were all born at the Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo. I will always remember those delicious cups of milky coffee served with the Lobels ginger biscuits that you could dunk in the coffee if no-one was looking !!
The maternity floor was quite high up in those days and one could look across the city at the magnificent display of purple jacaranda trees. One of my fondest memories were those tranquil and beautiful Sisters who wafted in and out of the wards in their starched crisp white habits.
And then there were those tiny little grey trollies on wheels with the pink or the blue wraps, in which the Nuns would bring the babies to their mothers every morning.
Our own personal amazing blessed miracles arrived safely thanks to the dedicated staff of the Mater Dei Hospital.
I left my tonsils and my appendix at the Mater Dei Hospital, Mum had her thyroid operation there, and my Mum-in-Law recovered from her stroke there.
The Head of Our Household was even carted there forcibly in an ambulance during a particularly severe bout of malaria one year.
I must have gone in those vast elevators many times, visiting various friends and acquaintances. When the doors were opened at the start of visiting hours you would have a quick look first at the quaint notice board on the ground floor - a veritable Who's Who of what was happening medically and surgically in the city !!
Those notice boards were a fount of information. You could see exactly who was in the Men's Surgical Ward, Women's Surgical ward, Men's Medical, Women's Medical and Maternity or Paediatric Wards.
You could also establish who their doctors were and what religion they were, and so it was a very congenial place to visit.!!
You could hop from friend to friend and spend a couple of interesting hours in an ER environment every day if you were that way inclined.
The I.C.U. wing of course was taboo and you never knew who was tucked away there unless you were unlucky enough to be invited in personally !!
The Mater Dei has always been there. Tall forbidding, austere, but at the same time comforting and solid, a kind of bastion within the city walls where peace has always reigned and stability is paramount.
The fire on the fifth floor several years was a shock to us all, but although the devastation was horrifying, the way in which the city folk gathered round like a great protective blanket and sorted it all out in no time at all, shook us all to the very warm cockles of our hearts.
Today the Mater Dei Boasts a splendid casualty department, efficient, caring and first world.
Where were your babies born?
The Mater Dei needs you now... One day YOU might need the Mater Dei.