Bringing Smiles: “The Best in Malawi”
“Working at CURE is not just about the job, because I can take blood in a hospital anywhere. It’s about the smiles on the kids’ faces when they are calling out your name or running towards you in the corridors because they consider you their new best friend,” Lester told us with a smile on his face. He then went on to joke, “It makes some of us not feel the need to marry anytime soon because it’s as if we already have kids to look after and who are proud of us.”
Lester Matimati is the Laboratory Technologist at the Beit CURE International Hospital in Malawi, and as many locals say, and he even jokes himself, he is the “Best in Malawi!” He has worked at CURE Malawi for two and a half years and not only is he well-loved by the kids and CURE staff, but he is also known as the hospital’s biggest clown. Lester is always full of jokes, which helps him to get to know the children in the hospital in a fun and childlike way.
Half of the time, Lester is the first face a new patient sees for medical needs when being admitted to CURE Malawi. It varies between a new patient having their blood drawn or having an X-ray taken first, and when the situation involves a needle, it can be scary for a kid! Lester shared, “When a kid comes in, it’s important to interact with both them and their guardian. I start with a smile and a greeting, and then I’ll ask them about their home and encourage them not to worry because God will be with them.” He continued on to explain his daily routine, “I then see what’s requested on their lab form and explain to them what the test means and how much time it will take.” Lester’s compassionate and empathetic heart is evident. “For kids that are very fearful, I take time and try to divert their attention with something interesting because really, nobody likes needles!”
Not even Lester himself loves having needles pointed in his direction, but he is really skilled when it comes to doing blood draws on others. “I can prick somebody in the perfect spot without much effort.” He joked again, “Which I think makes me the best phlebotomist!” With Lester’s skills and playfulness, patients come to CURE strictly to have their blood drawn by Lester. Guardians go home spreading the word about how the CURE Malawi hospital draws blood without children feeling pain.
Lester is patient, kind, and passionate about healing the sick and proclaiming the kingdom of God, and he is incredibly dedicated, working six days a week as CURE Malawi’s only lab technician. His commitment helps the nurses and doctors schedule operations throughout the week in a timely manner so that we can heal more kids!
“Combining the job with the foundation of being Christlike is what makes CURE Malawi a home and not just a workplace,” Lester told us. Hanging out in the kids’ ward and playroom with the children is a regular part of Lester’s day. He says, “It reminds me of how I grew up and how people can love beyond being a blood relative. Others were always there for me as a kid, and I want to be there for these kids. So, during my free time, I like to interact with them and have fun. It’s the best part of my work!”
CURE Malawi is grateful to have such a funny, kind, and skilled lab technician serving alongside them to help heal kids and proclaim the kingdom of God!