Half-way and Demonic Possession

Wow. We are over halfway through this journey of a year. The halfway point was actually March 14. It was a quite day. Nothing really out of the ordinary. A friend from undergrad is in Moundou now working with Scott and Bekki Gardner, Olen’s aunt and uncle. He came up to see Bere with Scott and it was good to catch up over the weekend.

I wish I could say that I had some great epiphany hitting this halfway point. I wish I could say the pieces have come together perfectly but between illness of mulitple people and political hang-ups and the general slowness of how everything often happens here, it has not been a smooth journey thus far.

But things are happening and progressing regarless. We have almost finished our lectures in all the quartiers and we are getting ready for our final meetings with our workers and the chiefs. The student missionaries are leaving three weeks today for good and Charis is leaving for a couple of weeks a week from Sunday. It will be different not having them around any more but I think the project will take some new turns that could be pretty interesting.

We have been having some interesting events happening recently. We have had over 20 girls come in for demon posession to the hospital over the last 3 weeks or so. Most are carried in by force and eventually they seem to come around. Its hard to know if it really is demonic possession or if they are faking it. There has been lots of controversy around this between the church, the schools, the government, and the hospital. The Chadian government shut down the entire school system for a week because of these happenings. It is interest because they are all girls around 15-18 years old, Christian, and the episodes don’t last very long.

I don’t know what to think because I see two sides. I have witnessed some very real spiritual things here but I have also seen how manipulative other people have been. I wish it was clear what to do but when people you know are biting other people in an attempt to run away, its pretty crazy. Some clearly are faking it where as others are either really good actors or there is something not right. Why would anyone want this kind of attention? Why would people think this benefical to their lives?

It will be nice to have these happenings finished so that school can go back to normal and parents don’t havae to worry about their daughters. Craziness is always ensuing here but that what happens when you sign-up to live here I guess.

Zachary Gately
zchgtly@gmail.com
zgately.com
+235 91122492

L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boîte Postal
Kelo, Tchad
Africa

Advertisements

Dust

Sleep has not been staying with me as of late. I wake up around 4:30 am and cannot go back to sleep for the life of me. I don’t want to get up but finally after checking my email, I wearily stumble outside to pee and then brush my teeth before starting my morning brew. I then clean up my room and try to respond to a few emails, do what research I can as this is the fastest internet will be all day.

This morning, I stepped outside around 6:30 and was instantly on alert. I didn’t smell a threatening amount of smoke but I looked intensely smokey outside across the compound and over the horizon. Growing up in Northern California, forest fires always threatened the end of my summers. Was this smoke?

I look again.

It can’t be fog either. We haven’t had any type of moisture in the air for months now. Then it dawns on me:

Dust.

I knew that dust was everywhere. My clothes are dusty, my counter top is dusty, my computer looks like it fell into a sand pit, and I have to scrub my body like none other just to get clean.

But this morning was more than I ever expected. The air is now so saturated with dust that it casts shadows like clouds. It rolls in like a storm front. I half expect to be caught in a sandstorm on my way to the market today. So if you don’t hear from me soon, you’ll know that I have huddled down with my camel and am waiting out the storm.

Le Petit Vacance

Last Sunday night was filled with maddening packing, re-arranging, and preparing for our 5 day sojourn to N’djamena for our petit vacation. Now, it wasn’t really a major vacation, simply a few days to get away, use some fast internet (for both work and leisure), and eat food other than the normal Chadian cuisine.

Daniel, Josh, and I rose early Monday to begin our journey by bus. Luckily we caught the first one at 6:15 am but unluckily, it was nearly packed. I got a seat on the back row and they each and a colapsable middle seat. As I sat down I noticed that the people next to me were already a different color: the shade of dust. By the time we pulled out of Bere, I had my headwrap on to protect myself from the dust. Every few minutes, I periodically shook the dust off my iPad so that I could read on the 8 hr ride.

Josh jinxed us by saying we were making good time and 20 minutes later, we got a flat tire. We did make good time, arriving just after 2 pm in NDJ. We called our taxi man, went to the bank, picked up some take-away pizza, ice cream, and Dr. Pepper before heading out to our guesthouse at the Luthren mission.

Once settled our days consisted of relaxing in the morning, heading out to the market, eating a variety of food, shopping for things unavalable in Bere, and then returning to make dinner at the Mission. As soon as we figured out the Public transportation, we ditched our taxi driver: $10 USD to $1.25 for us to get to the market. I thought it was a resonable trade even if that meant a bit more crowding and a little more walking.

The best part had to be the ability to choose what restaurant we wanted to go to. We could end up eating Arab food in the market, washed down with avocado smoothies or Chinese sweet and spicy tofu or even so flavorful Lebanese Falafuls. We took our time at each place. Josh chatted up the waitress at the Chinese restaurant while Daniel ordered a couple of entrees just for himself. I also thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the Parisian cafe drinking my esspresso and enjoying a moiste mocha cake.

As eventful as our trip was, the three of us were pleased that we decided to go up. Too many people who pass through Bere Adventist Hospital do not take the time to see any other part of the country. They come here, work like crazy, and then leave. Some hardly even get a chance to experience the culture they are working in. It’s hard to see the blessings around you when all you focus on are the problems around you. We saw this as the last oportunity before the Student Missionaries leave to understand that there is another side of life in Chad other than Bere.

The shock on their faces as they saw street lights, stop lights, parks with green grass, regular restaurants with chairs and AC, and new cars was very entertaining. I was surprised too by some of it but it was their shock that kept me laughing the whole way to our accomidations.

Over all, this much needed mini vacation turned into an all out foodie-extravaganza (thanks Johnny) and a time to just chill. I wish I had pictures but the no public photography law is readily enforced.

Zachary Gately
zchgtly@gmail.com
zgately.com
+235 91122492

L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boîte Postal
Kelo, Tchad
Africa