Blog: What are you winning at?

“What are you winning at today?” Our server asked us as we tried no to laugh in her face. It was a valid question, just an odd timing that she asked us. We were at the Gratitude Café at one of there SoCal locations, expecting wholesome hippie food. That’s not meant to be derogatory in the least. When I am asked what food I miss most, it’s hippie food. What I would give for my Spicy Tofu Salad at Pangeas…..

I digress, if you want good, healthy, wholesome food, go to the Gratitude Café. There’s on in LA, one in Berkley, and a couple other locations. Their food is based on having gratitude and positive reinforcement for yourself alongside a healthful plate of comfort food.

These last two weeks I have had lots of gratitude. Many unexpected things happened during a time that was less than fun. There have been some political issues that are being worked through but these issues just added to the rest of stress. I’m doing two jobs, trying to workout how to get a car, stay healthy, traveling up and down and between Lai to Moundou to Ndjamena, and some how I’ve managed to keep clean underwear stocked through it all.

I was preparing for potluck, our Saturday afternoon lunch, but couldn’t figure out what to put in as “meat” for spring rolls. I went to Danae and Olen’s to ask what they used to make their peanut based veggie meat. Instead they just gave me a flat of veggie burger! Score!

Then I got a couple of unexpected packages. They routinely take way longer than I care to think of but these cam just in time. One was from my family in Austria that had the largest Milka Chocolate bars I have seen. I ate enough to get sick but you know, I’m trying to stay healthy so I’m limiting the rest! And then, since some couple left, last minute a package was rerouted to me. Super!

I’ve also been trying to read more. When I first arrived, I couldn’t read anything about a similar situation as me. I just wanted to escape. But the last three books I’ve read, all very good btw, have taken place on this continent and somehow had some lessons to learn. Cutting for Stone, Acts of Faith, and The Poison Wood Bible. The last one is a tough one because it’s about missionaries who mess up. I was pleased that it arrived with a bag of coffee from a college friend that was finished well before the book was started. Amazing.

With all the traveling, I have had extra time not only for reading, but also for listening. Another a friend from college stocks me on music from time. That way, I won’t be totally culture shocked when go back annually. Some short term volunteers also took pity on us and sent some great Podcasts (Serial, really check it out). What an escape headphones can provide.

All I can say is that I am grateful for these little things that end up being not so little. So what am I winning at today? I am winning at friends.

Zachary Gately, MPH
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+235 91122492

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