Desole!

My Friends! It has been so long since a post so I though the best way to keep you all interested is with some pictures! There are a couple posts in the making so stay tuned for more adventures! Until then, Enjoy!

Shannice took care of Charis while she had 6 liters of fluid put into her frail, giardia ridden body!

Daniel and I completely cleaned out the SM hut with bleach and insecticide. It was quite a task!

Daniel and his children. (He’s been busy since arriving, no?)

Papa and I at Sarah’s surprise birthday party.

In a matter of minutes, i broke out in a rsh that covered my body. By the next morning, it was gone! #whenintchad

The blood bank at the hospital was out of blood so we all donated! First time for our new SM Johnny!

My mom arrived, ready to work with Maranatha as they completed the Nursing school. She brought me a coffee maker, bless her heart!

And here is a selection of the colorful mats available at our local market! I had to buy a bunch for the AHI ceremony that took place Friday. There are so many more awesome colors and patterns available in Moundou and NDJ.

I hope this satisfies your curiosity for thee next day or so as I finish up those posts and get them out! Take care!

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

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

Christmas in Béré!

As you can imagine, holidays away from home can be an emotional roller coaster for many people. First it was Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and now it will be New Years. It seems like only last week I boarded my first flight out of Reno, NV, to head over hear and now we are entering 2014!

Thankfully, I have supportive family and friends (I think) who still keep in contact countries, continents, and oceans away. I can’t say that it’s always enjoyable being so separated from those you love or that it is easy being forced into a new community. We make due though. Sunday we began with the feature film Elf, Josh’s birthday brunch, and an evening of snacks and a movie at Parker’s. Monday was an insane day of screaming children, temperamental Toyotas, and Christmas shopping in Moundou. I don’t want children anymore. Ever. I want to be able to hand them back when they are screaming their heads off for no reason. Tuesday we decorated cookies. Jamie was our judge for the competition. With so many cookies, we did categories by shape and my stocking was a winner! Following this we ate pizza, played games, and watched one weird Christmas movie. Everyone fell asleep at one point or another but as soon as it was over more games commenced! Daniel and I opted out when we realized we still had no card or gift for the families here on the compound. We cut and glued and folded until 4 am! We attached the cards and a little token to a roll of toilet paper from America with a sad bow. Inside we said, “Thank you for making our holidays ‘ultra soft’ this year!” Charmin Ultra Soft does wonders here, especially for those extra frothy days.

After a fitful 3 hrs of sleep, we drug our corpses to the Netteburgs for a pancake feast and stockings! Hello Christmas! All of Christmas Day was food, cookies, gifts, and more food! We were pretty tired all day which made for even more interesting conversation and games!

I am grateful for people who are creative and excited for having fun. You cannot just sit around expecting to have a good time, especially here. Last Sunday was Josh’s 21st birthday and it was a bit of a let down compared to most 21st birthdays. We did have an awesome brunch that cannot compare to any other meal here. Right after that, he headed out to clean the OR. Boring. After an afternoon of Elf and an evening at Parker’s (oh yes, we also watched Polar Express), Danae decided to put the kids to bed and was persistent on throwing Josh in the river at 10 pm. We put a pillowcase over his head and threw him in the back of the 4runner and pile in. Olen maked sure he had the ride of is life on the way there. We drug him out and asked if he wanted to go in with his clothes. He thought we were bluffing so he wouldn’t take off his hoodie or jeans. We were not so we just tossed him into the murky water fully clothed! Danae, Olen, and I jumped in so he wouldn’t feel so alone! We sang an awful version of happy birthday as we toasted with D’jino on ice. Since he is a “missionary” D’jino is just a regular, non-alcoholic soda (though it does have some addictive properties. We need to import it to the USA for sure!). A few more people were thrown in before we clambered back in/on the vehicles. Josh was a slightly pissed but once he had D’jino and Tammy offered the use of her hot shower, he said it was totally worth it!

See, we know how to have fun here! Too often overseas work is seen as charity and suffering. It is already hard enough without the added mental stress of these added expectations. We must mix it up with fun and emotional releases. Jesus even escaped when he needed to. I love having fun and just because I live in the middle of Africa, in the bush, and have a difficult time traveling anywhere, I refuse to let these get in the way of a good time!

So here’s to fun, here’s to success, and here’s to moving forward! Happy holidays!

Zachary Gately
zchgtly @ gmail.com
zgately.com
Berep21.wordpress.com
+235 91122492

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

Good Relationships are Hard to Come by

Béré is a happening place! It does not seem like it on a day-to-day basis but looking back over the last few days, I realized I stopped a lot of things 18 November. Most emails I need to respond to are from around that date, all my receipts from them on were not entered, and I haven’t blogged since then. I had a few great ideas for blogs: “Birthdays in Béré,” “Holidays without Hype,” or “Too much Food for Thought.” Alas, the timing came and went so here I am writing now.

It steadily has picked up pace here and I am more and more surprised at how fast each day and week is flying by. This week started with an awesome celebration. Our translator, Naomi, turned 30 this year! We prepared a feast full of all types of food! I killed the guinea hen and blood squirted all over, drenching my pants and flip-flops. We plucked it then cleaned it. Naomi was running around like a mad women so Shannice and I took over the making of the sauces.

Naomi lives on the other side of Béré, on the edge of “the bush.” It is so peaceful and it was so much fun to be out there with friends celebrating under the wide open sky! Though the day was busy and we were thoroughly exhausted afterwards, her party showed how we are still learning culture, language, and customs, but also how far we have come since arriving in this corner of the world.

Unfortunately, not all gatherings bring happiness. This week we also had to attend a funeral of one of our Traditional Birth Attendants. She was only 32, leaving behind children, husband, and community. She worked herself too hard and by the time she went to take care of her health, the malaria had spread to her brain.

All the Community Health Workers and Traditional Birth Attendants came out and we presented our condolences as a group. It was hard on many of them as they had worked together for two years. We sang a song similar to “We Have this Hope” and talked with the family. I believe her death inspired her fellow health workers to take action in their community. She loved her community and made sure that they knew it.

Late yesterday afternoon, Daniel and I raced into the market to get ingredients for potluck today. It was almost 5pm which meant most of the well stocked vendors were closing up. Muslim prayer is at 5pm but they were squeezing every franc they could out of the day. We walk over to get credit for our phones. We are in a hurry, but by sitting and chatting for a few minutes, we add another layer of cement to building that relationship. This particular vendor has helped a lot recently and by spending those few precious minutes, we showed our appreciation for his help. We then rush over to another vendor who has onions, pasta, garlic, as well as other random things we buy on a regular basis. He’s obviously trying to close but as he sees us, he lights up, stops what he is doing, and asks what we would like. I start going through the onions and find some good sized ones (Coming from the land of supersized, the “large onions” here look more like scallions and the small ones like olives). He shakes his head and pulls me around to the side of his shop where there are even bigger, better quality onions! Score! Daniel noticed how this relationship just grew in that moment and we talked about it a bit on the ride home.

Western countries don’t usually value relationships as much as other countries, especially in Chad. As a vendor of any status, you usually buy on credit but there aren’t banks or collateral items here. Trust is required. People get burned easily as too often business falls through or the crops don’t do as well as expected.

I didn’t understand this (though I was told it) fully until this week as I witnessed the coming together of multiple types of relationships. I like this way of working and I assume that in a perfect world, it would be the way to work more effectively. But since we don’t, this method of working has a huge potential for loss, both financially and emotionally. I’m still learning daily as I gain linguistic skills as well as understand cultural nuances more fully. Good relationships take time to build and regular maintaining! I encourage you all to let those who you care about know it, especially I this holiday season.

Happy holidays to all! No worries, my next blog will be a lot sooner!

Zachary Gately
+235 91122492
zgately.com

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

Crash and burn

This Friday evening, it was my turn to do vespers. Since I talk about a quite comical experience that happened this week, I though you might enjoy the story as well as the message.

Confidence

We all need confidence. A healthy dose of self confidence is needed in the work place, in school, art, and relationships. Confidence is a bit like having trust in yourself. You know you can accomplish x, y, and z without problems. It may not be easy but you have trained, practiced, or bs-ed your way far enough to know the hang of it.

Yesterday, I had my confidence shattered. After trouble with one moto, Daniel, Josh, and I set out for the river on the other. We missed the first turn, and me not knowing the little roads all over decided to try to go to the river the same way I had previously returned. We hit some sand but it wasn’t too much of an issue: the extra weight and flat tires aided in our still vertical state so we just kept put-putting along. Out of nowhere cows started running along the road. No problem. They weren’t attached to anything and moved out of the way. Sighs of relief came out but were quickly caught as more cows attached to a trailer were headed for us. We edged over to the right but we hit sand, ran into the bushes, finally hitting a dense woody bush. Locals are laughing at us as we are trying to bend things that shouldn’t be bent back into place. We think to call Jamie with the truck but don’t want to bother his work. Maybe we can push it but with that Desert African sun beating down mid afternoon, it seems like unnecessary exercise. I decide to see if I can start it even though the starter can’t rotate the full circle to start. Imagine trying to start a lawn mower with only half of the pull cord. It goes!

We are determined to make it to the river. We pile back on and head off. No sign of cows but its pretty sandy. The moto seems a bit loose all over and keeping it balanced required more upper body strength than expected. We’re going, we’re going, and Daniel gets excited. “No problem, we got this!”

No wood to knock on, of course.

Bam! Next thing I know, I’m on my left side in the grass with Daniel’s leg sticking up by my head. I have no idea where Josh ended up but I told them to just leave me on the ground for a moment. Confidence completely shattered. We decide to walk the sandy part. Once the ground hardens, Daniel gets on so I can take him to the river and come back to get Josh. We seem to be headed in the right direction when we see a un passable puddle I put my foot on the brake only to realize there is no foot brake! We coast off to the side and I quickly shift down enough to use my feet to break. We surmise that it must have come off in the bush we ran into the first time, and causing the fall. We take the next turn and finally that cool breeze from a large body of water hits us and we come upon a sweet cliff to jump off. I head off to get Josh and in no time (comparatively to the rest of the journey to the river) we are back jumping off into the river. We float down, climb a tree, jump, and repeat a few times.

On the way back there were no accidents but without a brake and it still being sandy, we alternated riding and walking. I offered many times for them to ride and I would walk but after seeing me go down, the didn’t even want to try in the sand.

I was bone tired when we arrived back to the compound. I just sat as my bruises reminding me of the day. I though I could do it but I guess I haven’t practiced enough to match my confidence. But in time, I will have no problem riding in sand. I have all the sand I need to practice.

The question is, what was I putting my confidence in? My skills? My abilities? The quality of moto? The hardness of the ground?

I often think of the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.” I prayed this prayer and claimed this promise many a late night study session and before a race. But in reading a book about prayer, The Circle Maker, I now realize how shallow that prayer usually comes out. I know that if I had studied more three day before an exam rather than three hours, I could have done better on my own without extra strength from Christ. Not that He couldn’t miraculously open the pathways between my mind and my finger tips but if it is something that I can do, why would I waste my breath on asking God to do it? What if I instead used that same breath to ask God something that I cannot do on my own? The battle of Jericho, Elijah, and Peter walking on water are all great examples of assisting in times of great need that could not be accomplished without divine intervention.

It take confidence in ourselves to both work hard for something as well as pray for God to intervene. We then have to give Him the glory because there is no other way to explain the miracle. Attempting something you have never done or following a dream or going along with a mental prompting all take confidence, both in God and yourself.

In high school, I was told during a graduation speech 10 syllables that have changed how I proceed:

“If it is to be, it is up to me.”

At first, I thought it was selfish and cocky to use this but as I have grown (and matured a little, right?), I have realized that seriously, if it is to be, it is up to me. I have to be the one to reach out and make a connection with the famous author. I must train for that 10k if I want to place. And I must pray if I want God to help on the impossible.

It’s not an “I don’t need God” attitude. It’s a “If I think it should happen, I need to take action” attitude. We must go boldly before the throne of God. In the parable of the talents, the master want them to use their talents for increase, add in a bit of creativity, and have something to show. They all received something from the master and had to do something with it. He honored those who did something.

Sitting on our hands waiting for things happen won’t work with God. Pray hard and work hard. We must take the talents allotted for us and use them for Gods glory. We must have confidence that our God can do the impossible. We must have confidence that we can carry out His will for our lives. That much prayer with deepen your relationship with Christ and transform your life in a way that you can only praise God for!

Stay with what you heard from the beginning, the original message. Let it sink into your life. If what you heard from the beginning lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in both Son and Father. This is exactly what Christ promised: eternal life, real life! (1 John 2:24, 25 MSG)

Zachary Gately
+235-9112-2492
zgately.com

L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boite Postal
Kelo, Tchad
AFRICA

Under the Mango Tree

Under the Mango Tree

Work. Sleep. Wait. Talk. Wait. Attempt Internet. Wait. Read. Swat flies. Sleep. Work. Wait. Repeat in any order you want.

This has been my life these last few weeks. Lots of waiting, lots of working, and lots of attempting to use the Internet. Anything mobile works great with my tablet and phone but any research or downloading papers takes forever. I would say its like pulling teeth, but that’s not too hard (at least with enough anesthetic). Imagine with me: take dial up from 1998. Then put giant apps, HDR photos, interactive websites, viral clips, and in depth PDF’s right there at your finger tips. The computer knows what to do but at the same time cannot complete the command because the simple HTML website will not load, the app will not download, or the link doesn’t work because it need the new java/adobe/QuickTime update that you can’t access. This is where the waiting comes in. Click. Wait. Fold clothes. Refresh. Sweep room. Click next link. Wait. Ah-ha! Found it!

I have been experimenting with downloading apps for my tablet. I started with a 3 megabyte app: success! Then 8 megabytes: success! Ok we are on a role, so lets go big or go home: 33.6 megabytes: SUCCESS! I attempted a few others but time did not permit me to wait hours for it to download. But I saw an new app that I just had to download. The only problem is that it was 88 megabytes. I pay 800 CFA ($1.60 USD) per 60 megabytes. So that equates to at least $2 for the app itself, plus connection time, ending up at about $5 for the entire download plus about 6 hours of download time. But it downloaded! Oh yeah!

Lord, I did not pray for patience so why am I having to practice it so much?

Needless to say, that is actually one of the hardest things to get use to here. The food is tasty, the people are friendly, the flowers and birds are exquisite, and I haven’t been sick for 4 weeks now! It’s a simple life but I am enjoying it.

Every lunch, Charis and I head over to our host family’s compound. Compound is the word that best describes the way people live. There are usually 2 or more families living on one compound. Several buildings are usually scattered along the walls: sleeping quarters, a cooking hut, an outdoor bathing area, and maybe one hut for storage. The livingroom is the common area outside in the middle. Our compound is split up into three sections hosting two families (brothers with their wives and kids): front, middle, and back. Front is living, sleeping, and cooking while the back was originally for volunteers to rent. Valerie, the host dad, said while he was studying at university last year in Cameroon a storm knocked down their two room hut! They (Valerie, wife, and two children) are having to cram into one of the volunteer huts while they saved to build their new home. This Thursday, construction begins on their three room hut! This is very fancy for this area. He’s using the best bricks and cement while others use mud bricks and mud for mortar. He cares for his family and wants his kids to have the best life that he can provide.

Even with this new house, I think their favorite room will still be out under the mango trees in their middle section. They have two magnificent mango trees providing the perfect over hang. It allows for a cooling breeze, shade, and enough space for the largest mat available in the market. As we rush over for lunch, sweating from the short jaunt, the refreshing “bon jours” and “lapias” on arrival just add to the comfortable atmosphere our family and the mango tree provides. Before lunch we play with Valerie’s children and any others that may be there. After lunch we take naps or just lay on the mat haveing tickle wars before heading back to work. The kids then proceed to say every phrase in every language for good bye. We miss them and they miss us but we know we’ll see each other for dinner!

Spending time with this family has been an unthinkable blessing. They welcomed us into their home and we have enjoyed spending time with them. They have had their rough time but still they open their home to the Nasara. Maybe they want their kids to grow up knowing many types of people or they just like hosting. We now spend hours under their mango tree, making funny conversation in broken French and body language, laughing, dancing, climbing, and napping. Walking under the mango tree, I leave my worries at the edge of the shade. This play time, meal time, and family time. Nothing can break that!

This blog took far too long to produce. I’ve been healthy but everyday brings some other challenge or time vortex! We are working on setting up our blog for the projects that we are working on. We made a video along with some pictures! I’ll be sure to keep you up on those happenings too!

Zachary Gately
+235-9112-2492
zgately.com

L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boite Postal
Kelo, Tchad
AFRICA

I am not a Chadian Woman

I am not a Chadian Woman

*written 31.OCT.2013

I have been thrilled that many of you are enjoying my blogs at zgately.com and via email. Some of you have asked what I have been doing more specifically, what difference am I making in the lives of the people here, and how you can help out in anyway. I know many of you have been sending up prayers (even the small quick ones do wonders!) because it has now been 2 weeks since my last sickness! I’m still not gaining weight like I want to but after the daily banana shakes for the next few weeks, I’m sure I’ll look a bit healthier.

Like I said in my other post, it has been hard on all of us newbies these past 7 weeks (yes, I can’t believe it either!) as we have had to adjust to a different way of life than we were previously use to in the US of A. Today we were reminiscing that we would be crashing some sort of Halloween Party, following tomorrow with complaints of how product based Christmas has become but secretly excited that it is nearing that time of year! We have all began to love our families here and keep learning language, culture, and practical ways of living from them on a daily basis. Things have become a bit routine but we still continue to live and dwell among our new community.

For the past three weeks we have been trying to coordinate with our translator, Naomi, to join her for a Chadian meal. She was planning on teaching us how to cook and eat like a local but every week someone was sick and we couldn’t learn from her! Even so, Tammy wasn’t able to join us due to some recent issues with the school (check out her blog at parkers4bere.com) but we made sure to bring enough of it back with us for her to enjoy!

Our menu consisted of three things: boulle, l’oze sauce, and budu sauce. First, Charis and Shannice began cleaning the rice. The went over it thoroughly to pick out any unhusked kernels, rocks, bugs, or anything else that didn’t belong. Josh and I stemmed the l’oze leaves and cut them. Daniel and I also pounded the dried melon seeds into a type of flour, sifted, then added egg, salt, and garlic to make a dough. We started to make the budu sauce by adding oil to a pot on a charcoal fire, throwing in garlic, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and salt. Once that had simmered for a while, Charis and Shannice took the dough Daniel and I prepared and threw it in piece by piece, resembling boiled dumplings. Once cooked through, we added the budu leaves, cooked it down, and took it off the fire.

The rice was finished and we washed it in water, letting it sit in the sun to let it get soft. We started the l’oze sauce the same way as the budu but without peppers. Once the rice was soft, we pounded the rice into rice flour just like the melon seeds. We used a giant mortar and pestle but our weak Nasara bodies couldn’t keep up with Naomi and her sons. She has four of her five sons living with her at home while one is in Nigeria, attending high school. She is a single mother and also took in her sister’s daughter. Naomi and her middle son felt sorry for us and just continued pounding while we were getting tired just looking at them. Half way through pounding and sifting the rice, we began to add the l’oze leaves to the pot of garlic, tomatoes, onions, and oil to cook them down with some minerals to take the sourness out of the leaves. The sauces were basically done, with only the boulle to be finished. We pounded 2/3 rds of the rice into flour, leaving a third of the rice partially broken down. We had to stoke the fire to get a huge 15-20 liter pot of water to boil, then we added the partially broken down rice to the water. 10-13 minutes later, we added the rice flour to thicken it. Naomi was the only one who could brave the smoke from the fire to keep stirring the rice mixture so the boulle wouldn’t clump. Once cooked, she used nice gourd bowls to shape the boulle into pizza dough like balls.

Now we were done! We washed our hands, called the five of us, Naomi, and her five children over to have grace. We dug into our hard work without reserve! To eat, you must take a piece of the boulle (thick rice mixture) and dip it into the sauce. We all burned our finger tips as we rushed in without waiting for the boulle to cool. We were all smiling and laughing. It was 4:15 pm. We started cooking at 12:15 pm. How did it take so long to make one meal? It didn’t matter that there were 11 of us as each step would have taken just as much time to complete, regardless of the amount.

We talked about it on the way home how we are not Chadian women. They must work so hard to prepare such a simple meal. We had fun doing it but looking at how much we did vs. how much Naomi did, we were pretty close to useless. Naomi continued to unintentionally make us realize how lucky we were to be born in a country with Campels, Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima, and Betty Crocker. She told us how she makes this meal 3-4 times a week. It helps put her kids into a food coma so they go to sleep early. Once they are taken care of, she gets out her head lamp to make mud bricks to build her new, two room hut since her current two single room huts have unfixable fissures down the walls. If she is too tired from working during the day, she’ll wake up at 4 am to make bricks. She also maintains a field of edible flora for those who cannot feed themselves.

She, like us, was once a Nasara. She was born and raised in Nigeria by her Nigerian mother and Chadian father. She was use to a normal teenage life, excelling at school and sneaking out to Michael Jackson concerts. When she became of marriable age, her father wanted to be sure she was paired with a proper Chadian husband. He arranged it all and shipped her here to Béré, where he was originally from. Being the man of the house, her husband expected her to cook boulle, clean, do laundry, earn money, and produce sons, all while he worked on and off, drank, and beat her. Four boys and one on the way later, she was a single mother, climbing mango trees and boiling water just to feel something warm down her throat. She had her last son at the L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré and someone realized that she speaks English quite well. She was offered a job as a translator and has been working with the hospital and its affiliates ever since.

You may think this sounds outrageous! Where are the social workers, the attorneys, or the police? How could her family allow this? Didn’t her neighbors see something to report it? But here in Chad, this is the norm. Naomi said she cried for weeks after arriving here. She cried from the smoke in her eyes from cooking boulle, she cried for her native Nigeria, she cried for her abusive husband. But she had to keep going. She had to feed her kids. She had to make money some how and finally knowing 9+ languages has paid off. Tammy offers her an umbrella or even a ride when she is headed home in the rain. Naomi just scoffs, saying, “Why? I am not salt! I will not melt away in the road. It is just water!”

This attitude of survival, determination, and reality is one many women here have embraced but many other have not. They allow their situation to role over them like their abusive husbands. We all should embrace this phrase as we go about our day. You can only wallow so much before you must stand up tall and realize you are not salt.

Today, one of my friend’s nephew’s past away. He was less than a year old, the product of a shot gun wedding, leaving a young mother and father devastated. Yet, this is also not unusual. Many families do not name their children until they reach two years of age because the death of a child is so common. What can you do and what can you say in this situation? How can you make a difference when see people in these situations? Is health education going to make a difference if all they what is the demonstration food? How do you change a mindset? How do you show them that they are not salt?

I am not a Chadian woman. I cannot work 4 hard hours to prepare a simple meal. I cannot be treated lower than a husband’s whores or his liquor bottle. I cannot deal with having 5 children under the age of 4 years old, nor having 10+ births with only 4 living children. I see the struggle and it is more real than the chair I am sitting in. This week has been an eye opening experience. Emotionally, mentally, and physically draining, but rewarding nonetheless. Naomi is one of our closest friends. She opened her home, we beatboxed with her kids, and we shared a meal (preparation and all) together like family.

I am left this week with a deeper understanding of the lives we are trying to help. I was not born here, therefore, I will be a Nasara for many months to come, leaving me out of the loop linguistically, culturally, and every little nuance that makes life all the more interesting. Slowly, like a child, I am learning. Little by little, I grow and can connect with my new community on a deeper level. Keep us all in your thoughts and prayers as we are budding Chadians. It has been awesome thus far and I cannot wait to learn all the ways that I am not salt.

Zachary Gately
zchgtly
+235-9112-2492
zgately.com

L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boite Postal
Kelo, Tchad
AFRICA

The Little Things

The Little Things

*written on 21.OCT.2013

Entering week six is forcing myself to come to terms with my new life. It’s not much different than than any life you live. I work too much, sleep too little, talk to my loved ones less than I should, and do not exercise enough. I may not have running water like you do and you probably don’t eat lunch under a mango tree on the regular. Regardless, life goes on and so does the daily grind.

I cannot tell a lie, it’s no cake walk here. I witness problems, illnesses, and heart break that may seem unfathomable in the 21st century or with a loving God in control of it all. Death is common in this country with the lowest life expectancy at birth in the world (CIA Factbook 2012) as is sever malnutrition, malaria, spousal abuse, and so much more.

Every Friday my view changes, though. I have the pleasure of working with a group of people who are dedicated to changing their health status and that of their community as well. This group, our Community Health Workers and Traditional Birth Attendants, come poised with questions, answers, enthusiasm, and an open mind. Some have not ventured far from their homes in Béré and many cannot fathom their lives without childhood deaths, ruptured uteruses, and malaria. Regardless, they persistently show up every Friday at 3 pm (many on Tchadian time, of course) to learn something new to share with their neighborhood.

Yesterday was a tiring day. Or maybe I was just tired. I haven’t been the healthiest since coming here (strep throat, malaria, and giardia) and these last two weeks or so I have been sleeping earlier and earlier to give my body an optimal amount of recovery time (though it doesn’t seem to be helping as much as it should). Thankfully, Tammy asked if she could have the student missionaries for the day to clean and decorate the classrooms at the school, allowing some much needed catch up time in research, planning, and dreaming. I sat in my Eno hammock (product placement, yes, but if you don’t have one, stop reading this as go to REI.com) reading journal articles, malaria books, and USAID articles. Thoughts came and went, as did the breeze as I pushed higher and higher for what I want to accomplish in my time here. It was nearly overwhelming as I was coming to terms with the fact that this is my community now. I live here, I eat here, I shop here, and I work here.

Even so, not having a local Target, ACE, or In-n-Out can get frustrating at times. Tammy and Jamie had to run over to the next city over, Lye, and offered me a ride. I jumped in the car so fast as this 30 minute ride would be the farthest I had gone from the hospital since arriving (and it offered free AC!). Once there, we were able to buy things like extension cords, paper clips, and even a stapler! Other stores included a “hardware” store, a massive market with many venders, and other things that we did not expect to see this far from a major city. After Jamie had gotten all he needed from the “hardware” store, Tammy began perusing for grocery items that are hard to come by in Béré. We stopped here and there until we found a well stocked store with products that even surprised Jamie and Tammy. There were cornflakes, margarine, canned tuna, and even the Nutella like spread that smothers your problems away! I went a little crazy at first but scaled it down to the necessities: Vaseline lotion for men, olive oil, and Ovaltine. Even though I now smell like I’m from the 1940’s (watch out ladies with daddy issues), I was so grateful for the moisturizing healing after living in Sub-Saharan Africa for over a month. I can also pretend that I am in Italy rather than only using peanut oil and I will get my essential nutrients via the choclaty goodness of childhood Ovaltine.

It is these little things that brighten my day. The opportunity to enjoy the little things from home while dancing with our host family’s pouty 2.5 year old princess (the terrible two’s is a world wide problem that has to be fixed. Maybe WHO will put it in the next Millennium Development Goals!). Sitting here writing this, it still baffles me that I live here. If nothing else, I have grown to simply appreciate relationships while living here in “Le Quarter de Béré-Post.” I appreciate my relationship with my family so much more. I am grateful for the encouragement from my friends. I enjoy my 90 second conversation with the compound guards every day, and above all, I see the need for a relationship with God.

This place is often labeled as a hard place to live, on physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, and gastrointestinal levels. It’s also been called a place that people love beyond all measure. Miracles happen in a way that is uncanny and nothing else can explain the happenings. I can only thank you for your continued support and prayers. The little things make all difference.

“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” Galatians 5:9, NIV.

Zachary Gately
zchgtly
+235-9112-2492
zgately.com

L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boite Postal
Kelo, Tchad
AFRICA

The Nasara Gets Malaria

The Nasara Gets Malaria

*written Sunday, 13.Oct.2013.

Sweat was pouring off of me as we met last Sunday to discus our plan for the afternoon. A power struggle was going on for the fan. Shannice was cold and covered in hives where as I looked like a new water feature in the SM Hut. Everyone else was comfortable, looking on wondering which one of us was sick. Shannice had both Daniel and Josh betting that she would be the first to contract Malaria, which meant she would have to buy them each a meal in Paris on their flight home. She recently deduced that she was allergic to the Malerone she was taking as prophylaxis, therefore leaving her body ready to host. I, on the other hand, had not been taking any medication as prophylaxis. I had slept poorly and had a slight headache, both of which were not unusual for me here in Chad.

As the day progressed, I took it easy and Shannice was checked out for everything. Her host dad is head of the lab at the hospital and began to mildly freak out when he saw her there. Results showed nothing out of the ordinary other than maybe a slight infection for which she was already being treated. We both felt healthy enough to play volleyball with the rest of the compound and proceeded to lose our first game. We continued playing, won some, lost some more, but over all, we were all just having a good time!

Quite suddenly, things around me started to take a greenish-white hue and the amount of sweat cascading off was more than just from volleyball. I took that as a hint from my body and stepped off the court to have a seat. After my vision cleared mostly, I went back to my room, laid on the floor with my mini fan, and repeated (half out loud), “Don’t be a hero. Don’t be a hero.” Once the sweating ceased and my wave of green had passed, I worked up the courage to ask Tammy what I should do. She went on about how the first 6 months here, she felt physically crummy and that sometimes that’s just how the day (or week) goes when in Chad. Smiling, she glances down, expecting a normal temperature just like the previous two people. In shock, she goes from chuckling small talk to full fledged concerned mother! It’s 100.9F. She can’t believe it so we try the other ear and get 100.6F. With a normal body temperature of 96.2-97.5F, she said its safe to assume that I have Malaria. As Tammy continues with her concerned lecture, she is adamant that I should try Malerone because it is easiest on the body and the fastest working. Like I said earlier, Shannice is now allergic so she has 8 months worth of Malerone for sale! Cha-Ching! I bought by three days worth from her and started instantly.

Now I wish I could tell you that from that point I felt better. I wish I could tell you that it went away faster than it came. That is not the case. At all. Tammy said that I should start to feel better by the next morning. Regardless, the doctor said I should get tested. After no sleep from 2:31 am, I made my way to the SM Hut for water, I ran into Charis who offered to find the doctor to write the order for the test. She brought it back, wished me luck and I headed to the cashier to pay. You have to pay for everything here before you get it: labs, meds, surgeries, and consults. I stood up to pay but the funny green and white vision came over me so I sat back down. The head of the Public Health Department saw me and pushed my lab to the front so I could shakily pay. The guy didn’t give me correct change but I was in no mood to yell at him in broken French. At that point I could hardly hear let alone see so I tried to sit back down to wait it out. Some other guy with enough English skills to saw “come with me” foiled that plan as he lead me to the lab to have my finger pricked. I focused so hard, making every step deliberately and solidly, and every breath in and out as to not vomit on the front steps of the administration building.

The stumbling nasara saw the bed at the lab and I fell into, instantly propping my feet up to get my Malaria infected blood back up to my head. I ignore the other patients stares over the next two hours as I lay sprawled over this mattressless bed awaiting my results.

0.25%.

That is after a dose of Malerone. That is high. Not life threatening high at this point but there is no way my body could heal itself without meds. Tammy can’t believe it and just keeps repeating it as I struggle to stay standing. Naomi, our translator, says “Welcome to Chad” as she goes back to the pharmacy to get me another med that basically explodes Malaria cells.

Over the next two days, I alternate from laying on the floor to stay cool or in my bed with my beaning and Ethiopian Air eye mask. My eyes hurt from not sleeping at night. My body aches all over. Niquil and Z-quil leave my nights restless, too. My body longs for sustenance but my stomach refuses as it feels there is a fist just below my diaphragm. I can’t watch anything that is too funny or too serious. I strongly tear up in every Disney movie I watch. I’d wake up from a nap feeling a little better only to realize I slept for all of 17 minutes. I just feel like I was hit by a MAC truck and hope that it would reverse to finish the job.

Wednesday, I finally feel a little better but still have a massive headache and still have .05% so I do one more day of Malerone and one more day on my floor. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday have proven even better but I’m still sweating like none other. I’m told its a side effect of the Malerone so I’m not complaining.

I now have been initiated to Chad and have a passion for eradicating this terrible disease. Haha! I can laugh now because I ruined the bet. Maybe it’s karma because I said I wanted to see how Malaria happened on some one else so I would know what to expect! I have had an up close and personal experience and cannot wait until the day of its doom!

Other than that, the news here would be that I have joint ownership of a three-legged cat, I learned how to ride a motorcycle (Sons of Béré MC?), have been experiencing one of the hottest Octobers, and really could go for an ice cream cone!

Take care and love to all!

Zachary Gately
zchgtly
+235-9112-2492
zgately.com

L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boite Postal
Kelo, Tchad
AFRICA

The First Few Days in Béré

The days are flying by and it is all I can do to keep track of what day it is. We left off at the end of Tuesday night after that harrowing ride down from N’Djamena and getting settled in. Since then, it has been a whirlwind of learning the project, the language(s), the culture, where to do laundry, how to buy essentials, etc., etc. I cannot believe all that has happened so please stay with me as I try to recount how it has happened so far.

Wednesday started with and early alarm clock to be ready for breakfast by 7 am. Tammy said she would take us over to our host family that would be feeding us and introduce us. Charis and waited but didn’t see her so we wandered over to her house and found out she probably has typhoid. Sickness is very real here, even if you have been here over 4 years like the Parkers. Allah, the son of a hospital worker and our neighbor, walked us over to do the introductions. By that time it is almost 9 am so the sun is fiercely high in the sky. We are ushered to sit under the sprawling mango tree to keep us cool as we have our first go at local food. Breakfast consists of tea and gatos. Gatos are not cats (Spanish) but are more like breadier donut holes. The compound that we are eating at is split between two brothers: Duliga and Kebdiga. Their wives cook us the food and depending on the meal, it could be in one compound or the other (they are connected). Duliga is the vice principal of the SDA school here and Kebdiga is a nurse at the hospital. Duliga is also studying in Cameroon but works every couple of years to keep up with the cost of education (PREACH!) and that they cannot take out loans. He has two daughters, Raïsa (5) and Dianna (3) who we attempt to practice our limited French with while we eat. Raïsa already speaks French, Nansurai (the local language, spelled wrong I’m sure), Arabic, and her mother’s language. Dianna speaks Nansurai and dances around a lot.

The food has a rice base as their stable carbohydrate. There are usually different sauces that go on top. The most common is red sauce, which is potato, pepper, onion, garlic, other spices, and peanut oil. Everything is cooked in peanut oil! Another common sauce is l’ozae, which is made from a local green. For breakfast we usually have bouille (sounds like bwhee), which is a rice porridge. The tea is extremely sweet! Between the tea and eating limes like oranges, many of the local people have very poor oral health.

After breakfast, we headed back over to the designated student missionary (SM) hut, where we have access to a flush toilet, a shower, as well as a kitchenette, for worship with the SMs. We got the day started right and then set off to our tasks of getting our living situations set up and learn more about the project. The main project that we are working on is called Project 21. It is an all-inclusive health lecture and practice series that trains Community Health Works (CHW) and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) to help their quarter as some what like a really good mom. They would be the ones to refer to the clinic or if it is more serious of a situation, then to the hospital. Béré has an ambulance now so, if needed, they can get to the hospital very quickly. The 21 part comes from there being 21 quarters in the Béré district. We will be focusing on these and hopefully within the next few months.

That took up most of the morning. Following lunch, we, Charis, Marci, and I, went out to all the quarters to speak with the delegates or head of each quarter to invite them to a meeting on Friday to update them on what we would be teaching their CHW and TBA. This was our first motorcycle experience here and it was great! Later this week we’ll be learning how to ride to increase our independence.

It was quite invigorating to meet with the delegates at their homes as well as see the community we will be working in. I can only hope (thanks Allison!) that our work will go smoothly and well. You all will have a role in that as you keep us in your prayers!

Wednesday night, we had nice debrief to better understand everyone’s roles at Béré. Tammy made sugar cookies (a treat!) and we ice cubes in our drinks (I really don’t know which was better). In another blog I will recap with all the abbreviations, names, and other pieces of information to help you better understand day-to-day life here.

The following day started out very similar with breakfast at our host family’s house, followed by a morning of learning, meeting, and understanding more about the projects and culture. In the afternoon, we went followed up with getting any more necessary items from the market and went more in depth into about what we want to accomplish over the next three months.

Friday was the big day for our meeting with all the delegates from the 21 quarters of Béré. In the morning we had to go register with the MCD. He is the one in charge of all health related personnel in the surrounding region. We had to take copies of our diplomas (thanks Mom for scanning it) that did not arrive until after we left for Chad. After a lot of talk and making sure that we were not trying to be medical doctors or anything else clinical, we headed back to prepare for the meeting. Tea and gatos had to be brought over to the pavilion (check out what the hospital compound is like on google earth) as well as a basin for washing hands. Even after a huge down pour that kept Charis and me in the hut of our host family, all the delegates came to hear what we had planned for their quarters. God really blessed us for how well the meeting turned out. As you can see, He has kept us in business so far: passing police checkpoints, travel safety, broken down bus, unity, and so much more! Since being here, I have been reading the devotional Jesus Calling. My grandmother made sure I had a copy and it has been a huge blessing to my daily routine.

Friday night ended with a simple vespers service where we gathered and sang songs, ate popcorn and recounted our blessings throughout the week. Tammy and Jamie keep giving and giving of their hospitality, I don’t see how I’ll ever be able to repay them (especially without an oven of my own!)!

So much more has happened from Saturday until now (Wednesday morning). I’ll keep you posted!