Photo updates!

Caught in the rain in our makeshift umbrella.

This is what happens when the moto stops in the rain!

Our most of a group shot at the welcome to Béré sign.

Diana practicing her selfies at lunch time.

Post-rain view of Netteburgs’ house and awesome tree.

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

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

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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

A link of us!

Recently, the president of Adventist Health International and Loma Linda University traveled all the way to visit our little bush outpost here in the heart of Africa. We had a huge event with all the important people from the state and city governments, our own employees, and a large group of volunteers who helped with construction of the nursing school.

It was interesting to see the clash of culture and importance. Grown men were huffy and puffy that they were not the last ones to arrive and everyone was very segregated. I felt sad because I have friends who sat in all 5 places.

-Important government officials were front and center.
-Western volunteers were on their right.
-Local chiefs were on their left.
-Hospital employees were far right.
-Women with little to no education were way off to the side, waiting to help.

I kind of just floated around in my colorful traditional outfit helping with that, saying hello to them. It was fun but also quite stressful.

Thankfully, it went nearly as planned and we received an awesome write up from Dr. Hart. I highly recommend you look it up at: http://myllu.llu.edu/newsoftheweek/story/?id=15069&utm_source=newsoftheweek_email&utm_medium=20140213&utm_campaign=story0

Well, that’s all for today other than I think I had too much coffee. Oh well, such is life in Chad! Take care my friends!

Zachary Gately
zchgtly
zgately.com
+235 91122492

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

I’d be Lai-ing if I said it wasn’t fun!

So as many of you know, we work very closely with our Traditional Birth Attendants and Community Health Workers. They are not paid by us. Either their hearts are open to aid their communities or they just enjoy having a title. Regardless, we make sure they work and we have enjoyed their enthusiasm. We completed the CHW trainings in December and the TBA trainings will be finished within the week.

One thing we do compensate them with is supplies for working. We give non-sterile gauze, tape, bleach (for bleach water solutions), and a few other tools. Each Friday is restock day for 25% of them. They come in and we look at what they have done that month. We determine what supplies they need based off of what work they have done and restock them.

Some of the things they regularly see are cuts, pregnancies, and malaria cases. For malaria, the best predictor seems to be flu like symptoms plus a temperature of 101F or more (38.3C). So we have given them all thermometers to use. These are the traditional glass armpit ones. They have had a rough time reading those small blue lines because 1) many of them have no higher than an 8th grade education and 2) many of them need glasses badly.

Needless to say, I had to jet over to Lai (17 KM east) to the hospital supply store for more tape, gauze, and thermometers. Our moto doesn’t have the proper papers to leave the district so I had to take a taxi moto. That was an adventure but it was a much needed distraction. Tensions are high at the hospital as big decisions are being made about leadership and as many of the Nasara’s are looking forward to their annual leave (in April, it will be me and and the Netteburgs).

As the wind is blowing through my hair that needs a haircut we see one moto go down as he hit a sand pit. We see huge trucks fixing the road. We see the nomadic Fulani people traveling. Adventure only a few minutes from home!

We arrive and I can’t quite communicate that I need the hospital supply store. I have never been there but after a few questions to locals we find it. The guy inside is nice and quickly processes my order and I’m out in a flash. I run over to the Alimentation Oaisis to buy things like olive oil, cheese, and a new melange of green and mint tea. Then over to the “hardware” store for varnish, rope, and paper. These are all things I cannot buy in my little outpost of Bere. The hardware man like us in Bere so he throws in a brush for free! I’ll take it!

The ride back was about as eventful as coming with the exception of no accidents. It was just so nice to get away for an hour and enjoy the freedom of the road! It is necessary to have these little breaks (even work related!) to stay sane.

Like I said, I bought thermometers. We have a joke with our CHW/TBA’s about how to tell the difference between rectal and oral thermometers (its taste!). But some how I still bought rectal ones! I have no use for these but at these times, all you can do is laugh and make another trip to Lai. haha!

I am pumped for next week as a couple of us will be headed up to N’Djamena for a little pleasure and a little work. We can’t do much research due to internet speed here but up there we can! So look forward to some more pictures! I was actually able to get some posted last weekend (timing is everything, i.e. 4 am) on the blog at zgately.com. Go check them out and have a good week!

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

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

Visual Update Encore!

Here is a nice spectrum of what has happened in the last month or so….

It was awesome to have my mom here for a month! We did the Tchadian thing of having matching family outfits. Diana and Raisa where so happy to hang out with my mom!

For Johnny’s 22 Birthday, we played a great round of four-square.

Here Johnny is lecturing the quartier of Tcha-Asse on Maternal Health and Breast Feeding.

I have begun a garden. Let me tell you, if I did not have that rototiller, I would not have a garden.

Diana is now beating Josh at arm wrestling. Don’t mess with those Tchadian women.

Charis’s cat Mac had kittens on Sunday but she was too young and they all died. At least she still has all those motherly hormones and is being uncharacteristically nice.

This is the biggest threat to peace and quiet in Bere. Meet Lyol.

I am teaching Naomi both what a selfie and a duck face are while we wait at the chief’s house.

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

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

Olympic Lectures

For the past five weeks, we have been going to every neighborhood or quartier to deliver health lectures to the community. While there, we meet with the delegate (chief) of the village and his assistants. We then deliver nine lessons over two days followed by questions and demonstrations for the members of the quartier. If we are lucky, the chief will feed us tea and gateaux after the lecture or even a full meal of rice and sauce.

At all these lectures, we are blown back at how many people come out to listen and are ready to participate. We have nursing mothers, children, and high school students mainly but there are also many men and older people too.

Our lectures were developed by some previous volunteers here at the hospital and we have tweaked them as we see fit for the community. For answering questions, we reward them by handing out toothbrushes and toothpaste. We have lectures from Maternal Health to Malaria to Family Planning. Our Student Missionaries have done a great job thus far of assisting in the delivery of these lessons.

We have had several community members say how impressed they were with the lectures, giving sincere gratitude for the little lessons. Most wish they knew these principles when growing up so they could have taught their children. This is not me tooting my own horn here. It is to show that even though we may see these princples as simple and common sense, many people have never been exposed to the radical idea of prevention.

Honestly though, this is not much different than in western countries. Instead of not knowing what to do, we know what to do but refuse to do it. We eat that extra side of fries at night and skip the early morning run the next morning. We stress out and freak out without any type of release.

Jamie is an awesome handyman and actually rigged the satalite for the Olympics! Sunday, I was able to watch a few events and was in awe at their dedication, skill, and even enjoyment! That is how I want to be: I want to love what I do, be healthy, and enjoy the balance of eustress, rest, fun, and food.

So here’s to the new year (well, whatever…)! Here’s to working hard but also playing hard. Here’s to giving back to the community you live in and participating in it. Here’s to just being you! Who knows, we may just end up in Brazil or South Korea for the Olympic Games!

*if anyone can tell me how to become a biathalete, I would be more than greatful. Researching here is a bit tricky.

**if someone wants to help with my taxes too, that would be awesome.

Johnny and Naomi talking about Maternal Health in Tcha-Asse.

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

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

Shaking Hands with a Leper

Living in Bere has opened my eyes to how it was like in biblical times. The stars come alive living in a city with no electricity. The Fulani people carry their houses along with all their possessions on the backs of donkeys (in N’djamena they use camels but rainy season is too long here for them). The houses are made from mud and the roads are unpaved. James Appel brings much of this alive in his book “Children of the East.”

Yesterday, Naomi and I were going around to the last few quartiers on an announcement run when we remembered to ask about a friend of Tammy’s. Tammy has a program for those in need. In return, she takes their picture and asks them questions about their life. She had made contact with this particular man but when she went to return, her translator had left and began spreading rumors that she was exploiting these people for her personal gain. Hurt, Tammy was all the more determined to find him again but after 4 months without a hit, she had all but given up.

We had found one of her other friends by accident last time we went around to the chiefs. He was demon possessed when Tammy met him. His brother had chained him to the wall of the house so he wouldn’t hurt anyone and he had shredded all of his clothes. When we met him, he was clean shaven, washed clothes, and for sure, was not possessed. As we passed this same quartier, we asked the chief’s son if he knew anything of Tammy’s other friend. He pointed down the road and mentioned a landmark. We followed and low-an-behold, we found him. He had leprosy. He is missing half of his digits on his right hand. He only has heels for feet, wrapped in thick plastic. His gums are painful to look at and it is evident his sight has been gone for some time. He scoots over on his rice-sack mat and welcomes Naomi and I here.

I am speechless and Naomi is about to cry. We tell him that we are happy to see him and that we have been looking for him. He speaks of God’s grace and his worries for his family. He thanks us for visiting and wishes us to return.We reaffirm that this was only the beginning. We had some gifts that we had purchases but since we couldn’t find him, we couldn’t deliver. We blesses our route and we are on our way, speeding back to tell Tammy about our find.

We head back out to him a couple hours later with a bag of rice and the other gifts. We just sit and listen to his story. He was previously pastor and he was one of the only members of his family that survived the war that ravaged the country of Chad 30 years ago. He told us the only reason he is living today is because he tucked his Bible under his arm as he fled for his life. When caught, his captors released him saying they couldn’t kill a man of God.

His leprosy has stopped its progress and his condition is relatively stable, though unreversable. He talks about how his biggest fear is that his kids will make bad decisions. Already he thinks his son-in-laws are studpid. He worries for his wife and for his grandchildren. But at the same time he begs for God to take him from this world. He has seen so much hurt and experienced so much pain. Yet, he is possitive that God is there actively working in his life. God is taking care of him and God will continue to provide.

In the end, we’ve nothing but time to give. We must spend it wisely but also be willing to spend it with others. We can control so little in the world but we can share ourselves with others.

I know I haven’t written much lately (hence the photos earlier) but life has begun to get mundane. I send of some emails, feed a dozen malnurished kids, practice some French, and forever am sweeping my house. Among many things, shaking hands with a man with leprosy helped me realize that I cannot get too comfortable. I don’t want life to pass me by while I sit there thinking everything is normal. I must live life and look for the moments that can’t be done over as time will always keep passing us by. Like I said, life here reminds me of biblical times. Its simplicity and love of time together as friends and family are some of the biggest reminders.

*movie recomendation*
About Time. It is very nice, if not just for the English countryside.

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

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