Old Habits Die Hard

It’s been 3 weeks now since I blundered out of that Ethiopian flight #0500, so happy to have fast mobile internet, burritos, and English. Now I can’t say that I had terribly bad reverse culture shock but none the less, there have been many times that I forget I am in the land of the free and home of the brave.

1) I don’t have to translate into another language for my day to day duties. I catch myself thinking about phrasing, gender, and conjugation when I’m looking for an item in Target.

2) Whenever I have to go pee, I look for the closest bush or door to outside before realizing I have a regular toilet in my house. Thanks to Nick, Allah, and Kim, I’ll now have that luxury when I arrive next week!

3) I start thinking what my friends and family would be doing 8hrs behind and then realize that we are in the same time zone.

It’s been really great being able to chill with Giada and Ina Garden with my cats everyday. Though everyday there seems to be something related back to Chad, I’m still getting a great vacation.

Feel free to give me a call on my cell here: (530) 927-7970! I’ve got exactly a week before I’m flying back!

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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

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

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.

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