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
+235 91122492

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

Trying to Pack a Pachyderm

Packing has always hit me hard. It’s the one area that I am ever so slightly OCD about. Packing for a weekend requires at least a basic list and one repack. If I am packing for a week, the list is a bit more refined and requires probably one to two repacks. And when I am packing for trip requiring special equipment like a suit or cold weather layers, I have been know to repack upwards of five times. So, as I am preparing to pack for two years, should we take bets on how many time I will rewrite and repack? Hmmmm…

So I’ve been able to find most things on my (current) list: hammock, insect repellant clothes, tooth paste, multivitamins, toilet paper, biodegradable soap, iPad, and maybe a few pens. But the other essentials like underwear or socks or sheets or meal replacement haven’t shown up in my shopping cart yet. These items are needed before I leave this current home as there are no Targets or Whole Foods Markets in Béré, Tchad. Four weeks should be enough to find it all, right?

Moving to another continent for a new job in a different culture without online shopping is going to be a life changing experience. Not necessarily in the iconic “I-live-in-a-developing-country-so-I-have-an-even-stronger-savior-complex” experience that people share up front at church about. I hope to develop my skills of a communicator and program planner. Throw in French and basic Arabic along with a smattering of local languages and I’ll truly never stop talking. Writing, planning, administering, and evaluating a grant funded project will most like cause a few mental break downs followed by amazing data that can hopefully change the way public health is viewed in this region.

I’ve never been to this region of the world but I can tell you that I am ready to see what happens! I may not be packed yet, but as I walk on to that plane as it departs Reno International Airport and try to get some rest on the following four flight, I know I’ll be ready for that adventure!

Laborious Limbo




Since graduation in June, live has been less than action packed. It’s been filled with gardening, baking, memorial service planning, and running. Reflecting on these activities now, it seems that I have turned into an 85-year-old woman. Needless to say, it has been quite relaxing. Maybe a little bit too relaxing…

I’m still preparing for my upcoming job in Bèrè, Tchad, which is ending up to be a bit more work than I have expected (as far as the preparations). Since I am not living near Loma Linda University anymore, I have had to rely on emails and conference calls to suffice for my communication with most of the preparations. Between finances, the Global Health Institute (shout out to Angeli for TONS of help), and knowing what to pack, I’ve been on the verge of pulling out my fingernails several times.

I am stoked for this opportunity but I am also hesitant, as so much has already been jumbled. This position is dripping with potential but where my abilities end and luck has to take its course is still up in the air.

My tentative leave date is September 12, 2013. Less than six weeks away and so much has to happen. What would happen if I am offered another job in Syria or Sonoma or Siberia? One that paid enough to pay off my massive student loans, plus living, plus savings, plus a trip here or there?

Professionalism is a skill that us millennial need massive amounts of help on. Its just part of “learning to grow up” I guess. If anyone has some good links or ideas on how to be professional, positive, or productive, please let me know! I am always looking for ways to be a better employee, applicant, and colleague.

Stay tuned for updates as I continue to prepare for my next adventure!

Fresh baked today!