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

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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

High schoolers and Global Health

It’s been a busy two weeks! I finally made it to the beach this year and it will not be the last! A group of the new Global Health cohort wanted to visit the golden coast and we could not have picked a better day. Clear skies with a slight nip in the air provided the proper person-to-beach proportion. There were a few naked Europeans wading and inner city kids who didn’t know what to do with the water but over all it was simply a calm in the midst of a busy quarter.

 

With midterms last week and finishing up my telemarker job for the School of Allied Health (I hate calling and asking for money!), I was ready for that extra hour that daylight savings provided. Even then, Sunday was crazy busy with our quarterly My Campus event. This event focuses on minority youth in the local inland empire, exposing them to the health science professions, and mentoring them. This quarter was uniquely great due to the fact that the School of Public Health was featured. Since I am a Student Association Representative and I work for our Community-Academic Partners in Service (CAPS), I was recruited to lead out in our Global Health Booth.

 

As the high school students rotated around to the different booths, we had many of them very interested in Global health. The students’ aspirations varied from those who didn’t want to graduate from high school to others who were dead set on becoming neurosurgeons. Thankfully, most students seemed very interested in global health and what it could do for them. They were thrilled to know how Global Health could be added on to their current dreams of physical therapy, nursing, medicine, dentistry, or business. Later in the program, there was a “speed networking” time and most of the students had a great deal more questions on how they could incorporate Global Health into their lives.

 

It is encouraging to see that so many people are interested in Global Health. The most important thing that I wanted these students to realize is that that Global Health is not so much a degree as it is a life choice. A Global Health Professional is simply someone who works with a variety of cultures in some aspect of the health field. Research based or clinical practice, it all comes down to a life of service and a drive to work in a culturally aware environment. 

Adventure Starts Now!

Well, that may be a lie. Its already week 5 and there have been plenty of adventures causing lack of sleep, great smiles and memories, along with a few “moments,” challenges, and cramming. I can’t believe that time has flown with this velocity. Somewhere along the way I should have hit my stride of Fall Quarter 2012, but I completely missed it.

Like you’ve seen in my past blogs (or you can read them here), I thrive on routines, lists, and time management allowing me to play all the more in between these set items. I just ordered something like 3000 sticky notes, I put up my white board, I have linked my iCal, Google calendar, and Microsoft Exchange calendar all to my phone and to each other but somehow I still can’t drag myself to run or even get to class on time.

Its really just a mind set. Though I have not taken HPRO 509, our health behavior class, I have glanced through the text book and see what I need to do to get myself going: I need a goal. A marathon to train for, a test to study for, a job to work hard for, anything to get me to keep something consistant to wake up and keep a daily routine. It seems easy to do but I’m just not feeling it quite yet.

There is a little bit of that feeling. I’ll do it for a couple of days but then I’ll miss a day and then I am thrown off. But here’s to change. Here’s to keeping that feeling going. To get in that grove and get on that adventure!