By Zachary Gately, MPH - zgately.com
Written on September 30, 2013
Many of you have just recently joined me on this adventure but some have been with me from the conception of zgately.com, of the journey into the field of public health, and a couple of you from the conception of me (literal laughing out loud here)! It’s been a wild ride and I never would have expected it to end up exactly like this. I knew I couldn’t stay in one place, let alone one country. So then of course, I choose one of the most confusing countries to work in: Chad.
Chad is a predominately Muslim country in Africa. It looks like its in Central Africa but depending on who you are talking to, it could be East, Central, West, or North Africa. It is number one for worst communication infrastructure and number two for most corrupt. Cholera and malnutrition victims sit right next to diabetic and heart attack patients. The double health burden is real here.
But it’s not all odd. Every day I see children playing on the playground and mothers singing to their babies. Little girls still have attitude princess problems and little boys still like to play with cars and bikes. There is family structure and there are regular routines.
My routine is still getting set but I’ll give you a proposed run down of what happens (or at least what is planned) on a weekly basis:
- Sundays start off slow. This is my time to really catch up on what needs to be done. In the afternoon, we prep for the week followed by a vigorous game of volley ball.
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings are prep, planning, researching, dreaming for that week and the future.
- Wednesdays are dental days. We do oral health education as well as learn how to pull teeth.
- Monday afternoons are general health education at the hospital grounds for patients’ families.
- Tuesday afternoons are nutrition classes with a food demonstration for the hospital’s patients’ families.
- Thursday afternoons are spent in the quarters of Béré, meeting with Community Health Workers and Traditional Birth Attendants. These two groups of people were trained by Béré Adventist Hospital about a year and a half ago. We hope to work more with them over these next few months.
- On Friday afternoons, the CHW and TBA come to the hospital for additional trainings.
- Friday nights, we have vespers, often in the new pavilion on the compound.
- Sabbath school and church are just about the same as back home which of course is followed by potluck. We usually have themes for each potluck to keep it mixed up! We’ve had Italian (I made a tomato & cucumber salad), Mexican (salsa), and this week is breakfast (I’m torn between potato hash or pancakes).
So that’s my week! I hope now to inform you all of the day to day happenings that really touch me in a special way. I want you to see the unusual that makes me excited to get out of bed every day as well as the usual that makes me realize we are all one people, regardless of our social, cultural, and religious background.
I wish that I had the time to write a detailed account of what happens on a daily basis but I, sure that many of you would roll your eyes every time you opened your inbox if that were the case. I’d love to hear your questions and comments and words of encouragement! Though Internet is tricky, I can get to my email at least 2-4 times a week. As you noticed at the top, the majority of this was written earlier this week.
Love to all from this random corner of the world!
L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boîte Postal