Greetings from Chad!
We are now in our final week at Hopital Guine Bor II and the guys have worked hard and met the primary goals for coming and now are doing the “etc. stuff” (as in Sanford and Sons). The work they have been doing in the VERY hot dry conditions requires sufficient sustenance and hydration. I have been helping with meal prep, clean up and helping keep up the cold-water supply in the Igloo cooler. There was another team from Wales here last week, so meals were for around 15 for lunches and suppers. By the way, to get water to the Igloo cooler is a process- we first fill the filter jugs with tap water, then fill 2-liter bottles with the resultant filtered water, place the 2-liter bottles in the freezer or fridge to get cold, when cold we put them in the Igloo cooler with ice cubes and/or frozen bowls of water and start the process over again. I explain only to say it’s not a matter of turning on the cold water and filling it up. It’s amazing how refreshing the cold water is and how well it helps cool the body down after being in the hot sun.
Our hosts are Debbie and Bert Oubre, a labor and delivery nurse and a surgeon. They both speak French and English (Chad is a Francophone country) and founded this hospital in 2002. The first week here I went to town Ndjamena several times with Debbie for groceries mostly but also to scout out fridge possibilities for after their house was “solarized.” The trip is on paved roads once you leave their community of Guine Bor II and it takes 20-30 min to get to town.
I have seen my job as helping support the hospital, our team and our hosts in whatever ways the Lord shows me. So, what else have I done? …..help get houses ready for the team that came in, help unload and organize a container, fold gauze in Maternity (which is then sterilized and used as needed), stayed with a woman who just arrived at the maternity ward at the pushing stage and offered my hands to squeeze when the pains came- she later had a C- section, helped move beds for a new missionary moving to the compound. It doesn’t look like the crayons and crafts I brought will work in the Pediatric Ward since those patients are often infants. Sadly, malnutrition is a frequent diagnosis among them. I’m hoping to be able to visit the lady that helps with household chores here and give some of the items I brought to her children.
Once again, I have experienced firsthand the effects of having solar power here in the house. Now there is a fridge that works, food from the store can be frozen for future meals, leftovers can be saved in the fridge for future meals, the guys can drink cold or semi frozen Coke 😉, frequent trips to the store are no longer necessary, water doesn’t run out much (the pump is now solar-powered), the washing machine can be run anytime, the lighter feature now works for the burners and oven on the stove, we don’t have to worry about there being enough stored power to run our fan through the night.
The hospital and operating theatre have experienced significant changes also which I will elaborate on the next time I write.
I think I referred to it already, but it IS hot here- highs just above 100 and lows around 80 outside. Mornings are delightful though briefly so. There are fans throughout the house and effectively improve comfort level.
We realize that comfort is not the goal, but it does increase effectiveness and function-ability. We have experienced the way heat can wear you down but there are measures that can be taken to be able to handle it better. And also, the body seems to adjust somewhat after living in the heat for a while, though I am not there yet.