Celebrate good times!

As most of you know, I am a pharmacist and part of my role here at Guinebor II Hospital is to oversee the pharmacy.  I work most closely with a Chadian pharmacist called Audrey.   Audrey (pronounced Aud-ray) is actually a guy and not a girl…..I know, confusing, ask me about my ‘funny story’ about that from when I interviewed him for his job back when I was here short term in 2013.  Audrey is great.  We get on really well and I can basically leave the everyday running of the pharmacy to him.  Alongside Audrey, there are three other members of the team: Elisabeth who is the ‘mama’ of the pharmacy, Cleopas and Missi.  These three are pharmacy assistants and have worked at the hospital for many years, they were all here when I was here short-term in 2013/14.  Missi is a fairly recent addition to the pharmacy though, having been redeployed from elsewhere in the hospital when we needed an extra staff member.  She was trained mainly by Audrey and the others.  These four are effectively my ‘Chadian family’ in a lot of ways.  We get on well, work well together and often eat together on the floor of the pharmacy at lunchtime (off a tray, not the floor!).  We know a lot of what’s going on in each other’s families.

It was a joy to learn at the end of last year that Audrey was getting married!  His fiancée lived in the south of Chad at the time (where Audrey’s originally from) and so he got married down there.  This meant that unfortunately the rest of us couldn’t go because of the distance and some security issues (for me).  Cleopas went to represent us at Audrey’s wedding and took a typed greeting from the rest of us in the pharmacy – which he told me I needed to type for him to take about 10 minutes before he was leaving.  Those who know me well know I like lots of notice of things, but you just have to roll with these things here!

Ever since Audrey got married to Priscilla at the end of November 2017, we’ve been saying in the pharmacy that we needed to meet her and have a small celebration here in N’Djamena.  Priscilla and their daughter Angela moved to N’Djamena at the end of January 2018 once things were arranged for them to move.  Cue another four months of staff holidays, sickness, travel and we found ourselves at the start of May still not having done our celebration!  Finally though, last Friday afternoon after work (work on a Friday finishes early afternoon here in Chad), we made it! 

Elisabeth, Missi and I had bought Audrey’s ‘wedding fabric’ – the couple choose a fabric for their friends to wear and once made into clothes at the tailor’s, those clothes are then known as the clothes from that couple’s wedding.  We’d had the fabric turned into skirts and tops and headscarves but hadn’t yet had opportunity to wear them!  Now was our chance.

We piled into my car and headed across N’Djamena to Audrey and Priscilla’s house.  We were greeted by Priscilla and took photos of the team together.  Audrey and Priscilla also showed us their wedding photos which were lovely to see. 

Pharmacy team (L-R):
Me – if you’d not guessed 😉 Cleopas,
Missi, Audrey, Elisabeth
With Missi (L) and Elisabeth (R)

With Cleopas (L) and Audrey (R)

The pharmacy team had all clubbed together to buy them a wedding gift, which was presented to Priscilla by Elisabeth and Missi.

Handing over our wedding gift
of thermal food storage containers, tray and fabric cover

While we were all busy at work, Priscilla had been busy cooking up a storm for us!  She served us fish, plantains and vegetables, washed down by the obligatory coca cola.  It was so good!

Yummy Chadian food 🙂
I kindly left the head of my fish for my colleagues,
cos I’m nice like that 😉  The Chadians consider the
fish’s head the best, most nutritious part.  I’m always
very happy to leave them that part!

It was good to finally meet Audrey’s wife and daughter who we’d heard so much about but who we’d never met!  It was also good to celebrate their marriage as a team and hang out together outside of the pharmacy as this is a rarity!  I’m so grateful to work alongside these four hard-working, kind and hospitable people.