More questions about life (in Chad)

Welcome to my latest blog where I’m going to answer the questions that people have sent me about life and work in Chad.

How long do you see yourself working in Chad?

No idea!  I’m now into my fourth year of working at Guinebor II Hospital and in many ways, I feel like I’m only just getting to grips with life and work here.  There’s so much to learn in terms of language, cultural practices and hospital management (to name a few things).  To leave now would in some ways feel like a waste of all that I’ve learned over the last three years, as it’s now that I’m really putting that learning into practice – and obviously I’m continuing to learn.    As I type, I’ve no plans to leave but who knows what God will want me to do in the future?  It’s in His hands at the end of the day!

If you need help/advice, where do you go/who do you go to?

That depends on what it is I need help or advice on.  If it’s something related to cultural practices I will ask a trusted Chadian colleague like Audrey (the pharmacist I work with) or Allain (our administrator).  If it’s how to manage a sensitive personnel issue, where I need human resources advice and cultural advice all wrapped into one, I’ll ask my Cameroonian missionary colleague Kalbassou.  If it’s something personal to me that I need help or advice on I will ask either my parents or one of my close female friends (many of whom are not in Chad, praise God for WhatsApp!).

Have you seen many people come to faith since you have been at G2?  If so, do new Chri$tians get problems having become Chri$tian in a predominately Mu$lim society?

I obviously can’t write too much about this on a public website, but the short answer is yes and yes.

Do you think Manchester United will win the Premier League?

Haha!!  I have absolutely no idea, I don’t follow football apart from World Cups and I don’t want to risk saying the wrong thing on this subject, given that I’ve friends who support many different Premier League teams 😉.  I will say though that football is a universal sport and there are many Chadians who love playing and watching football.  They enjoy watching football matches from different European leagues (mainly Italian, Spanish and English).  The other day Allain, who I mentioned above, was looking a bit bleary eyed first thing in the morning (we start work at 7am).  I asked him if his 6-month old son was keeping him awake at night.  He replied ‘no, I was up late last night watching the Barcelona v Real Madrid match!’

How do you go about spreading the good news of Je$us in your everyday work?

My work is very practical – essentially helping to run a hospital that provides high quality, low cost healthcare to the local population.  When I was training with BMS to become a long-term mission worker, we were taught the principle of ‘integral mission’.  The Micah Network defines integral mission as ‘the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel’ and more on this can be discovered here.  What integral mission essentially means is that we can’t just tellpeople about Je$us but we must demonstrateour faith too.  You can’t have one without the other.  So my hope and prayer is that through my interactions with staff and patients in my day to day, very practical work, the love of Je$us will shine through.  This will, I hope, tie in with the work that our Chaplains do.  It’s a team effort!

How do your Chadian doctors, nurses and other professional staff gain their qualifications? Do they have to go outside the country for training or are there places at University within the country where staff are trained?

Great question!  It is possible to train as a doctor, nurse or midwife in Chad.  Medicine can be studied at the University of N’Djamena and it takes a minimum of 7 years to qualify as a junior doctor.  Nurses and midwives train at specialist nursing and midwifery schools.  The training for nurses and midwives is essentially the same and the only thing that defines whether you end up as a nurse or midwife are the practical ‘stages’ (internships) that you do while you’re training.  People can also train to be pharmacy technicians, lab technicians and physiotherapy technicians within Chad.  Other than that, it’s training outside of the country (e.g. to be a ultrasonographer or radiographer).  Our ultrasonographer at Guinebor II has been trained ‘on the job’ by visiting specialists from outside of Chad.  There’s always a hunger for learning here and in an ideal world, we would love Guinebor II Hospital to be a teaching hospital, to train local people in certain specialities, but that’s a bit down the line yet.

Those are all the questions I received, hope they give some more insight into my life and work here!

Here are some photos to brighten the blog and show you some of what I’ve been up to and helping with in the last few weeks and months:

At the wedding of one of our nurses

Enjoying a sunset over the River Chari

Helping to oversee the remodelling of the lab

Pharmacy remodel all finished 🙂

Remodel of old operating theatre into a new dressings room
and a new emergency room

Inside the new ER
(5 beds now, old one had 2 beds)