Thursday, January 6, 2011
Travel to Chad
"Is that in Africa?" Is the most common question I have been getting when I say where I am going, or what I'm doing for the month of January. Otherwise called J-term at Linfield College where I just finished my first semester of nursing school. I found a hospital in the 'bush' of Chad as the doctors there call it. I'll be meeting up with Olen an ER doc, and wife Danae an OBGYN with their almost two year old little boy Lyol. They are just starting their rotation at the remote hospital and seem excited for my arrival. We are all the same age and I am excited for this learning experience for sure!
I had requests for a variety of supplies including; a toilet seat, ostomy bags... for the women who just had a colostomy and doesn't have any bags. (means her colon was re-routed so it comes out of her skin somewhere on her stomach her fecal matter comes out when it's ready). NOT pleasant to say the least!
Baby wipes, deodorant, batteries, it's BYOG (Bring your own gloves) so I have loads of those and the biggest bottle of hand sani I have ever seen!
The plane while I'm there is to live with a local family. Eat breakfast and dinner with them and lunch at the hospital. They are excited to teach and mentor me as much as I'm interested. It seems like they see different illnesses and emergencies, TB, Malaria are big there, but I'm all up on my shots and have Malaria meds and a mosquito net, so hopefully I'll steer clear of anything nasty!
Getting there is the major battle of this month my airline ticket says my flight (+2 days) so on the calendar it's 3 days of just the flight part. Not to mention getting to and from the airport.
I fly Seattle-DC-Ethiopia-Chad. it's about 26 hours of flight time. Once I arrive in N'Djamena, the capital I was told I'd be greeted by one of several people, including something about a person that may mention cheese, if they do this, and say their name is Sara, it's OK, or if they are a Taxi driver and mention the hospital, they are OK to go with as well... basically any number of people that may know something, kinda like a secret code. Then they may or may not take my passport to get a national pass from the police, then I can stay in one of several hotels that are gross, a little gross, or $200 a night. The next day at 10am I will take the one bus to Bere that will be over loaded with passengers and take about 6 hours and be hot and uncomfortable. When I arrive there are no paved roads, no bus stop, but if nobody is their to greet me from the hospital, just ask "hopital?" and someone will point me in the right direction.
To someone who hasn't traveled to a developing nation I could see where this all would sound like EXTREME traveling or something, but well, I just know I'll be hot, exhausted, and uncomfortable, but as long as I just settle into the rhythm, these sorts of 'systems' work themselves out more often then not. So here I go, trusting that if I just keep moving on to the next portion of this journey, I'll eventually get to Chad and to the hospital.
Thanks for reading