|Mother and Child- a present to Andrea |
from the midwives at Guinebor II
Half way through August and nearly at the end of our whirlwind tour of the UK up north to Lochgilhpead and down south to Penzance and then across west to Penarth and east to Eye too. Visits to BMS churches, friends, medical courses and holidays have all been squeezed in. Meanwhile we have been making plans for our return to Chad. We will return to Ndjamena on the 16th of September and be based there whilst we learn Arabic. Initially for 2 months and then afterwards in Amtiman practicing what we have learnt.
After that the next challenge begins getting ready to move up north and another language to learn. However as we move on we thought we’d also look back one more time. On leaving our house in Guinebor II we emptied it and put all the contents in a container rather the reverse of our arrival where we had to empty the containers and sort out what had been eaten by termites or melted by the sun. Hopefully that will not be happening this time.
Looking around at all the pictures we had collected over the last 5 years it gave us a chance to reflect and here are some of our thoughts.
The market scene just like the central market in Ndjamena where we or our house help do the weekly shop. This was a picture Mark bought on a roundabout of which there are rather a lot in Ndjamena he bought it soon after arriving in Chad when he spent a lot of time driving the girls to school and waiting around-before they could really speak French and we didn’t have our reliable driver Dago it seems a long time ago.
at Dougia a small hotel with a pool where we spent a quite few weekends relaxing. It is just south of Lake Chad on the river bank with Cameroon just 400m across the water. Sadly due to security advice we have been unable to go there for the past couple of years.
The artist sold us the picture, it shows a typical Chadian scene, a herd of animals in the desert reminiscent of cave paintings. The image glows as it did in reality the day we drove to elephant rock and again not so long ago when we flew over the desert up to the North of Chad.
We keep this picture up of rice fields in Guinea as it reminds us of our time and friends there. All that we learnt in Guinea has been so helpful to us as we opened and ran the hospital from planning the pharmacy to knowing at least a little about the French employment code. It also gave us all a great love for rice with nearly every meal something readily available in Chad, although Chadians prefer boule and we are taking our time to fully adapt.
These women walking towards us remind me of the Arabic women in our hospital heads covered most wearing laffees (a long strip of material wrapped around over your clothes) and reaching for their headscarves immediately they awake from the anaesthetic or leave the consultation room. I remember when we opened the hospital and wondered if anyone would come we have served so many patients since its becomes hard to remember them all. I also begin to wonder if I will ever get used to wearing a laffee as I hope I will in Amtiman and afterwards. I guess so as even at Guinebor it felt strange leaving the house without a headscarf.
Another group of women this time in relief the surface is hard and Chad can be a tough place to live heat and dust our constant companions not to mention flies they are incredible in Chad everywhere you go they follow you soon learn the value of a plastic fly swatter and mosquito netting.
Ruths picture from an old fort on the Isles of Scilly reminds us both of her and our holiday there a few years ago a magical place to relax and all our good times of rest in the UK away from the business of Guinebor.
A map of Chad made by women who have had fistula surgery in Ndjamena and are looking to start afresh now cured. We look at this and think about our travels up to Bitkine over to Abeche and Goz Beida and down to Mondou. The quiet of a morning at Zakouma seeing a giraffe appear out of the trees. The sunset over the hills of Bitkine and the fun rickshaws in Abeche. The whole of Chad such a mixture of people with great needs for health, education and peace.
Women walking away from us-bought in a new craft shop in town this one was one of the artists old style pictures which made the price much better!! This is the last picture we bought and reminds us that we walk into a future that will still involve caring for women and children just as we have done at Guinebor and there is still work to be done.