Tuesday, March 8, 2011

#28 Hazing the Pledge

“Welcome to Tchad!”  “We’re so glad you’re here!”  We welcomed our new volunteer, as we hope to welcome all of our volunteers!  

She will remain nameless right now. Her name starts with an “H” and ends with a “-eather Haynes.”  She’s fitting in great, almost too great.  This has got to change!  She’s already been here a week and nothing bad has happened yet.  She needs a real missionary experience!
“Please come over to our house, Heather with all the other missionaries.  I’ll prepare you something special.”
Back at home I search for what’s in the house that needs to be used up before it goes bad.  Hmmm...lots of left over beans.  
“Hey Olen, can you look up the recipes for vegetarian patties that Charity sent us in that last e-mail?”  
“Sure Dear!  It says you can use whatever you want to put in the patties, but add something to thicken it like oatmeal (check), eggs to make it stick together (nope, don’t have right now), and spices (check).  If you don’t have eggs you can substitute with cheese or ground up flax seed supposedly.  You can even use flour if you’re in a pinch.  Spices, herbs, flavoring, vegetables as you like.” 
I set to work on mashing the beans somewhat, then add a little water and oatmeal.  There are lots of spices that James left here, so we’re in heaven with those.  I don’t remember exactly what I added, but it tasted pretty good.  
Hmm....flax seed.  I don’t feel like grinding it.  Maybe it’ll work if the flax seed is whole.
I give it a try.  
The first few don’t stick together very well, but the rest turn out pretty well.  
Everyone enjoys the creative patties on their sandwiches, and someone even asks for the recipe!  We have a nice Bible study.  
Heather goes home and vomits.  Her experience is exceptional.  She’s been here about a week.  She lives in the village.  With a local family.  In a mud hut.  Without electricity.  Or a toilet.  But she has a sweet hole in the ground.  It kinda smells like poop, which makes one want to vomit.  But when you’re vomiting anyways... well, it just makes it hard to stop vomiting sometimes.  Heather vomits with energy, enthusiasm and vigor.  It’s not passive.  It’s projective, even.  It’s nigh-violent, she would tell us later.  She vomits frequently and with enough force to actually pop the capillaries in her head.  It give her lovely petechiae, or little purple dots all around her eyes.  It’s only temporary.
The next day she manages a smile despite it all.  “That was weird.  It was like I was poisoned.” She feels lame because nobody else at the Bible study was vomiting.  She’s the rookie, the newbie, the fresh meat with the weak stomach.  We’ve all been here awhile and built up our iron stomach.  We titrate the giardia in the water to combat the constipation prevalent with the Tchadian diet.  We’re hard-core and what-not.  She’s kinda soft and squishy-cored.  This will ‘toughen her up.’  If she’s gonna last five months, she needs to adapt to vomiting.  It happens.
Heather now doesn’t trust anything fresh.  “If it’s not safe after being bleached at the Netteburgs, then it can’t be safe with the village family.”  For the next week, Heather eats neither fruit nor vegetable.  She continues with the regimen of pills for nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
After a couple weeks, Heather’s helping us cook.  I volunteer to make some patties again.  She asks what the recipe was.  Beans, oatmeal, flaxseed, onions, spices, peppers, tomatoes,...
“Wait!  What!  Flaxseed!  You’re kidding, right?”
Well, if we were, I’m not really sure if there’s a funny punchline at the end.
“I’m allergic to flaxseed.  I vomit violently when I eat flaxseed.  If I ate flaxseed, I would vomit just like I did two weeks ago.”
You mean, just like the last time we fed you flaxseed?
Note to self, ask all volunteers for their dietary allergies.
Anybody for dinner?
You Might be in Tchad if...
You find it reassuring that your security guard is awake today.
You will notice on our blog, missionarydoctors.blogspot.com, that we have a link for donations. This is through Adventist Health International’s website. Please keep in mind that AHI takes 10% of the donation for administrative costs. However, AHI also provides us with invaluable support, and we believe strongly in the mission of AHI. We feel that AHI is an organization worth supporting. And remember that your gift is 100% tax-deductible.
Olen Tigo: +235 98 07 46 28
Olen Zain: +235 62 16 04 93
Danae Tigo: +235 98 07 46 27
Danae Zain: +235 62 17 04 80
Olen et Danae Netteburg
Hopital Adventiste de Bere
52 Boite Postale
Kelo, Tchad
Volunteers Welcome!!!

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