I am sitting here in a guest apartment of TEAM in N’DJamena. TEAM is an evangelical mission group here in Chad who have a few guest houses that we often stay in when we are up here in the capital. It really does feel like a heater in here. I don’t mind it though. I am back and reunited with my family, of which all 3 of those boys are sleeping at 2:30pm.
They need it.
Zane is all off with his jet lag. He’s back to his good health, though a little fussy with his 5th tooth coming in!
Lyol just finished his oral quinine course today for malaria. Sooooo good to see my little munchkin. Of course he’s all grown up and changed in the past 3 weeks. I couldn’t believe it when Olen told me that he grew 1/4 of an inch, can ride a bicycle, translates english into french for my father at the hospital, gave the sermon last week at church...
No seriously. You can’t always believe Olen. So Lyol is pretty much the same, but still he’s all grown up too.
Olen has his own battles as well. Politics. This past week has brought about some rediculous events. I’ll let Olen tell his own story, but can I just say, “This MCD has got to go.” Please pray for this to happen quickly. We have tried to work with him for almost a year and a half, and now it’s time to move on. Our hospital cannot function properly with him lurking.
Needless to say, Olen is stressed and needs our prayers.
So I am glad that they are all sleeping. It’s too hot for me to sleep.
Zane and I have missed all of this heat being in the US. After getting Zane completely checked out by all of the wonderful medical care in Baltimore, we were finally able to relax. Boy was the weather nice there! After it was clear that Zane had fully recovered, he got some more vaccinations. Once you get your Yellow Fever vaccination, you have to wait 10 days before entering Chad. So....we waited...in comfort.
Monday, Zane and I took the 13 hour flight to Ethiopia, of which Zane slept about 20 minutes combined I think. The flight attendants all loved him though. They all looked like models, so he thought it was great too.
We had a 3 hour layover and waited in one of the corners close to my gate. The rest of the place was pretty crowded. At one random point I got up to make sure I was at the right gate. I almost ran into a nicely dressed woman because it was so busy. After a second for me to register her face, I realized it was Christy Shank. Christy is a friend from college and medical school who was a couple years older than me. She is currently serving as a doctor at a mission hospital in Malawi and was just traveling through. It was nice to catch up.
Our flight from Ethiopia to Chad was typical. The flight attendants tried to get people in the aisles to be seated WHILE taxiing down the runway. One man had to finish his conversation with his friend who was a few seats back before he would listen to her. He wouldn’t even pay any attention to the flight attendant. I’m irritated for the lack of respect for rules sometimes. And lack of respect for women. I make a mental note not to be mad at everyone. Please God, I know it’s not everyone who lives here. I can’t make generalizations if I am to live and love people here. So I don’t get angry. I seriously struggle with this at times though.
Zane slept the whole way thankfully. Immediately upon landing in NDJ, everyone unbuckled their seatbelts right away. Still taxiing. People stood up and opened the overhead compartments. Still taxiing. It’s still a little annoying for the lack of respect for rules.
I struggle with ALL of my carry-ons (one of them, Zane’s “diaper bag” was 33 lbs that I had over a shoulder). So that is 3 carry-ons, a baby, and a stroller to get off of the plane. One really nice man from Ghana helped me though.
Inside I quickly fill out the immigration card with my third hand. I gather all of my things and present the passports and card to the officer. He looks at them skeptically.
“Where did you get this?”
“At the Chadian Embassy in the US.”
“This is no good.”
Ya, whatever, MR. You just want a bribe. I hold my tongue and ask, “What seems to be the problem?”
“They always give the wrong seals.” “We keep having this problem with them.”
“Why don’t you tell your embassy to change it,” I couldn’t help myself, but I try to still be polite. I add, “I’m not paying you any money.”
This is unfortunately typical for officers to make up reasons to get money out of you.
He sends me over to the police area to wait in a crowded office. Me and my “light” carry-on baggage go and wait with the police for about 20 minutes.
A very nice man found me over there and asked what I was doing there. I told him that I was not paying a bribe because I have a visa already. He was so nice and helpful and brought me right over to another officer, who quickly helped me through. This same man helped me gather all of my suitcases, put them through the security conveyer belt himself, while I waited with Zane. Then put them through this difficult turning doorway to get outside, again, while I waited with Zane. I tried to pay him (they all want money), but he refused. I’m pretty sure he was an angel with an airport badge. I wish I could remember his name.
Olen came soon after, and now we are finally reunited. We will be here sorting out this MCD stuff until tomorrow, then finish the last leg towards home.