As I write this, we’ve been home for less than two weeks. Since landing at the airport, it seems as though everybody has been wanting to give us a welcome back.
The folks at the airport who lost our bag.
The bag porter at the airport who tried to convince us that a $50 tip was customary. (Try $1.)
The $200+/night hotel that would not have passed for a Motel 6 at home.
The hotel guard who insisted that we move our car out of the way while we loaded it, because there was the potential that a second car might arrive this century, even though there was plenty of room to maneuver around us.
The church officials who barely said hello to me before explaining all the projects they needed me to pay for out of the-foreigner-can-always-come-up-with-more-money-from-somewhere fund.
The nice police officers who pulled us over and told us they would impound our car… unless we gave them an $80 bribe.
The Catholic sister who never answered her phone, then was upset with me when I didn’t cancel a reservation.
The bone-jarring ten hours spent behind a wheel dodging potholes to traverse the couple hundred miles to our hospital from the capital in what would otherwise be a 90 minute Caravan plane trip.
My car which won’t run.
The LandCruiser which won’t run.
The termites eating our cabinets.
The rats eating everything else.
The honking horns and people yelling ‘nasara!’
The local kids yelling ‘Gary’ at me, reminding me that I should be out in the village hanging out with people and building relationships like Gary does.
The border guards demanding bribes before allowing our containers to pass.
The customs office guard demanding bribes before allowing our containers to pass.
The toll road guard demanding bribes before allowing our containers to pass.
The customs office, which has just gone digital, having only one computer, but still insisting that Tchad become a modern country. As such, all containers entering the country of Tchad must have their entire manifest typed into a computer by people who search out the letter on the keyboard, use their dominant index finder to attempt to mash that key through the table supporting the computer before laboriously searching out the second letter of the word. And ONE computer for the country.
The inspectors who insisted that they each be paid $150 for a few hours of observing the containers be unloaded. This while fellow Tchadians labored in the hot sun to unload it, working ten-hour days for $5. And then they have the gall to complain that I didn’t buy them a bottle of water. And I make $12/day. All this after I drove five hours to pick them up, waking up at 5am.
The gasoline in the diesel engine.
The babies still dying in pediatrics.
The hour we still spend in church on Sabbath in order to take of administrative issues.
The water pump that went out last night, leaving our entire hospital (not to mention our houses, including kitchens, toilets, showers, sinks, etc) without water today.
And yet, it’s good to be home, isn’t it?