One month ago, I arrived in Bere. It’s amazing how much can happen in a month, and how much can change. It’s probably been the craziest month of my life. Sometimes I can’t believe how amazing it is to live in the African bush. Sometimes I don’t feel that way at all. But I’ve learned a ton, met some amazing people, and had some really cool opportunities and experiences. I hope that all of that continues.
Perhaps a few of the most exciting parts of my month… I have learned some French (more than I think, less than I wish), seen hippos, watched gorgeous sunsets, survived malaria (it’s horrible), experienced quinine (treatment for malaria; it’s nasty), tried fish sauce, had countless conversations end with someone involved shaking their head, lacking comprehension (usually it’s me), shopped in Chadian markets, seen too many patients that nothing more can be done for, stared at the stars on clear nights when the light pollution is practically zero, taken cold bucket showers outside in the open air, and sang songs in French on a mat in the bush with dirty little children.
So not all of that is super exciting…. Actually it is. It’s just not all big stuff. Except that it is… Cause here it seems like sometimes the little stuff is way more important than the big stuff. At any rate, most of those are things that I wouldn’t have done if I was in the US, so I’m gaining new experiences if nothing else.
Sometimes I ask myself what I’m really doing here. I’m not super useful in the hospital yet, and I can’t really have legitimate conversations with most people. But I do have laughter and love to share. And sometimes that’s all that matters. (And I’m working on being useful in the hospital and being able to have legitimate conversations.)
Sarah Snyder is a student missionary from Walla Walla University serving as a nurse at Bere Adventist Hospital in Chad through the NAD Office of Volunteer Ministries and Adventist Volunteer Service. This was originally posted on her blog on Dec. 23, 2015, and used with permission.