My first week

"Today I woke up at 5am to go for a run... exactly what we needed after a hectic 90 hour week"

Today I woke up at 5am to go for a run. Our doctor shares my endorphin rush and we were both craving some time away from the house. There’s a soccer field with a track field close by and exactly what we needed after a hectic 90 hour week.  

It’s been over 10 days since I flew into Chad. During my first three days in N’Djamena I met with the management team and got a small taste of the issues and life the coordination team handles and enjoyed outings with colleagues to local eateries, events, and a relaxing swimming pool. The heat was serious (~38°C) yet manageable, especially with the AC in the room.  However, the anxiety to get started landed me some restless nights.

To get to Gore, I left the capital on a humanitarian flight to Moundou, followed by a three hour drive. Once in Goré, accumulated administrative work and meeting all the personnel kept my schedule full until late evenings. In hindsight, the three days in Ndjamena seemed very long compared to the fast pace of three days in Gore – or maybe it’s just the lack of AC in my room .

In the office, I feel like a fish in water: meeting our employees and reviewing professional development paths, figuring out accounting enigmas, digging through our software reports, excel files, cash management, and budgeting/planning our activities for the upcoming months. In the field, I toured our facilities and inconspicuously audited our record-keeping to relay back with our med staff and logistician. After office hours however, bonding with our medical staff that face the realities of our true work on the field, I have a hard time relating. While I found it difficult to provide needed emotional support this early, I have participated actively in dinner table discussions about how to do more and better for the communities we serve given our constraints. Plenty decisions and important milestones for our work in the area will be accomplished this next week. It will be exciting.

Today we’ll finish our day preparing our weekly reports. Our project coordinator cooked dinner for us after a grocery trip into town while the rest of us have been reading, napping, watching ants drag a small moth from our deck down into the garden, or all of the above. Relaxing lasted until 18:00 when we headed down to town to watch the Mexico-Holland second round soccer match.

I set out with my Mexico jersey along our doctor since he knows a fellow Malagasy there. I was very surprised to walk into the room and spot another Mexico jersey in the crowd. Turns out I too now have a compatriot in town. We cheered, stressed, yelled, quietly accepted the team’s elimination, and quickly forgot as we shared stories about how two Baja California natives ended up on this corner of the world.