Sunday, November 29, 2015

In the Bush

The wind, the sun, and the dust are pretty significant here when riding on the back of a moto, down the open road. As we were heading west, I was pretty much crying because it was so bright and so windy. This was Friday afternoon, and Papa was taking me out into the bush for vespers.

I hadn't been out of the village since arriving in Béré on Monday, so it was nice to get out and expand my horizons a bit. We went out of the village and down the main road for maybe a couple of kilometers before we turned off onto a small track and wound through the landscape, passing huts from time to time, with groups of children calling, "Nasara, Nasara!" 

We pulled up in front of a hut and Papa tapped the horn a few times to announce our arrival. A woman came out of the hut with a very large mat to put on the ground, and something like 30 kids (and a few adults) came and sat down on the mat in front of Papa and I. We sang a few songs in French, such as Read Your Bible, Pray Everyday, Father Abraham, and Making Melodies. There's something cool about seeing kids in a bush village in Africa singing some of the same songs that I grew up singing on the other side of the world. 

After we sang, Papa talked to the a little bit, and then asked me to tell them a story. I told them about David and Goliath. Then we sang another song, prayed, and left. It was a very short meeting, something like 20 minutes, but there was something special about it. It made me feel like I'm in the right place right now, and that I could stay here for a long time. 

After leaving that village, we went to another village on the opposite side of Béré and had a similar meeting. The kids in these little villages are dirty. They have runny noses. Some of them are half naked. Small kids, maybe seven or so, will carry babies on their backs. It's a different world here. And I like it. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving in Chad was pretty great.

Today was day two at the hospital. So far, pretty much all I've done is follow on rounds and such, trying very hard to learn people's names, understand a little bit of French, and learn a few new words, if I'm lucky. There's lots of patients with malaria and typhoid, some with cancer, some with abscesses and infections of various kinds. And other things, of course. Like surgery patients, and maternity patients, and things like that. Lots of skinny kids, too. They're sure cute, though.

One of my new favorite songs has a line that says "I need to know I can be lost, and not afraid." You could argue that I can't possibly be lost, because God opened the doors for me to come here, and he is with me, and therefore I am anything but lost. And that is true, of course. But some other things are also true. Like the fact that I feel pretty lost here at this point. Because really... I'm in a totally new place, with new people, a new culture, new languages, new food, a new climate, new ways of doing things, and a new approach to nursing.

Definitely the biggest "new" for me right now that the language situation. It's pretty crazy. I'm realizing that I've taken talking for granted all my life. This is quite startling, in fact, that I might be an extrovert by the time I get home just because I'm so thankful to be able to talk to people. Just to be clear, there are people here who speak English. But there's a whole lot more who speak French, Arabic, Nangéré, and a whole lot of other local languages. And a good number of people here speak multiple of them. It really made me wonder what I've done with my life when a 12ish year old told me that he speaks five languages. What.

As a side note, if I ever learn to read Arabic, I think I will feel like I have achieved a significant accomplishment. Look it up. It's super beautiful. I think reading would be even more enjoyable than it already is if the words were gorgeous like that.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I'm home

Yesterday morning we went to immigration and got my passport stamped, and then took the bus to Kelo. David and Sarah, some other missionaries here, picked us up in Kelo. On the way to Béré we saw a super gorgeous sunset, and also a hippo! 

When we got to Béré, I met my family. They live just around the corner from the entrance to the hospital, which is quite convenient. Their house is nice. It is cement, with a metal roof. My room, which is part of the house, but accessible only from the outside, is probably 10 or 12 feet square. It's quite nice. There is a nice window also. It's currently a mess, as I haven't finished organizing yet. I'm pretty sure I brought twice as much stuff as I need....

This morning I went with Zach to the nutrition clinic. Mothers come with their babies to be weighed and measured (the babies, not the mothers), and they are given formula if the baby still needs it. It was very interesting. Some of the babies are sooo skinny. 

After the nutrition clinic, we went into town to the police and the medical directors office (or something like that). 

Tomorrow I have orientation at the hospital. Oh boy!

Also, I want to buy a baby goat. They are unbelievably cute. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

It happened

Hi from Chad! Wow. This is crazy. My flight arrived a couple of hours ago. I'm so stoked to finally be here! 

Zach, one of the missionaries here, met me at the airport. We'll be in N'djamena, the capitol, over the weekend. We are staying at the evangelical mission here, and we'll be able to do some shopping, go to church here, and then get my passport registered with the police before we go to Bere on Monday. 

For now, I'm sitting under a lovely fan. I'm enjoying it, because my hut won't have one. :) I'm also trying to read French. That's not quite as smooth as sitting under a fan. I'm also learning about how things work at Bere. For starters, I'll be working 8 hour shifts, 7-3 daily. I'm excited to get there and start!

I miss all of you American people! 

Thursday, November 19, 2015


My trip has begun.

This is the craziest feeling ever. I'm sitting in the airport, and my next flight will take me to Africa. I've never been simultaneously so excited and so terrified.

I don't know what God is going to do this year; I think it's probably going to be hard and scary sometimes. But I know it's going to be good.

To the beautiful, wonderful, amazing people who came to the airport last night, thank you so much. That meant the world to me.

"If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough."
"You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."
"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ."

Monday, November 16, 2015

Two Days

I leave in two days! I can't believe it.

I am so thankful for all of you: thank you so so so much for your support, encouragement and prayers. I hope to continue hearing from you while I'm in Chad. From what I hear, I will have some internet, but I guess it's pretty slow, and apparently Facebook doesn't work on it. So that's sad.

So that means email me! Write to me! Come visit me! Text me if you want to... But I think it would cost you a small fee. Texting costs less than coming to visit though... :)

My email address:

My address:
L'hopital Adventiste de Béré
Attn: Sarah Snyder
52 Boîte Postal
Kelo, Tchad

Sunday, November 8, 2015


As I recall, I wrote my last post after deciding to go to Cameroon. I made that decision after learning that "essential personnel" could return to Chad. I decided on Cameroon with the understanding that there was a chance Chad would be open again in a few weeks. At that point, I felt like I had been on a roller coaster so long that I really needed to get off. So I emailed all of the right people and told them that Cameroon was my choice.

It felt really good to know what I was doing. I was still kind of hanging on the Chad, I guess, and wishing I could go there, but still, just having a plan was a big relief.

However, that relief didn't last very long. Just a couple of days later, I heard from the doctor in Chad. Adventist Volunteer Services, the organization that I am going through, is accepting volunteers for Chad again. So after a lot more crying and praying and talking to important people, I decided to pursue Chad one more time.

That was like...last week, I think. Now, I'm waiting for a visa to Chad.

It has been very interesting to hear people's reactions when I tell them that I'm going to Chad after all. Some people are thrilled. Some are just relieved that I've finally decided what I'm doing. (Actually maybe not...I don't know). But some people have expressed valid concerns. While I haven't taken the political unrest in that area of Africa very seriously up until this point, the area around Chad is, in fact, quite unstable. I don't really know what to believe about Chad itself, but there could potentially be significant concerns there as well. In addition to that, perhaps of greater relevance to me at this point, is the potential to become extremely sick. Again, I've been aware of that potential all along, but I haven't really taken it too seriously. Chad has lots of malaria, as well as things like typhoid, giardia, tuberculosis, hiv. Those are all diseases that I would really rather not get, incidentally. And I probably won't get most of them. But one never knows.

At this point, I feel that God has opened the door to Chad once again. Because it appears to be open, I have started walking towards it. I don't know if the door will stay open. At this point, I'm not really going to believe that I'm going until I'm there. If the door closes again, I will remove Chad from my list of options for this year. If it stays open, I will go to Chad. I don't know at this point. But I know that God has a plan, and that someday I will realize that I learned a lot through this experience.

In the mean time, if I go to Chad I could theoretically leave next week.