From Torbay to Chad: meet Claire
New BMS World Mission worker Claire Bedford hates dust and heat... but is going to live in the desert
Claire spent one year serving as a volunteer pharmacist at Guinebor II Hospital (G2) in Chad and, while there, God called her to go long term. After ten months of training at the International Mission Centre, Claire is a fully fledged BMS World Mission worker. She flies to France to perfect (she hopes!) her French on Friday 10 July, and in January she moves to Chad.
Claire's home church is Upton Vale Baptist Church in Torquay.
With hours till she departs on the next part of her adventure, we thought it was time for you to meet pharmacist-turned-mission-worker Claire.
You’ve served in Chad before and it sounds pretty intense, what are some of the challenges?
The heat always springs to mind first. It’s just constant nearly all year round – it averages about 40 degrees most of the year in the daytime, and can go up to 50 degrees in April. It doesn’t really cool down at night either. The coldest I ever knew was probably 17 degrees, and all the Chadians were wearing ski jackets!
Also, even though it’s on the outskirts of the capital, about 12 or 15 miles outside, it’s quite isolated.
So, why are you going back?
Good question! Well, like I said in my home church commissioning, I hate heat and I hate dust and they are two things you get a lot of in Chad. But it’s just where I feel God’s called me. And that kind of supersedes the fact that I don’t like heat or dust.
I know that I can cope with it because I did it last time. It’s not easy and you get frustrated with it and then you just get even hotter. But there are other bits about living in Chad that help in a positive way. The biggest thing is that it’s where I feel God wants me to be. And there’s a job for me to be doing there – despite the heat.
What will you be doing?
I am a pharmacist – I was working as a pharmaceutical advisor to GP practices in Torbay. And I will be working as a pharmacist in Chad. What that will look like on a day-to-day basis, I haven’t got a clue!
And why is it important to have a good pharmacy at G2?
The pharmacy there doesn’t just manage drugs, they manage quite a lot of other medical equipment – sutures, needles, scalpels and stuff for theatre etc. Because resources are scarce, both financially and physically, it’s important to get good processes in place to make sure that we don’t run out of things. It’s management of the stock and getting the processes in place – that’s the bulk of what I did in my short-term trip. And I trained the Chadian pharmacist to carry it on, which I hear that he is doing.
This time it will be more working alongside the doctors and nurses to help with best prescribing practices. Helping them know what are the best things to prescribe for certain conditions, because they have to work quite blind as there aren’t that many diagnostic tools. They have an x-ray machine and do blood tests, but they don’t have all the gamut of stuff we have here, so it’s quite difficult to make a sound diagnosis.
What are your worries?
Travelling by myself can sometimes be a concern, especially if the vehicle breaks down. And just the loneliness, I think. That could be hard.
What can we be praying for?
As I go to France, pray that I will settle there well and that it will really help my French to improve. I’ve been having lessons in Birmingham since January with a tutor, so I’ve kept it up a little bit. But pray that I will get to another level of fluency. And pray that I’ll make friends in the community at the language school.
Then as I move to Chad, pray that I’ll be able to cope with the culture shock of that. I think I’ll probably have culture shock in France as well. So I suppose, culture shock overall in both countries! I know it’ll happen, but pray that I’ll embrace it and work through it.
And G2 needs more staff. We really need more doctors, but any healthcare staff really.
Impressed by Claire’s response to God’s call? Why not bless her by:
Becoming a 24:7 Partner
or supporting her as a church through Church Partners
Could you too be called to the desert hospital? We urgently need medical staff and a chief operating officer at Guinebor II Hospital. If you think this could be you, find out more and get in touch today.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission