The time in Chad will require multiple entries as I try to put it into perspective. It was not easy. It will require time. Medical. Physical, Spiritual. My life as a physician. My life as a Jesuit. My life as a priest. All of them were challenged. At times I was battered. Other times were deeply consoling.
I made no entries here during the entire time in Chad because we had electricity in the house for about eight hours per day. Internet access was between poor and non-existent. Sometimes there was the indication of a WiFi signal but no connection. It cold take five minutes to open an e-mail and twice as long to send a reply. I've always detested the TV commercial featuring the turtles named the Slowskys who preferred a slow internet connection. It was never funny and is less funny now, particularly for the students in Chad who have to deal with the erratic and slow internet availability. That is, if they even have a computer.
I assumed internet life would be easier in Ireland. It was for an hour. Then it went down. The problem is not in the Jesuit house but with the provider who seems in no rush to fix it. The coffee shop down the street and a Starbucks a few blocks away fill the need.
I leave Dublin Friday and arrive back in Boston Saturday night after a quick overnight in New York.
Dublin? I left N'Djamena on 26 August for Paris, had a four hour layover flew to Dublin. The following day Paul Vespa, a friend since our first hours at Penn State as freshmen arrived. On Saturday he and I attended the Penn State-UCF football game at Croke Park. On Tuesday my voice returned. Penn State dominated the first half, things were more evenly matched the second and with 1:13 to go UCF took its first lead in the game 24-23. With three seconds left, Sam Ficken, Penn State's kicker, came on the field and sent the ball through the uprights for the win as time expired. I will not detail my behavior.
Am in the process of packing for the trip back to the U.S. Over the next week or so I'll put up some reflections and some photos. I do not have as many photos of Chad for reasons I will explain later.
It will be good to be home. Not sure what is coming up next.
+Fr. Jack, SJ, MD