What a difference 203 days make. Six-and-a-half months to be precise. Having spent 10 months in Chad during 2013/14 I am heading back! Let me tell you about my last 29 weeks and bring you up to date with the life of Claire.
I landed back in the UK on 19th March 2014. Back to the land of green, spoken English, tarred roads without (a lot of) potholes and cool weather. Cue catching up with friends, keeping up with friends in Chad, debrief at the BMS head office and eating the foods I missed the most: strawberries and cheese (not together!). This was swiftly followed by more interviews at BMS headquarters, as I had felt God calling me to longer term mission work whilst I was in Chad. By the time my career break officially ended and I resumed my job in Torquay on 14th April, I had had a second interview for long term mission work with BMS, medical and psychological checks to make sure I was fit-for-purpose and the final BMS interview for long term work was in the pipeline.
Resuming work was strange. Having been out of the NHS for a year, there was a lot to catch up on. I regaled colleagues with tales of different pharmacy practices in Chad, helping us all realise that some things we concern ourselves with here in the UK pale into insignificance, when compared with the challenges of practising pharmacy in a developing country. I threw myself back into my job and enjoyed working with my colleagues again. However I always knew that I wouldn’t be back there very long.
At the beginning of May I had my final interview with BMS and was accepted for training as a long term mission worker. The aim would be to return to the hospital at Guinebor II in Chad after nine months of training.
So, after having been back at work for a month, I gave in my resignation. I had only just moved back into my flat in Torquay and was enjoying having ‘my space’ back again. However it was only temporary and I am learning to be able to adapt to the nomadic lifestyle that long term mission work entails.
So, in the space of 6.5 months / 29 weeks / 203 days, I have
- landed in the UK
- been through 4 interviews
- restarted my job
- moved back into my flat
- resigned from my job
- moved out of my flat
.......and now find myself living the furthest north I ever have lived in the world – Birmingham!
My training as a long term mission worker at BMS’s International Mission Centre (IMC) in Birmingham started on 8th September and continues until mid May 2015.
I live and study at IMC, learning about a wide range of topics that will prepare me for my future life overseas that starts mid May 2015. It’s definitely a challenge to learn and discuss theology (amongst other things), when I’m so used the slightly more black-and-white, structured nature of scientific learning, but I’m enjoying it!