Blog: Father Abraham Dances

Culture presents itself in the funniest of ways. We often think of ethnicity or nationality as being prime cultural backgrounds, which they probably are the largest influence on our overall culture. But it gets really interesting when you start throwing in subcultures. You could add sports as a subculture or socioeconomic status too. Religion could be one subculture. Christian would be another sub-subculture. I guess that means that Adventism is a sub-sub-subculture? Whatever it maybe, somethings don’t change from the Adventist Mecca of Loma Linda to the bush of the heart of Africa.

Then again, somethings do.

In our little bush church that is comprised mainly of kids, we sing many traditional songs: Making Melodies in Our Hearts, Father Abraham, Read Your Bible and Pray Everyday, Jesus Love is a-Bubblin’ Over, and many more. These are done in French or the local languages and even sometimes they us to teach them the song in English too. We use the songs to teach the lesson so as they sing the song through the week, they’ll (hopefully) remember something from our time together. All we can do is lead by example.

Well after my vacation (that was also our evacuation…does this mean I ge to take my own evacuation?), we went out with Dr. Bland and Papa to our little bush church. Father Abraham already has a few twists in the song but all the movements were the same before I left. Now as I’ve done left hand, right hand, left foot, right foot, chin up, tongue out, and turn around, I’m getting ready to sit down when they kids add the “dance” verse! Not knowing this, I stop and regard as the kids are reeling in excitement as they let their little bodies praise their Creator.

It was so precious. So genuine. So pure. What a great added verse! It just made my day at church to see them so happy and engaged. Here dance is a part of all celebrations: harvest, birth, death, dedications, independences, good grades, March 8, and even if you get a gift from a friend. You gotta shake those shoulders and let out a few high pitch “eeeiiiiiihhhhhhh yeeeeiiiiii yeeeeiiiiii’s” in thanksgiving at the time.

Let’s remember to celebrate the little things as well as the big things, especially as we’re coming upon the holiday season! Especially packages filled with coffee from Trader Joes, sour gummy worms, tapatio, and M&M’s!

Just a normal dancing bush church!

Dr. Bland and Papa giving the lesson!

Zachary Gately
zchgtly@gmail.com
zgately.com
+235 68920884
+235 91122492

L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boîte Postal
Kelo, Tchad
Africa

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Blog: on the road again

As I had (nearly) planned, I left the village of my youth Wednesday for the village of my current life. Just there’s a little stop in Boston. We were approved to return to Chad last week which is making all of us breathe a little easier (though maybe not you…).

After all my travels (humble brag, I know…) I never really made it to the East Coast. I went to the Smithsonian aeronautical museum last year during my layover in DC but other than that, the fabulous Chatt-Vegas was as far as I made it East. Now I’m exploring Boston and all the rich history it has. I’m checking out schools for the future and seeing what my (potential) future holds.

These are really the things I miss while I’m living in Chad: exploring experiences. I watched the Harvard quidditch team practice, participated in classes at Harvard, ate cannoli in the North End, hung out with the future leaders of our world, and found time to throw in a few shawarma joints. I miss museums and fine arts. I visited Harvard’s art museum on campus. It had galleries selections from all over the world. There was a great exhibition of Corita Kent, a Catholic nun who did a bunch of pop art in the sixties. There was an East Asian Level which about half of the display could have been from my grandparents’ house with all the Japanese artifacts. There was even an African Art section. Many of the items (tools, baskets, spiritual nicknacks) on display are still currently in use in areas like Chad. Quite quite interesting.

So I have two more full days before I head back to my little Chadian home that I’ll be packing with walking more of the Freedom Trail as well as visiting Tufts university and stuffing my face with cannoli, Boston cream pie, pizza, and Chipotle.

Enjoy the pictures!

Sculling practice

Quidditch practice

The Harvard Yard

Paul Revere

Cannoli from Maria’s!

Zachary Gately
zchgtly@gmail.com
zgately.com
+235 68920884
+235 91122492

L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boîte Postal
Kelo, Tchad
Africa

Blog: Evacuation (said in a french accent)

A few weekends ago, I couldn’t get the voice of one of my french professors out of my head. Like clockwork, everyday as I’m trying to finish my coffee and dessert from lunch, Silvi would round the cafeteria bellowing, “Evacuation! Evacuation!” Anyone who has spent time at L’institut de Français knows exactly what I mean by this.

Her voice was the voice I heard as I lugged around mattresses, cleared out houses, and moved valuables into storage the weekend of September 12/13, 2015.

Evacuation.

Its such harsh word. It usually involves a permanent disruption of environment. Growing up in the Northern Sierras of California, we had evacuation bags packed in preparation because of forest fires a couple of summers. I guess you could say that after a decade of anticipation my evacuation release finally happened!

But I am not ready to be done in CHAD!

Now, I actually was not evacuated though I am under “evacuation order.” Due to this small terrorist group called Boko Haram and some strongly worded recommendations from the US State Department, Adventist Health International and the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists decided it would be best to evacuated us volunteers and other expatriate employees. I just say everyone didn’t want to stay in Chad without me since I had already planned to take my vacation at this time.

Its odd because no other organisations left nor did any other embassies send out a travel warning as strongly worded as good ol’ Uncle Sam. So I don’t know what the threat is or when it could be resolved. In a country with 120 distinctly different languages, I guess miscommunication is common. Now its the waiting game…

Well, so far I haven’t heard if I’m going back. But I have successfully gained 5 lb a week! haha! If all goes as planned, I should know if I’m going back this upcoming week.

But really, I hope that this is resolved shortly! Or else I’ll end up on the Biggest Loser!

Zachary Gately

zchgtly
zgately.com
+235 91122492+1 (530) 927-7970

L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boîte Postal
Kelo, Tchad
Africa