One year ago today, I left Chad with the possibility of not returning. An evacuation order was sent in response to an updated travel warning from the US State Department resulting in 7 days to leave the country. I already had my ticket as I had planned to go home anyways for my annual leave. It was tough for many people. Our Chadian community thought we were abandoning them, some missionaries pulled out completely, others were rerouted to other mission sites, and it created a lot of unnecessary hassle. At that point, the threat of Boko Haram had diminished significantly, without so much as a peep for a couple months. We were all en guard, in limbo, and unsure of the future! Thankfully, the evacuation ban was lifted after 5 weeks!
But now, there still aren’t many peeps or disturbances. Chad’s military is know to be the best in bush warfare and have done a great job and working with the surrounding governments to rid the region of Boko Haram. In fact, when a volunteer asked if they could go visit Lake Chad (the hot zone for Boko Haram) I said she couldn’t because of Boko Haram.
She replied, “beaucoup de quoi?”
“No, no, no…BO KO Haram.”
Again, “what is haram? Why is there a lot of Haram?”
“The terrorist group, from Nigeria, that works with ISIS, that kidnapped 200 girls and a catholic priest?”
“Ooohhhhh. Got it. Yeah, I haven’t heard much about them recently.”
So it’s not so much a concern anymore as you can see. But just this week the US Department of State updated their WorldWide Caution. It talked of how one must stay vigilant and aware and that anytime anywhere anyone could be a victim. We can see that we must exercise caution wherever we travel and in whatever we do.
So that means that it’s better to die out and about than dying at home. So get that passport renewed and get on out there! Specifically surgeons and dentists and surgery sub-specialists and electricians and plumbers. We need you to get your passports and get out here to Chad!
Of course not everyone can do that so you could always lend a helping check for a car or a surgery or other necessary things in our growing institutions.
Anyways, it’s great to have been back and not have the threat of terrorism. I love what I do and am looking forward to the advancement of each institution here as they grow little by little everyday. And seriously…we need surgeons, surgery sub-specialists, plumbers, dentists, and electricians!
As well as I’m still trying to get a car…..
Zachary Gately, MPH
L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boîte Postal