About zgately

Travel. Run. Eat.

Where are you from from? 🌍🌏🌎

Not too long ago, I was the one asking about about heritage and culture and identity to my peers. I was blessed to grow up with parents and grandparents who encourages reading and learning of far off places around the world. I had the good fortune of going to a high school with students from all over the world. It was fun to be apart of international celebrations, try new foods, and learn new words in languages I had only heard on tv or in movies. I enjoyed sharing my own culture with them as well, often having one or two stay with my family over the holidays.

The US is a country of immigrants. The American dream has pulled people from every nation into its borders, some from dire situations where as others simply to have a new experience. Last year when I was back in my mountainous village in Northern California, I searched our family tree for anything interesting to see where I came from. Basically I found out that half of my ancestors immigrated around 1900 and the other half have been here since around 1600. Those who came over first kept pushing the frontier, moving farther west until they stopped in California (no one has moved to Hawaii yet though there is a cousin in Thailand).

Now the question “Where are you from?” can be quite insensitive. It can question ones legality or reasons why one is in said country. In traveling, it’s a common question that has gotten more and more difficult for myself to answer the longer I’ve been out of the US. Wong Fu productions did an excellent skit illustrating that called “Accidental Racism” which makes anyone stop and think about the questions you ask.

I get asked often the question and usually when I say “California” people nod and ask which movie stars live near me. But more recently, it’s been harder to convince people of that. Here in Chad, I get mistaken for French or British. I don’t know how they get french because I still feel that I’m slaughtering the language every time I open my mouth. Last week, it took several minutes to convince someone I wasn’t Spanish. I don’t even speak Spanish. Whatever……

When I was in grad school in SoCal, I took a day trip with friend to Santa Monica. Some cashier asked me, “So where are you from?” And it went like this: Cashier, “Oh hey, so where are you from?”
Me: “I live in the Inland Empire.”
Cashier: “Oh, but where are you from?”
Me: “Uh…NorCal? Like by Lake Tahoe.”
Cashier: “Really? But where were you born?”
Me: “Uh…San Bernardino. But we only lived there for like 8 months.” Cashier: “No but where are you from from? You sound different.” Me: “Weeeelll…..I went to school in Tennessee for a year…so maybe” Cashier: “No that’s not it…”
Me: “Ok then…idk what to tell you.”
Cashier: “hmmmm”
Me: “hmmmmmmm”

It was odd and I didn’t know how else to respond. I told this to a Cuban American friend and she instantly asked, “Doesn’t that just rob you of your childhood?! Like…you grew up in America with Nickelodeon and gusher snacks and stretch Armstrong! What else is there? You are and I am American!” The conversation continued as we had a couple other “2nd and 3rd culture kids” with us.

Then just lately I was at the pool and an American started speaking to me in French and I responded in English and she was shocked. She said she totally didn’t think I was American.

To celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day, I went to a Lebanese restaurant with my Mexican roommate here in N’Djamena and the owner asked if we were Turkish.

When the US embassy came down to visit the hospital in Bere, one of the Chadians mistook me for a half Chadian.

While walking across the hospital with a Sahalian hat on, I had coworkers thinking I was from Libya.

Last year I was helping some of our guys obtain their American visas at the embassy for a conference and the acting consular thought I was Arab Chadian due to my nicely bronzed tone and short hair. (Story time: my dad’s coworker told him to take me back when I was born because she was sure I was switched with a baby of Hispanic decent)

When I was in Egypt earlier this year, it was always a novel to explain that I’m an American living in Chad visiting Cairo. And even harder to explain when I was in Beirut because apparently they don’t have too many Americans tourists.

So where am I from from? My last name is Irish, my first name apparently is an Arabic name, I was born in SoCal, grew up in NorCal, did high school in the PNW and I live in Chad while speaking French and curse in Arabic. And as of late, I’ve been bouncing all over the country enough to wonder where to call home.

So I guess home is wherever my phone charger is….

But no matter what’s going on in America, I’m still American dammit. 🇺🇸

Baby Zakaraya

Libyan Zach

Mountain man Zach

Turkish or French Zach with the roommate Isaac from Mexico

Egyptian Zach

Zachary Gately, MPH
Deputy Director
Adventist Health International-Tchad
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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Doing something is better than nothing!

Since “something is better than nothing” or “done is better than perfect,” I figured I’d update y’all on rainy season. For a large majority of the population of Chad, local and expat, rainy season is the favorite season. But not this guy. It’s always more of a hassle for traveling, way more malaria and other illness, and I can never seem to get my clothes dry. Over all though, it creates a cooler climate and the lush green of the foliage and the dark shades of the clouds create great pictures!

But like I said, traveling is always a bit more complicated in rainy season. Due to dirty water and other stuff getting into the nooks and crannies of my car, I had to replace the clutch kit so we’ll just leave it here in the capital for now. Which means still motorcycles need to be used between Bere and the asphaltes road. The only vehicles that are passing are huge transport trucks that can get through anything. A couple weeks ago, I got stuck in the other truck for 4 hrs one night. Toted fun and all but then after Dr. Bland pulled me out with his winch that wasn’t really working and we got home at 1 am, all I wanted was a crumbly cinnamony dessert like a Costco muffin or coffee cake. But where am I going to find that at 1 am in the bush of Chad? So I settled for a granola bar.

As it has been four years here as of last week, I really should celebrate! But I haven’t found some way to celebrate yet. Maybe tomorrow…Indian? Egyptian? After reflecting on my time here, I realized that I actually accomplished the largest majority of my goals in coming to Chad! Good work experience, amazing family of coworkers, passible French…what else could I ask for in a first job?

But back to rainy season…every year is so different. Here are a few pics showing some of the fun we get ourselves into!

Coming to N’Djamena last week:

Waiting in Bongor

Passion fruit blossoms

Storm blowing in

Bug in the office

Amazing sunsets

Dates at the river

Someone in the bushes

Zachary Gately, MPH
Deputy Director
Adventist Health International-Tchad
zchgtly@gmail.com
zgately.com
+235 68920884
+235 91122492

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

Blog: Well Actually a Vlog

I know I know. I am the least regular person ever. Maybe one day I’ll get into a routine but then life would be boring, yeah? Whatever. So here is the link to my vlog which should be watched before the next blog that goes out even though it’ll probably go out in the next few minutes.

Really, I am terrible with routine. Or now, even sticking to a plan. As life takes its turns and strides, I make my zigs and zags. I have plans A-G currently rolling around in my head and at the same time making the floor plan for my villa in the bush of Chad where I can have a caravan of camels and clowder of cats. But then who would watch them when I find cheap tickets on skyscanner?

Anyways, this will be continued so check back in. In the mean time, watch my late vlog on what has been happening in Bere.

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Blog? What is that?

Mama Mia! It has been so long since I did a blog. I’m going to do what every responsable adult does and blame it on someone else. Well actually I’m blaming it on you since no one called me out on it. So I wash my hands of it and am moving on. Forgive and (never) forget, right? Lol.

Well life has been good into the start of this rainy season. This blog will be accompanied by a vlog that will come out some time this weekend. Finally the transition from hot to hot and humid to just humid is over. Now we are enjoying cooler nights with rain a couple times a week. Mango season is over which means the flies are gone too. As puddles rise, so does the rate of malaria and other parasitic diseases that water seems to be a vector for. Tomorrow we will be wrapping up an albendazole campaign!

One thing that has for sure been a huge hinderance is our current network situation. Not sure what airtel Tchad is doing but it is really playing games with my heart. We get these fleeting moments of connectivity that render us overjoyed with the love from the outside world (or each other) and then we won’t be able to respond. Thank you all who have been so patient in my responses. At first I thought it was just because of being in Bere and I forgot the struggle of the bush life but no, even regular text and calls are coming in hours later.

This caused a bit of a misunderstanding this past Saturday. Our church planned for a baptism and usually we make several trips with multiple cars to take people to the river for the event. Well in the morning I went 18km south to pick up one church group in our Nissan truck as my car is a bit “soft” for the real bush life. I set a limit of 14 people but of course we had closer to 20 including children. We drove back to Bere where I dropped them off at church. Then I went back to my room to wait until church started. I went over at the normal time but apparently everyone had already gone to the river without informing any of the drivers. Oh well. So I went back to wait for the rest of the group to go back the 18 km later. Well Olen took the truck so I had to make due with my car. I told the head elder he couldn’t come with me cuz of space but we packed in the rest of the 18 or so people into my prado. Only one person vomited and my car did amazing through the mud holes. Good on you Toyota! But as we were going down that evening a text came through giving the new program of the day asking if I could drive at 10 am rather than the usual noon. Oh well! What can you do?

With this bad service, I am spending quite a bit more time at people’s houses as well as walking around a ton more since we can’t call or text. It’s hard when you have the attention span of a gold fish and to make the most of your time at people’s house cuz you can’t just keep on “train of thought” texting. Out of this though I’ve gotten some great potato soup and fancy adult tasting egg salad sandwiches from the Netteburg home.

Well please look for the vlog in the next couple of days. I’m going to hopefully get that out. If not, I guess it’s not a big deal.

Cheers!

Zachary Gately, MPH
Deputy Director
Adventist Health International-Tchad
zchgtly@gmail.com
zgately.com
+235 68920884
+235 91122492

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

Blog: 🚗

Wow! All I can say is thank you! I feel so blessed to be able to roll around in a decent car now. One that works. One that has AC (it’s 109F degrees right now). One that has very few miles/kilometers. One that is safe. It’s all because of you guys!

I must do a few shout-outs. First off, thanks to Adventist Health International Global for making sure we followed all the IRS rules and being the final stop for donations. Second, thank you Quincy SDA Church as you funneled the majority (and raised!) of funds. I’m so lucky to have grown up in a church full of such generous, mission minded people. Thank you Grindley SDA Church for offerings during the month of January. Thank you Sierra Family Dentistry (That’s my dad) for having a display in your office.

And of course thank you all who slipped money to me from the first random post of asking to borrow $20. I wish I could write each and everyone of you a thank you note by that might take a while and I don’t have all of your addresses so this will have to suffice.

So what kind of car is it? Well it’s true that we don’t have them in the US. It’s a 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado TX. It’s a diesel and has a manual transmission. When I got it, it had less than 32,000 kilometers or less than 20,000 miles. It has an extra fuel tank so I can go over 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) on one fill up. Interior is in great condition and it seats 8 (though I took out the back seats for more space).

This car is perfect for this post as Deputy Director as it can go and go and go and it’s comfortable enough for the long journeys and in great condition. When my time comes, there’s no question that this car will still be here and working in good condition. It’s a good car and should outlast a couple Deputy Directors.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart! May God bless you in your generosity!

Zachary Gately, MPH
Deputy Director
Adventist Health International-Tchad
zchgtly@gmail.com
zgately.com
+235 68920884
+235 91122492

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

Blog: 🏍💥🚙

Oh traffic. Since I was 14, my longest commute was a whopping 8 minutes on foot. Most of what I need has been within walking distance as well: school, work, grocery store, pharmacy, and even the bank! I also grew up in a town with all of 535 people. I can remember when both stop lights in the large town near by were installed. Traffic is not something that I enjoy.

I’ve been here in N’Djamena since the 18th of January. I run around in a borrowed, two-door, 1994, right hand drive RAV4 which I am very thankful for. Soon (next week or so) I’ll be buying the car that you guys have so faithfully helped me with! Thank you all! But this story isn’t about that car, its about the RAV4.

So I was at one of the supermarkets here. Its my favorite for their sales. We had a couple of people going down to Béré the day after and my fellow missionaries had ordered a few things to be sent down with them: ramen, chocolate, you know, the essentials. Our AHI-Tchad secretary, Fatime, was in the car with me just by chance. We’re backing out and see a motorcycle way back there on the right side so we continue and start to pull forward. The motorcycle is still back there on the right side. I get over to the left side to make a u-turn and he’s still on our right side. I go to make the u-turn and BAM he’s on my left and he clips the front side of the car and goes down. We pull forward, hop out and make sure they are ok. There’s blood but nothing seems to be broken.

At the point we have a crowd and the police come. People started to get a bit crazy but the police man was staying calm as we were trying to work out the details. We called our lawyer but he was at church so we called his wife who sent their son to go get him at church. He happens to be a very influential lawyer, second only to the Minister of Justice. God has blessed us already in that regard.

Another police man shows up and starts to make a report at which point he send the guys to the hospital and asks us to go downtown. We follow him there and end up waiting quite a while. He is upset that we called our lawyer, asking Fatime if she indeed is Chadian. She rolls her eyes and responds, “of course.” We say we just want to finish this up tonight and be done with it.

Once our lawyer shows up, I greet him, “Oh Elder (head elder of our church as well)! Good to see you. I had planned to visit you but not under these circumstances (he’s also my neighbor).” He laughs, “Zachy, don’t worry. God knew we would meet tonight.” Believe me, it’s a very different way of talking here. You may have not gone to church for years but you would still talk like this. He goes on to explain who we are, where we work, what neighborhood we live in, etc. Through all this he fails to mention what his job is exactly. He goes on to say that we are always there if he needs to contact us and we are easy to find. The policeman still thinks he has the upper hand and lets him continue. Our lawyer slowly works up to the fact that he is quite powerful offers his work card at which point the policeman realizes that we weren’t messing around when we said we wanted everything to be above board. We leave it at that agreeing to reconvene in the morning with an honest mechanic to asses the damages.

So insurance doesn’t cover squat here so I knew I’d have to pay something. I was running low on cash anyways so I had to stop by an ATM. Dropped Fatime off and went search. The first three were out of order so I called a friend to see if there were any more ATMs in the area. When I told him the story, he asked me to pick him up on the way to the next closest ATM so he could hear it in person. I retell it and then we go to the ATM.

The ATM was doing just fine until it glitched suddenly and said it had to retain my card! At this point my friend is just laughing at my misery. I call my bank, go through a crazy amount of security since I don’t have my card and they say they are sending me a new one via DHL! I love you, Charles Schwab! Thank you Garret McLarty, Ramit Sethi, and Scott Gardner for recommending Charles Schwab.

So in the morning I borrow some money to get by and we go and we wait. And wait. For nearly 2 hrs we waited. Finally, we say when they are ready, they can call us. Nine minutes after leaving they call us. We get back and they inspect the motorcycle, bring the receipts for the hospital bill, and an estimate for his phone. Total came out to be $50. Not bad but they said if there was anything else they would be able to call. Fatime wanted to leave it at that but I was insistent that I didn’t want them to legally be able to call me again. I know the “if you give a mouse a cookie” routine. They obviously had an agenda and wanted a total of about $85. I was fine with that and asked where I could sign!

As we are leaving, the policeman then turns to them asking were is the driver’s drivers license! He said because the case came to the police office, it was a fine equaling half of the $85! Ouch! I felt bad for him but that’s why we try and operated within the law. I am a foreigner in this land and need to follow the regulations. I did my part!

Anyways, in the end, the lesson is that we must remain calm, fair and know our rights. When we operate within the law, even if it’s a longer path, it sets a precedent. Not trying to get political here but something has to be done. So do whatever you can where ever you are to preserve the rights of those around you and those less fortunate. Remember that we’ve been tasked to be kind and caring and speak out about the injustices as well as act. So do what you can where you are.

Ok I’m getting off my soap box, and if you’ve read this far, wow, that’s some dedication! Hopefully there’ll be a vlog about life in NDJ soon. Later!

Zachary Gately, MPH
Deputy Director
Adventist Health International – Tchad
zchgtly
zgately.com
+235 68920884
L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boîte Postal
Kelo, Tchad
Africa

Blog: it’s my birthday 🎉 💵📩🚙

It’s birthday! I’m about to leave the mid twenties to the late twenties. But I think that’s more for next year. 27 is still mid twenties right?

So what happens on a birthday in Chad? Well for a normal birthday, not too much. Seems like about 60% of the population are registered as born on January 1 so New Years takes the cake that day. At the nutrition center we really have to work to get an approximate age for the kids. We ask what was happening when the kid was born? Was it raining? Was there rice? Were there mangoes? That’s usually accurate to about 3 months.

But I was born in a hospital as a premature little runt, just ready to get out and about at 4:10 am in San Bernardino on January 23rd. Some time around age 12 I started waking everyone up at 4:10 to let them know it was my birthday. Since that birthday when I set all the alarms in the house to go off simultaneously, my mom has been trying to get me back and every year it hasn’t worked. But this year she succeeded. Thanks Ma for me!

Other than that, it’s been a normal day. Work. Browse for cars. Speaking of which, we broke $10,000! Thanks guys! So instead of birthday gives, send cash or check to the previously mentioned places and we’ll reach the goal of $15,000! Yay!

Questions? Just email!

Zachary Gately, MPH
Deputy Director
Adventist Health International-Tchad
zchgtly@gmail.com
zgately.com
+235 68920884
+235 91122492

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