About zgately

Travel. Run. Eat.

Blog: Coffee is nectar from the gods

Well well well, as we age, apparently routines start to take hold of us. And as we get much older, we try to regulate those routines as much as possible (fiber pills and prune juice anyone?).

Just joking. I’ve never been one for routines, or at least routine routines. Every day of the week is different with the exception of a few things. The first (and currently not happening) is a morning run. Last year I was really good at keeping going. Then all my running partners left one by one and now it’s way to cold (54 the other morning! Yikes!). Second (and currently only routine) is a cup of coffee in the morning. I know and I know, it’s a terrible habit. Caffeine is a drug. I’ll probably get acid reflux at some point. But seriously, as my mother said, it’s like a warm hug in the morning from the inside. Just can’t kick it.

Now maybe if I had fancy koumbachew or açai berries or chia seeds or a bikram yoga studio, I wouldn’t need coffee. But it stimulates my brain in a way that just can’t be replicated. It warms up my engine and keeps it going.

To be exact, it’s Trader Joe’s Organic Fair Trade Five Country Espresso blend or anything from Augies (available in Redlands and Riverside, CA) that works best. It’s like using ultra premium 180 octane fuel (does it even go that high ever?) for a little rinky dinky VW bug. It just rockets off!

Anyway, I’ll just keep sipping away into the New Year and hope my stash keeps my satisfied. *cough cough*

Ps. I started making my bed but already fell of the wagon so I’m back to 1 routine only.

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: Sun, Dirt, and Water

In Chad there are three things that just take their toll on everything: the sun, dirt, and water. It makes for some interesting days when you reaise that these three liltte things can change your everyday ife a the time. These three things wi ruin lmost of what you use or at east make them ess efficient or slowy lwear them down.

Maybe you have noticed, but there seems to be a problem with the “L” key on my lbue tooth keyboarld. lIt wi rlandomlyl not work or randomly start adding unnecessary addllitions. I do happen to be a terribe speller but thanks to auto correct, I can manage. I made the error of not putting my keyboard away after every use and either dust or moisture has infutrated this key stroke. Maybe if shake it enough, something wil happen.

The sun gets our cothes, destroys anything pastic, as we las at times our skin. The rain finds any cracksl and enters. Hummidy clumps sugar and salt together something fierce, also making it difficutl to lmix in my clumpy coffee mate. My pilows have molded. Dirt and dust wil come in. No mater how tightly seaeld a room is, it is awallys lthere. Kim (Whyweshouldgo.blogspot.com) was awalys arlmed and ready with a broom and dust pan.

And yet, it is these three things that often are the best llll, most relalxing part of my weekll: the river! Normalyl every Saturday after church, LI head out and just enjoy the water. Somedays there are fisherman, others there are fulani’s lparading through. Sometimes I need to take la truck lbecause there are so many peope lwho want to go land other days I just llrun there.

Sol even though my lkey isn’t lworking properly, I’l take it, just give me some body of water!

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: 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

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

Blog: whirlwind trips to the capital

Whirlwind trips to the capital are always crazy. I’m preparing to make the only right turn before the left turn on the way down. That’s it. Other than those two points, it’s a straight shot to the middle of nowhere.

Lately, it has really felt like that: nowhere. Our group of missionaries is getting smaller as wives keep getting pregnant, terms finish, or a break is just needed. Good thing I can’t get pregnant, my contract is still a year out, and I just had a break (if you call intensive language school a break). Not only is our expand community shrinking (mostly just temporary) but our internet has been declining. Some how, we have hardly been able to iMessage, email or even get the one new story on Facebook.

It’s been rough. So thank you to those of you who have kept me updated on the U.S. joining the rest of the developing world in health care and social reform.

Tigo is our cellular network provider. I don’t know how or why but they have forgot us. I decide to give the other network a try, Airtel. I felt like I was cheating as cut the sim to put into my iPhone but there really wasn’t another option when I need to send 100 megabytes of data everyday.

Whoosh……whoosh……whoosh! All my emails sent! Now this was in Moundou last week but I had to try it out in Bere…

I can now browse Twitter to at least get the highlights at breakfast.

I can see pictures on Facebook!

I can send small attachments!

I even made a Facebook Messenger phone call!

So with that being said my new number is +235 68920884. iMessage works with that number or my zchgtly @ gmail.com address.

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

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

Blog: all the single ladies!

So if any young women are looking for a relationship filled with adventure, look no further! Here are two nice young gentlemen that are single and ready to mingle! So if you fit their criteria, feel free to give them a call! (Sorry guys, if you are looking for a wife, it’s a much faster process and no application necessary) They sent us letters and photos so please see below for more information!

Mr. Ladjigue Ferdinand
Student
Phone: (+235) 66 84 48 44
1 March 2015

Dr. Hollande,

Hello!

My name is Ladjigue Ferdinand, I was born 7 February 1989 in Béré. I am student in National school of health and social, option: social assistant. I am a native of Béré and I am Christian then single. This year, I am the end of my training.

I would rather to ask you to introduce my friendship request to young American single women or other nationalities (voluntries) came to Adventist hospital of Béré for course.

I speak very well french and Chadian Arabic then my hobbies are: sports, reading, debate, religious music, if my profile interests her, she can send me message and his e-mail address.

I would rather to stop here, I hope to have answer very soon.

Yours faithfully,
Ladjigue Ferdinand

And then there is the this one:

Mr. Assoue Oueitar, teacher
Phone: (+235) 63 43 48 03/ 95 52 45 63

Dr. Hollande,

Hello!

I am very glad to write to you this letter. How are you? And your family then your job? About me, I am very fine by grace of God then all things are fine well.

Through this letter, I would rather to ask you to introduce my friendship request to young American single women or others nationalities (voluntries or course members) came to Adventist hospital of Béré for course.

I am ready to stripe up a good friendship until wedding, if my profile interested her, she can call me his e-mail address. I sent you my picture as line a testimony that I am serious.

I use to come to Adventist church when I was over there. My name is Assoue Oueitar, I am a native of Béré. I am thirty-three (33) years old then I am Christian single. About my study, I obtained National certificate of Education in mathematics-computer from higher school of science exacts and applied of Bongor (Chad) and Diploma in computer-accounting from computer institute (Nigeria) then Certificate in Advanced leadership training institute (Nigeria) at last Certificate in English language from evangelical divine Academy (Nigeria). I speak very well french and English then my hobbies are: sports, journey, religious music, reading, debate, movies theatres.

I shall be glad if you introduce my friendship request to young American single women or others nationalities in your Adventist church of Béré.

I would rather to stop here, I hope to have answer very soon.

Yours faithfully,
Assoue Oueitar

So if you’re interested, feel free to take charge. Ndjamena is lovely this time of year, save for the terrorist attacks and malaria! Looking forward to being at your wedding!

Zachary Gately
zchgtly
zgately.com
+235 91122492

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

Blog: Correction: not the last hot shower

There were many benefits of going to French school: learn more French, hang out along the Mediterranean, eat ice cream everyday, and of course miss out on the April Chadian heat. April is historically the hottest month of the year. May follows but there usually is relief in the form of weekly downpours.

This year, however, has been quite dry (global warming, anyone?) and hotter into the month of May. We’ve had days of 122F or 50C and now have had a whopping 3 rains! None of those were anywhere close to a real storm. They spit a little and teased us all.

These are the times that I would love a cold shower. I thought that I wouldn’t have hot showers but I didn’t have plumbing in my house last hot season. We are “lucky” to be at the end of the water system that is shallowly placed underground, therefore, all day the earth acts as a natural water heater! I couldn’t believe it! It was honestly a hot shower! I really should be careful what I wish for now!

*I wish for a Toyota Hilux*

It is cooling down with the few rains we’ve had but not by much. Charis’s contract has finished and she is onto the next chapter of her life, searching for work and a husband or just a husband that works! It was sad to see her leave but such is life. Here it is always a transition of new friendships and people moving on.

Speaking of new people, if anyone knows a good electrician and/or plumber wanting to take a couple months to volunteer, there is a ticket with their name on it!

The work must go on! Thanks for your continued thoughts and emails and packages and donations to continue what we are doing!

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

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

Blog: Arm Presentation

Blog: Arm Presentation

Nothing ever seems to go as planned here. Not every plan is derailed but most are altered, at least slightly. Sometimes key people don’t show up, other times the day is mixed up, and even other times still babies get in the way. This is s blog about the last so if you’re not a fan of ER or can’t talk about hysterectomies at the dinner table, maybe you should just leave this one out of your reading list.

It started innocently enough. Charis, Naomi, and I were preparing our Lecture Day Three journey to the bush health center in Dalé: 23 km (14.3 miles) of sandy, narrow, bushwhacking trails. For the last two days, we had taken motorcycles (one me, one taxi) but this time we had an additional two visitors who wanted to come. That’s not so easy on motorcycles nor is it cheap with taxis that far into the bush. So we were able to take the truck since no one else has time to even think of leaving the compound.

We hop in, and head off in our nice little AC-ed bubble. We pull up to the mango tree where everything’s been happening and no one is there. Usually there’s at least a few there and then the rest trickle in after 15 minutes or so. We get out and here is someone walking over to us with a concerned look on his face. He greats us all quickly and then continues in a low voice with Naomi. She then says we need to head over to the health center for a complicated birth.

As we pull up, there is a ox cart prepared to head the 23 km to Béré: grass mats and fabric were laid down as the family members were all whimpering and wailing. We quickly asses the situation and see that it is crucial she gets to the hospital. So much for our last day of lecture! Diana, a nurse from Moundou suggests an IV catheter be put in while we have the time to save time later on at the hospital. She assists to get it in and we load her up. As we are moving her into the bed of the truck with her grass mats and fabrics, we all gasp as we see the actual problem: a bloated arm is already out. Its not moving and its blue.

We pile in with her family members and quickly yet carefully head back to Bere. Bumps were taken as smoothly as possible though it was probably less bumpy than that ox cart would have been. We ask her brother about the situation: Not much family, first child, husband isn’t around, lives way out in the bush. Its hard to think that the little Health Center was already big to her.

Now you may wonder why she didn’t come in earlier or call the ambulance? How could they have let this get that far? Well, we are the ambulance now. The district Ambulances are no longer in working order. They tried to call both our hospital and the district hospital on the other side of them but it was to no avail. Either they didn’t pick up or don’t work or there was no cellular service. This village makes Bere look like a huge, happening, city!

We called ahead and our little rag-tag non-clinical ambulance crew got to work as soon as we arrived. Pulled up and got a stretcher. We whisked her and that arm to the OR right away and all that we could do now was pray.

I saw Mason (our anesthesia guy) and Danae (OB/GYN) shortly after the surgery and they just said one word that was visible from their appearance: Blood. It was everywhere. From the windows, to the walls. It covered their scrubs and apparently took quite a bit to clean in comparison to a normal operation. The baby had been dead for hours already. There was no surprise there. The mother however, survived and will still be able to have more children later on.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time! I have true admiration for clinicians who can work under such unpredictable situations. Every day is different here and that’s partially why I love it. And of course all you can do is take it one day at a time anyways! And course, it takes a team to get things done.

Our team is losing one of its members this weekend as Charis, my co-director, heads home. She’s put in a good 1.5 yrs and will continue to voluntarily donate her time (and fast internet) at home. Who really knows though, everyone is hoping she’ll come back in the fall!

Until next time!

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

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

Blog: Last Hot Shower

It’s always exciting to head back to Tchad. So much is involved in return with packing usually the most involved. This time, my suitcase is full of car parts, kitchen items, and sour gummy candy.

I’m trying to decompress from an intense month of trying to speak this crazy language. It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. And of course, being fatigued and having migraines and traveling don’t mix well but such is life. Soon, I’ll be home in my dusty little house.

The hot shower is really the last comfort that makes me realize I’m on my way out. This morning, I was probably the first one up in the entire hostel (of course I’d be the only one up since it’s a Saturday), therefore the hot water was taking forever to get up to the 4th floor. Man oh man, I’ll miss that shower.

Hopefully this flight will give me time to relax and sleep and not dream of french grammar or pronouns. I’ll be hitting the ground running when I get home. I’ve really enjoyed it here and hope to come back with a little more time to play.

I’ll keep you posted what’s up next soon!

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

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