Photo Credit: @gizinternational
The Black Expat: 'I'm Treated With Dignity And Respect In Qatar'
Qatar-based Black expat Gerry AKA G is a southerner by heart. He grew up mainly in South Carolina, however, coming from a military family, he also spent some time living in Germany and various other locations as a child.
After turning 18, G also joined the military, enlisting in the Army, where he served close to 10 years of dedicated service. Before he knew it, G found himself traveling all over the world. He spent about 65% of his military career in the Middle East, staying in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait for long periods of time.
“After getting out, I decided to become an entrepreneur and work for myself, so I became a realtor,” said G. “About a year later, due to family emergencies, I found myself back in Afghanistan. And then in 2017, I moved to my current home, Qatar.”
G currently works in the IT field, dealing with fiber optics and copper cabling. Outside of his main profession, he works as a videographer, photographer, DJ, and docu-vlogger under his brand G ‘iz’ International. He hopes these things he greatly enjoys will ultimately become full-time and replace his 9-5.
“I would say a docu-vlogger does a mix between vlogging and Discovery Channel type storytelling. I really enjoy creating high-quality Black travel content that dives deep into history, but focuses more on really trying to bring people into these worlds so that they can one day be inspired to check these places out or go where their heart calls them to.”
G relocated to Qatar from the U.S. to live a more comfortable life. He became familiar with the country during his first deployment in Iraq. The Army would offer soldiers two weeks of R&R (rest and recuperation), or they would be allowed to take a few days to sit out in Qatar.
“Not knowing much at the time, I had absolutely no idea where this place was, but I figured it couldn’t be that bad if they were sending people there to rest. So, that was really my introduction to Qatar. I got tired of being in dangerous situations in Afghanistan and Iraq. I wanted something better. I was done sacrificing my mental health and happiness. So, the second I got the chance to come over to Qatar, I snatched it up IMMEDIATELY.”
One of the things G loves the most about the country is how safe it is. Coming from the United States, he is used to constantly having to look over his shoulder and remain hyper-aware due to the color of his skin. As a Black expat in Qatar, G doesn’t feel the need to worry about being treated badly because of his race. In fact, he feels he is treated with dignity and respect.
“I do get a lot of staring eyes sometimes as I’m Black and have locs in my hair and love loud music, but other than that, it’s nothing I can’t deal with. For the people that stare, I just stare back at them, and they eventually get the point, lol. There definitely is a large population of Black expats here and it’s so awesome. It’s not just Americans, but Black folks from all over the world, like the U.K., different parts of Europe, numerous African countries, and elsewhere. Most of us try to seek out one another or attend functions to build connections, a tribe, and a family.”
An extremely diverse country, G finds Qatar to be a melting pot of all kinds of people from all over. In contrast to his experiences in other Middle Eastern countries, he was pleased to find an abundance of clubs, lounges, and a sense of freedom comparable to that of Dubai. He also appreciates that the country is rich in history and, though small, has so much to explore, especially when it comes to off-the-beaten-path locations.
“I love that this country is surrounded by water on three sides. It takes one to two hours to drive to either coast of Qatar and just find an isolated place to relax by the Persian Gulf. As a lover of water, there is nothing like it. Also, the Doha skyline is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. Up until living in Qatar, I had never lived in a place with such a beautiful skyline. When everything is lit up at night, it’s breathtaking, especially when seeing it for the first time. You really just get caught with your jaw open. Trust me, pictures don’t do it justice.”
In terms of amenities and infrastructure, G says those in Qatar are comparable to what he was accustomed to back home in the States. With everything very modernized, he has no problem easily finding everything he needs, from the numerous diverse food options and home comforts, to electronics and transportation such as Uber, taxis, public busses, and the metro.
“In all, it has made the transition here that much easier. I must say, though, one thing that sticks out is the cleanliness of bathrooms here. They make it a point to make sure their restrooms are super clean. And unlike in the U.S., almost every bathroom comes equipped with a bidet. Such a game changer!”
In Qatar, G has been enjoying having relatively easy access and being able to travel to a variety of other nearby countries. He’s been able to experience many European countries and just returned from Greece a few months ago. For his upcoming adventures, he’s eyeing Norway, Oman, and several African countries.
“Norway is full of Viking history and Norse mythology. Outside of that, a return to Africa would be ideal. The Seychelles, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana have all been calling me. I absolutely love the continent. I also wouldn’t mind just exploring more of the Middle East. Oman is a place that’s literally an hour away that I would love to explore and spend some time in their mountainous terrain.”