Monthly Archives: November 2014

With GRATITUDE // Love, Somaliland and Chad

It might not be Thanksgiving here in East Africa, but we will gladly seize any opportunity to let you know what we’re thankful for. In the last year, we’ve come up with an extensive and beautiful list of reasons to be thankful and we think it’s best you hear it directly from the source.

Below are some words of gratitude and stories of thankfulness from our brothers and sisters in Chad and Somaliland.

From our corner of the world to yours, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Sahra Ali / 30-years-old / Mother of 3 children / Somaliland

“The work we are doing with World Concern is going well. We have built a large sand dam – we have worked 15 days every month for the last three months.”

“Before World Concern came, we did not have the proper materials to prevent flooding.”

“This work is good because we are benefiting by stopping frequent floods, catching water to be used in the future, and gaining livestock as a payment.”

“Before World Concern built two berkads, we did not have enough water in our village. These berkads provide us enough water. They have also benefited us because some people were paid money to help build them.”

 

Yasin Suleman / 32-years-old / Father of 9 children / Somaliland

 “With the assistance of World Concern, we are working to build half moons and other dams. This will block future floods from harming our village.”“World Concern trained us on how to make these dams and provided us with tools and food.”“We are also building dams where the animals eat, so that the animals will have drinking water and more grass will grow for them to eat.”“In the past, floods would often ruin the things inside people’s homes. This happened many times.”“Even after World Concern leaves, we plan to continue with this work because we have been given many examples and we can already see the benefits.”

 

Saynab Suleman / 35-years-old / Mother of 6 children / Somaliland

“World Concern helped us form a women’s self-help group, which has now become a community. Before this group, we never met together as women. Now we are strong – if someone is sick or needs help, we can assist one another.”“We use this group to help each other and find ways to improve our economy, such as giving out loans to group members upon request. Many use this money to open shops and start other small businesses.”“I plan to take a loan to use to open a small shop. I want to sell things like juice, rice, and sugar. I will then use the money from my shop to pay back the loan and to pay for my children’s health care and food.”“I teach the women in my group Somali language and math. The women can now do basic reading and writing. Because my parents did a good thing for me, by putting me in school, I want to give the other women access to learn.”

“We hope to use this group to develop our community. Women in Cala Caule see our group and see that it is good. There are some women who are considering starting another self-help group.”

 

Mohamed Adam / 40-years-old / Father of 10 children / Somaliland

“Most all households in Cala Caule are farmers. We recently benefited from a World Concern agricultural training. We learned how far apart to plant our seeds, how to use pesticides, and how to deal with germination. We were also given seeds and tools to benefit our farms.”“Because we now know how to space our seeds, our trees have been growing faster. Before the training, this mango tree was growing much slower.” “Before the training, we knew very little about pest control. Now our plants are growing without hindrance. In my farm I’m currently growing cabbage, onion, salad, papaya, mangos, bananas, lemons, and maize.”“In the World Concern Disaster Risk Reduction training, we learned how to prepare for floods – that we must arrange our items in a certain way before we flee. We also learned that during droughts it is good for us to divide our herds into two and sell half of them for money. We built these walls to block future flooding.”

 

Zenaba Adam / 45-years-old / Mother of 7 children / Chad

“Thanks to World Concern’s training, this is our first time to farm together as a community. We take turns on the farm in order to help one another.”“We used to get 10 bags of sorghum in rainy season and 4 in dry season. For this year, I’m hoping it will be much more!”“Though we haven’t harvested yet, I am thanking God for the progress and for what I hope will come.”“I am happy for World Concern’s help and I ask that they continue to assist us.”

 

Mademi Mahamat / 34-years-old / Father of 7 children / Chad

“World Concern has been working with our community to sensitize us about better living.”“They distributed to us horses, carts, and plows.”“We have been able to use these tools to farm and we thank God that it has gone well.”

 

Fatuma Bourma / 35-years-old / Mother of 6 children / Chad

“I no longer fear the Janjaweed (rebel group). Life in Tessou is much better than the camps because we are free to farm.”“Before the World Concern training we had never heard of a tontine (savings) group, but we now see the benefits and plan to continue with the group.” “We are collecting this money to be used for a future common goal. Right now, if a member is in trouble, she can borrow money from the group and then later pay it back. We hope to use our saved money to contribute to purchasing a community mill.”“Now that we have a water pump we can use the water for food, we can wash our clothes, and we can bathe easily. We no longer have to travel to collect water at the local, dirty source.”

 

Tena Hamid / 20-years-old / Chad

“Before we got our new well, we used to walk one hour each way to collect water. Now Tessou is better because we have water.”“Having clean water helps because we can now use it to prepare our food, for drinking, and for washing our clothes.”“People no longer become as sick. If they do become sick, it’s not from the water.”“The community is making bricks to be used for a school and maybe even a health center. If there is a school here, I definitely want to go. I want to be a big woman like you (referring to myself and Rose, our interpreter).”

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Water.
Financial savings.
Community development.
Education.
Flood prevention.
Improved Health.
Economic opportunities. 

WE. ARE. THANKFUL.

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” – Maya Angelou

Villages Transformed: Chad

In July of 2013, I made the trek to the Sila Region of Chad. At the time, my main objective was to document the beginning stages of World Concern’s One Village Transformed projects in 10 different villages. During a period of 3 weeks, I interviewed over 40 individuals and captured more than 4,000 photos. While in the villages, I listened to countless horrific stories of rebel attacks and displacement. I also heard stories of hope, resiliency, and a tangible eagerness to move forward and develop their communities into what they once were… and more.

One year later, in October of 2014, I had the opportunity to return to this scarcely documented and highly fascinating place. As can be rare in my line of work, I was able to reunite with people and communities. And this time I brought photos – frozen moments to serve as evidence of the ‘before’. Each photo tells a story of the major transformations that are taking place in Amkharouba, N’djamena, Harako, Tessou, Karona, Maramara, and Amkereribe villages – the ‘after’ and what is yet to come!

While in Chad, I was surprised to find that I barely recognized any of the villages. This was due in part to the recent rainy season, bringing with it bountiful crops and lush surroundings. It was also due to the fact that these villages are developing! Many now have clean water, schools, and better constructed homes. People look cleaner and are visibly more healthy.

Take a look at the following photos and see if you can see a difference from my photos taken over a year ago. Hopefully, you also don’t recognize these villages.

34-year-old Mademi tends to his improved harvest. “We have been learning about better planting practices and how to transplant seedlings," he shared. // Raibandala Village,, Chad

34-year-old Mademi tends to his improved harvest. “We have been learning about better planting practices and how to transplant seedlings,” he shared. // Raibandala Village, Chad

“After returning from the IDP camps, we had to start a new life, but now it’s going well.”

“After returning from the IDP camps, we had to start a new life, but now it’s going well.”

"I hope to use the money I borrow from my World Concern women's farming group to one day pay for my children's school." - Kouboura Mahamat

“I hope to use the money I borrow from my World Concern women’s farming group to one day pay for my children’s school.” – Kouboura Mahamat

This is hospitality. // Ambarto Village, chad

This is hospitality. // Ambarto Village, Chad

"During the war the rebels came and took all of our belongings. Because we have no clean water, our village is developing very slowly. But, we are thankful for new farming training from World Concern. I farm 6 acres: 2 acres for children, 2 acres for feeding, and 2 for trade." Mahamat Adam // Ko

“During the war the rebels came and took all of our belongings. Because we have no clean water, our village is developing very slowly. But, we are thankful for new farming trainings from World Concern. I farm 6 acres: 2 acres for my children, 2 acres for feeding, and 2 for trade.” Mahamat Adam // Kouraii Bechir Village, Chad

WIth the help of World Concern, Mahamat and his farming group were able to pay for a few horses.

WIth the help of World Concern, Mahamat and his farming group were able to pay for a few horses.

Groundnuts!

Groundnuts!

Kouraii Bechir, Chad

Kouraii Bechir, Chad

Time to let go after a long day in the field. // Ade, Chad

Time to let go a bit after a long day in the field. // Ade, Chad

Life of an aid worker. // Ade office, Chad

Life of an aid worker. // Ade office, Chad

Beautiful Sylvie. // Ade, Chad

Beautiful Sylvie. // Ade, Chad

Home. // Ade office, Chad

Home. // Ade office, Chad

When the solar power runs out... // Ade office, Chad.

When the solar power runs out… // Ade office, Chad.

Yaya and his daughter (one of his nine children). Yaya recently helped build thousands of bricks for the villages first ever school. // Amkereribe, Chad

Yaya and his daughter (one of his nine children). Yaya recently helped build thousands of bricks for the village’s first ever school. // Amkereribe, Chad

WATER! // Amkereribe, Chad

WATER! // Amkereribe, Chad

This group of ladies is preparing to operate Amkereribe's new mill. Not only will this business benefit their families, but it will improve the village as a whole.

This group of ladies is preparing to operate Amkereribe’s new mill. Not only will this business benefit their families, but it will improve the village as a whole.

We meet again! // Miriam Souleman, Amkereribe, Chad

We meet again! // Miriam Souleman, Amkereribe, Chad

Ready for school! // Amkereribe, Chad

Ready for school! // Amkereribe, Chad

Momma lovin'. // Amkharouba, Chad

Momma lovin’. // Amkharouba, Chad

Pumping water from the new well at dusk. // Amkharouba, Chad

Pumping water from the new well at dusk. // Amkharouba, Chad

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Guess which water is from the new well and which is from the wadi?? // Amkharouba, Chad

Guess which water is from the new well and which is from the wadi?? // Amkharouba, Chad

Evening light in Goz Beida, Chad.

Evening light in Goz Beida, Chad.

Harako Village is heading into their second year of school... ever. The community made all of the bricks for this building and the children already speak French!

Harako Village is heading into their second year of school… ever. The community made all of the bricks for this building and the children already speak French!

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Fixing up desks after their first year of wear and tear. School is back in session! // Harako, Chad

Fixing up desks after their first year of wear and tear. School is back in session! // Harako, Chad

Remember my friend Kaltam? Updates: she has another baby and she LOVES photos. // Harako, Chad

Remember my friend Kaltam? Updates: she has another baby and she LOVES photos. // Harako, Chad

Blacksmiths in Harako, Chad.

Blacksmiths in Harako, Chad.

The best interpreter and assistant. Meet: Aime.

The best interpreter and assistant. Meet: Aime.

Welcome to Karona - the village in the hills.

Welcome to Karona – the village in the hills.

Hassanie pumping glorious water from  Karona's first clean water source.

Hassanie pumping glorious water from Karona’s first clean water source.

The journey to gather water. // Karona, Chad

The journey to gather water. // Karona, Chad

The Chadian noonday heat is not a joke. // Karona, Chad

The Chadian noonday heat is not a joke. // Karona, Chad

Fatuma shows us her home that burned in the recent fires. Due to their resiliency, and your assistance, the community of Maramara were quickly able to rebuild what was lost.

Fatuma shows us her home that burned in the recent fires. Due to their resiliency, and your assistance, the community of Maramara was quickly able to rebuild what was lost.

More clean water! // Maramara, Chad

More clean water! // Maramara, Chad

Standing in front of Maramara's FIRST school.

Standing in front of Maramara’s FIRST school.

Meet Rose, another interpreter (and model) extraordinaire.

Meet Rose, another interpreter (and model) extraordinaire.

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These straws are woven together for homes, fences, and more. They are quite practical, but also dangerous due to the region's dry and windy seasons. // Maramara, Chad

These straws are woven together for homes, fences, and more. They are quite practical, but also dangerous due to the region’s dry and windy seasons. // Maramara, Chad

The walk to collect clean water in a village I hardly recognized. // Tessou, Chad

The walk to collect clean water in a village I hardly recognized. // Tessou, Chad

Tessou, Chad.

Tessou, Chad.

Ade Abdallah was not born blind. "Some years ago, I got a very bad headache and then I started to lose my sight. It is not easy to be blind in these circumstances, but I have been able to do things like help make bricks for our future school." // Tessou, Chad

Ade Abdallah was not born blind. “Some years ago, I got a very bad headache and then I started to lose my sight. It is not easy to be blind in these circumstances, but I have been able to do things like help make bricks for our future school.” I told him that his eyes are beautiful and asked to take a photo of them. He agreed. // Tessou, Chad

Rose enjoys a groundnut break. // Tessou, Chad

Rose enjoys a groundnut break. // Tessou, Chad

Tessou, Chad.

Tessou, Chad.

Bountiful Crops in Magical Light

Exhausted from a full day of travel, my colleagues and I piled into the back of our World Concern Land Cruiser. Thankfully, taking the place of Chad’s unforgiving sun, the cool (er) evening air began to breathe across our weary skin, bringing with it refreshment and renewed energy. We were on our way from Ade to visit a small village called Raibandala. As we drove, the tantalizing rhythms of Congolese music seeped out of the car speakers and into our ears while we observed the slanting sunlight generously bathing the rustling cattail grass and the endless fields of sorghum.

The land surrounding our vehicle was lush – a drastic change from the Chad I had seen in July. Apparently the rains had been plenty, the farmers had been working tirelessly, and the soil had returned the favor.

The Sila Region in Eastern Chad consistently suffers from droughts and floods – making life difficult for its many farming inhabitants. Whatever crops are harvested will be eaten, kept in storage, and sold in the local market. So when the rains are good, families have enough to eat. And when the rains are scarce, families struggle to scrape by until the next harvesting season comes around.

Arriving in Raibandala, the staff and I were warmly greeted by 45-year-old Zenaba Adam. Along with the rest of her village, Zenaba had recently received farming tools, seeds, and technique training from World Concern; her face-claiming smile evidence that she was eager to show us her bountiful crops.

“We formed farming groups in order to contribute money to purchase seeds and tools from World Concern,” Zenaba explained. “In the past there hasn’t been much rain, so our farming has suffered. But this year the rains have been good and we have been improving because of our new knowledge, seeds, and tools. Our farms are looking much better.”

Zenaba is in charge of the farming group in Raibandala. By merely observing her confident composure as she toured us through her fields, it wasn’t hard to see why she was selected as the leader.

“This is our first time to farm together as a community,” Zenaba proudly proclaimed. “We take turns to farm in order to help one another.”IMG_9879

Each farming group also operates as a savings group.  After harvest season, the members will put their earned money from their shared farm into one pool.  This money will then be given out to individual members in the form of loans – bolstering each farmer’s ability to improve his or her personal farm and yearly income.

Currently, World Concern is partnering with farmers in over 30 villages in Chad, empowering hundreds of people with the knowledge and tools to bring health to their farms, families, and communities.IMG_9969 IMG_9971 IMG_9985

“Though we haven’t harvested yet, I am already thanking God for the progress and for what I hope will come,” shared Zenaba, glowing in the magic (to any photographer) evening light. “I am happy for World Concern’s help and I ask that they continue to assist us.”