3 1/2 weeks.
10 villages. Over 35 interviews. 7 airplanes. A large variety of beds.
15 Cokes. 3 Coke-car-explosions (inevitable). 2 head-scarfs.
2 times getting the Land Rover stuck – once in a wadi & once in mud. 25 cups of hot tea. 1,596.97 moments of wishing I spoke French. 42 herds of camels.
Countless painful stories. Countless stories of resilience and hope.
1 fantastic team of colleagues.
Over 4,000 photos.
The following photos are mere highlights of my time spent visiting World Concern’s projects in the Sila Region of Chad. I’m fairly certain I could write over 30 blog posts based on everything and everyone that I saw, heard, met, and experienced. But, for now, I give you photos. [Okay, let’s be honest, I probably won’t be able to restrain myself from sharing more stories from Chad in the following weeks.] If you haven’t caught my last two posts on Chad, make sure to check them out here and here.
Achta has eight children – two of which are twin boys that she gave birth to just three days before I met her – Hassan and Hissein. Her twins were born two days apart, “I was in so much pain that I did not know who I was.” When I met Achta, she was still recovering from a difficult, at-home birth (the nearest hospital is over three hours away by foot) and was scarcely unable to walk outside of her compound. Her husband is too old to work and her children have either moved from the village or are too young to assist with the farming. Despite the joy of new life (I’ve never held a more precious, perfectly petite child in my life), Achta was clearly distraught. Thankfully her community has been able to look out for her to the point that she has the minimal water and food to survive (a few days later, I came back to visit Achta she told me she was not producing enough milk to feed her two boys). // Harako, Chad.
Achta and Hassan. A Chadian lullaby. // Harako, Chad.
“We are very good farmers, but we really need a hospital. The women now get in trouble for birthing at home, but the nearest hospital is too far.” – Mariam Ahamat with her grand-babies // Abeche, Chad.
“We only have one water source and we are many in population. We used to get food, but we no longer grow millet like before. It’s too hard to see your children hungry. It really affects you.” – Mariam
Family Business. World Concern carpentry trainees, Ibraham Rajab and his brother. Currently running the only carpentry business in their entire refugee camp. // Jabal Refugee Camp, Goz Beida, Chad.
Ibraham. 23-year-old business man, father, and Sudanese refugee – owner of the only carpentry business in Jabal. // Goz Beida, Chad.
“We had to leave Sudan because my people were being attacked…all is well at the camp, but we have no education. I will invest in my carpentry when I return home.” – Ibraham
Resting in the heat of the day. It’s cultivation season. // Amkrereribe, Chad.
This is Achta – wife to Yaya and mother of seven precious children. Achta is a returnee – meaning that she was forced to flee to Gassire (an IDP camp about a day’s walk away) when the Janjaweed attacked her village, “When the men came back to pray and bury the dead, the Janjaweed returned and killed eight more people.” Achta recently returned to Amkrereribe with her family and has been spending her days cultivating the land – praying that the rains will come and their harvest will be bountiful. // Amkrereribe, Chad
Like Achta, the residents of Amkrereribe have been living in IDP camps for the last five years. “When the Janjaweed came, it was evening and we were all at home. We tried to hide and watched them take all of our goods and burn all of our property. There was nothing that we could do. We had to just watch…We are no longer afraid. We trust God.” – Yaya Harun // Amkrereribe, Chad.
“Even if life is hard here, there is nothing we can do. At least we can farm and live on our land.” // Amkrereribe, Chad.
Mariam Souleiman. Daughter of the village chief. // Amkrereribe, Chad.
Halime is 25 years old and has eight children. “The Janjaweed people came eight years ago. I had gone to wash my clothes in the wadi all day. When I returned in the evening I was very tired. This is when they came. They put fire on everything…We just returned with some food we were given in the IDP camp. This food has now finished and we are waiting for our crops to grow. I also cut firewood in the bush and sell it in the market to get money to buy food.” // Amkrereribe, Chad.
“Our biggest need is that we don’t have any food. But our people are very good farmers – this is our strength. We can grow potatoes and tomatoes very well…In time, Amkrereribe will become a very big and nice place.” – Halime // Amkrereribe, Chad.
“Our biggest need is clean water. There is no clean water to drink and we are too tired from farming to boil our water.” – Yaya
“It is a lot of work to get water. We have to dig deep into the ground and drop a rubber bucket down with a rope.” – Halime // Amkrereribe, Chad
“In the morning I go on my donkey for one hour to collect water. This water is dirty because it is also where the cows drink. Even me, I sometimes get sick from the water. After collecting water, I come back to help my mother in the farm. I’ve never been to school but I want to go one day. I learned to read and write in the IDP camp, but I have forgotten most of it since moving back to our village.” – Mariam // Amkrereribe, Chad.
Joining the locals and taking a break during the heat of the day. We laughed a lot (meaning mostly they laughed at me). // Amkrereribe, Chad
Farm life. // N’djamena Village, Chad.
Three months ago, Abdullahi returned to his home village with his two sons. They plan to rebuild their homes, all seven were destroyed by the Janjaweed, and farm in order to prepare a comfortable life for the rest of the family. “Let my two wives stay in the camp until I have food to feed all of my children.” // N’djamena Village, Chad.
A dried up wadi. // N’djamena Village, Chad.
Abdullahi and his son. “When the Janjaweed came, I took my children one by one to hide in the bush. We were all safe.” // N’djamena Village, Chad.
N’djamena Village, Chad.
World Concern staff meets with the local village leaders. // N’djamena Village, Chad.
Generously provided snacks. Water and dried mangos. // N’djamena Village, Chad.
The beautiful Achta Mahamat. I’ve yet to meet a stronger woman. At 50-years-old, Achta has survived losing her entire home to the Janjaweed and four children to preventable diseases. “We don’t have a hospital here. It is too hard for a mother to see your children dying. I don’t know if it was the water or the flies that were giving them sickness.” // N’djamena Village, Chad.
N’djamena Village, Chad.
“In Gassire, people were not giving us foods. Even if it is not safe here, we would rather farm our own lands.” – Achta // N’djamena, Chad.
“When we had to flee our village, we ran to three villages asking them to help us. All three sent us away. Finally we ended up in Gassire camp, where we lived for six years…Our village population is now half of what it once was. I will send my children to Goz Beida to go to school (a two-day donkey ride away). Even if I am alone, I would rather they go to school.” – Achta // N’djamena Village, Chad [BTW, I am now the very proud owner of this bowl – it reminds me of Achta and her courage every time I eat fruit :D.]
N’djamena Village, Chad.
This is school to 200 hundred students. // Rigildouth, Chad.
19-year-old Abdelkarim plans to study to be a teacher. And he wouldn’t mind teaching in a permanent school structure. // Rigildouth, Chad.
Introducing the vibrant, intelligent, gifted, and passionate World Concern Chad staff. These people can work. And, my goodness, do our beneficiaries love them. // Goz Beida, Chad
Groundnuts a plenty. // Karona, Chad.
Meet Fatime. The best interpreter, translator, tri-pod balancer, and Chadian sister in all the land.
Cell phone charging. Innovation at its finest. // Tessou, Chad.
Fizanian and her adopted granddaughter. // Karona, Chad.
“We spend six hours a day gathering water.” // Karona, Chad.
Age is clearly beauty. // Karona, Chad.
Buddies stand outside their new school (built by the community!). // Harako, Chad.
In rural villages, most children’s only source of education is Koranic school. // Tessou, Chad.
Market spices. // Goz Beida, Chad.
And then there were birds. // Tessou, Chad.
I would like to say I will have the strength to farm at this age. // Rigildouth, Chad.
Donkey venturing. // N’djamena Village, Chad.
Cultivation season. // N’djamena Village, Chad.
Had to climb a bit for this one. Views from above. // Karona, Chad.
Living space. // Karona, Chad.
This is Mahamat Abakar. He is a joyful man and a hard worker. “If there is no food, I take animals to sell at the market. If there are no animals, I will go work for a neighbor so that I can feed my children.” // Harako, Chad.
Sibling fascination. // Abeche, Chad.
A family affair (and these are not even all of Seir Ahamat’s children – he has 20!). // Abeche, Chad.
I spy….// Amkharouba, Chad.
Making it look easy. // Amkharouba, Chad.
I love feet.
Views through the car window. Speckled mud. // Tessou, Chad.
Stunner. // Amkharouba, Chad
Community gathering. // Amkharouba, Chad.
Getting a village tour. // Amkharouba, Chad.
Water gathering. // Harako, Chad.
Blacksmith modeling. // Harako, Chad.
Jonas is the best host. // WC Compound, N’Djamena, Chad.
Fatouma displays the art of sifting and drying. // Maramara, Chad.
Nourishment. // Jabal Refugee Camp, Goz Beida, Chad.
New life. // Amkharouba, Chad.
Perspective. // Amkharouba, Chad.
We love water! // Harako, Chad.
Harako Home // Chad
Girl got attitude. // Harako, Chad.
The strength of a woman. // Tessou, Chad.
Hands. // Harako, Chad.
Babes. // Amkharouba, Chad.
Posin’. // Amkrereribe, Chad.
That grin…seriously?! // Amkharouba, Chad.
Youssif. // Rigildouth, Chad.
This girl put up with me for 3 weeks straight. Fatime, I owe ya a Coke barit. // Amkharouba, Chad.
Visits with the chief. // Maramara, Chad.
Hut Life. // Karona, Chad.
NEVER underestimate the wisdom of a World Concern driver.
It was bound to happen. // Amkrereribe, Chad.
Entire village effort. Not an exaggeration. // Amkrereribe, Chad.
N’Djamena from the roof. Playing spy. // Chad.
Just a taste of how much our staff loves those we work with. // Amkharouba, Chad
I told you she’s the best.
Thanks for coming! <3, Kelly