Tag Archives: Chad

Renewal in the Unrecognizable. // Tessou, Chad

I can’t honestly claim that I’ve ever been displaced. I’ve never been forced to leave my home, nor have I experienced the assumed feelings that are correlated with returning to a place that was once familiar, only to find that that place has transformed into something utterly unrecognizable.

To the most minor degree my recent return to Tessou, a small village tucked within the foothills of Eastern Chad, simulated these feelings of displacement, this sense of disorientation.  And the craziest thing is that these feelings came after I’d only been to Tessou ONCE before, for only ONE DAY.

The Tessou I saw one year ago.

The Tessou I saw one year ago.

In 2004, the Janjaweed (a horribly violent rebel group) attacked Tessou, forcing its residents to flee – leaving all possessions, and even some family members, behind. For years afterward the people of Tessou resided in neighboring villages and, primarily, Gassire Internally Displaced Persons camp.

Talk about displacement.

Weary and fed up with living off of someone else’s land, where they were unable to farm or provide for themselves, the community members slowly started returning to their home. But they came back to Tessou only to find it completely deserted and charred – all homes had been burned, livestock stolen, and possessions demolished.

Tessou one year ago.

Tessou one year ago.

But to the people of Tessou, no matter its ravaged appearance, the land remained their home. And in this once familiar, now unrecognizable village, it was time to begin anew.

I arrived in Tessou in July of 2013 to find a small number of dilapidated huts haphazardly situated on, what appeared to be, a massive dirt compound. Within the compound was a single tree – the only remaining evidence of a once populated and lively village. Everything I saw was brown – from the ground to the huts to the dirt covering people’s bodies. Because the nearest water source was an hour walk away, cleanliness was a low priority.

Last month I once again found myself  sitting in a World Concern vehicle, bumping along the road from Goz Beida to Tessou. I was anxious to return. Stories of had been circulating about the community’s transformations, but I had yet to see them for myself.

As our car pulled up to a village so densely surrounded in sorghum, trees, and maize, I figured we must be lost. This was not the Tessou I knew. Why were there so many homes? Where was the group of men and women sitting under the single tree? Why was everything so…green?

I did not recognize Tessou one bit. I felt disoriented. But this time it was for the best of reasons.

In the last year, partnering with World Concern’s One Village Transformed program, the people of Tessou have rebuilt their village from the ground up. In fact, they have far surpassed their state of development prior to the Janjaweed attacks!

Tena drinks from Tessou’s first clean water pump.

Firstly, Tessou now has clean and accessible water. This is huge.

“Before we got our new well, we used to walk one hour each way to collect water,” shared 20-year-old Tena. “But now Tessou is better. We have clean water that we can use for preparing our food, drinking, bathing, and for washing our clothes.”

According to Tena, people no longer get sick from drinking water, “If they get sick, it is caused by something else.”

“Now that we have a water pump we can use the water for food, we can wash our clothes, and we can bathe easily,” 35-year-old Fatuma said. “We no longer have to travel to collect water at the local, dirty source.”

In addition to improving overall community health, having access to clean water has allowed the people of Tessou to efficiently build thousands of bricks.

“We are working on making bricks to be used for a school and maybe even a health center,” Tena explained.  “If there is a school here, I want to go. I want to be a big woman like you.”

And then there are the agricultural improvements – since moving back to the village, many people have returned to farming. And because they now have accessible water, their farms are flourishing. And because their farms are flourishing, World Concern is partnering with the farmers to develop their skills even further.

One more thing – Tessou is now home to organized savings groups.

“I am the president of our community savings group,” shared Fatuma. “Each woman involved contributes money. Together we have bought some bags of seeds and have even hired people to cultivate our seeds.”

As a gathering of 25 women, Fatuma’s savings group hopes to save enough money to contribute to purchasing a community mill. The group also serves as a distributor of loans, “If a member is in trouble or wants to start a small business, she can borrow money from the group and pay it back later.“

Both Tena and Fatuma’s testimonies are two prime examples of the transformations that are possible when a community is empowered and willing to develop themselves. The unrecognizable Tessou that I recently experienced is so full energy and motivation that it is palpable – these people are ready to improve their way of life. And, most importantly, they are elated to be the hands and feet facilitating their own transformations.

Fatouma (in green) stands proudly next to some of the members in her savings group.

 

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.”

We Are Connected

“And the real name of our connection to this everywhere different and differently named earth is “work.” We are connected by work even to the places where we don’t work, for all places are connected…”        – Wendell Berry

If you happen to have read two or three of my blog posts and newsletters, you may have picked up on my frequent Wendell Berry name-drops. Basically, I think he’s the bee’s knees.   [While writing this post, I discovered that he and I share a birthday…all the more reason to like the man.]

An outspoken poet, author, and activist, Berry inspires and challenges humanity’s response to environmental and social justice issues. He is most infamous for his stances on environmental degradation and the importance of community.

In the polluted, expansive, and bustling city that is Nairobi, it is more often than not that I feel disconnected from nature and the land. Yet, removed from side-walks, exhaust fumes, and sky-scrapers, it is obvious that every surrounding detail is intertwined: Cows graze on freshly sprouted grass from recent rains; people collect water from deep wells and water-pans filled by these same rains, using it to hydrate themselves and boil their tea; trees are cut down in copious quantities and made into balls of charcoal, later used to boil the collected water for that same tea.

Navigating my way through Nairobi, I often wonder, “There must be a balance, some way for us to feel connected to the earth, no matter our surroundings.”

If, as stated by Berry, “all places are connected,” shouldn’t humanity be compelled to be good stewards of every inhabited place?

The following photo essay tells the story of land – it’s integral role and unmistakable connection to the people and places in which World Concern works.

The pictures and quotes serve as reminders that stewardship and care of land is not optional, for in giving to the land we humble ourselves to the one who created it all.

“Good work is always modestly scaled, for it cannot ignore either the nature of individual places or the differences between places, and it always involves a sort of religious humility, for not everything is known.” “…the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.” “Good work can be defined only in particularity, for it must be defined a little differently for every one of the places and every one of the workers on the earth.”IMG_8887

“…it is clear by now that we cannot exempt one place from our ruin of another. The name of our proper connection to the earth is “good work,” for good work involves much giving of honor. It honors the source of its materials; it honors the place where it is done; it honors the art by which it is done; it honors the thing that it makes and the user of the made thing.”

World Concern: Going To The End Of The Road And Staying There. // Part II

The following is Part II in a two-part series (you can read Part I here).

The series was written in response to the following questions:
     1. What makes World Concern different than other development organizations?
     2. Is being a faith-based organization (FBO) more of a challenge or a strength?

My hope is that you find this both informative and thought provoking. I’d love to hear your responses/questions! (It’s best to share these via commenting below or emailing me at kellyr@worldconcern.org)

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World Concern staff meets with village elders. // Abeche, Chad.

World Concern staff meets with village elders. // Abeche, Chad.

How do the FBO’s do it?

From what I’ve seen, World Concern’s Christian basis is the glue that seals together their long-term development vision.

Being a FBO is both a bonus and a challenge. “I think every organization has something about them that wins some and loses some,” says Chris Sheach, World Concern’s Deputy Director of Disaster Response.

For example, due to their faith-based stance, World Concern has been denied multiple large grants (hence the restricted budget), losing a lot of potential funds. However, their faith based status means that World Concern has been able to build deep, lasting partnerships with churches in the U.S. and a variety of other faith-based groups around the world – establishing lasting relationships and consistent private giving (for example see One Village Transformed).

Along these lines, World Concern has faced, and continues to face, issues with security. Working in locations such as Chad, South Sudan and Somalia, they have dealt with a variety of faith-based tensions and threats. In some cases, religion gives reason for being labeled a potential target.

World Concern beneficiaries in Chad, where over 50% of the population is Muslim.

World Concern beneficiaries in Chad, where over 50% of the population is Muslim.

On the other hand, World Concern is inclusive and open to hiring staff from other faith backgrounds. Still, nationals in the areas where they work are aware that World Concern is Christian based.

According to Sheach, “In terms of how we deliver, I don’t think being faith-based should have much to do with it – we should deliver in the best (professional) way possible, to the people that are the most in need of delivery. Perhaps one of the problems with an FBO is that different people have different interpretations of how faith intersects with the process of serving. This doesn’t happen in World Concern.”

“The best thing about working for a FBO is that when I am with beneficiaries, most none of whom are atheist, and whose world views MUST encompass spirituality as a fundamental part of living and daily survival, I already have a bond that allows us to relate,” shares Jane Gunningham, World Concern’s Regional Advisor for Innovation.

Having recently returned to Nairobi from a four month stint in South Sudan, Gunningham continues, “I am not driven by policy to ignore this aspect of reality: in fact, I am allowed to talk about how faith, divine principles and the ultimate nature of existence reside in how we understand and relate to the spiritual underpinning of life. It allows me to recognize how seriously the beneficiaries take their spiritual beliefs, without thinking of them as backwards or superstitious.”

While balancing their values, appealing to the donor, and remaining consistently committed to work that is raw, messy, and long-term, World Concern is trying to live out what they believe in doing – going to the end of the road, staying at the end of the road, and doing it all with a strong sense of purpose.

Village meeting with World Concern. // Tessou, Chad.

Village meeting with World Concern. // Tessou, Chad.

Is there a formula for successfully fundraising for long-term projects while maintaining a sex appeal; a way to educate the donor mindset – replacing the desired instant gratification from development with long-term change? To be honest, World Concern is still searching. (If you have one, find my contact info below.)

And the ever-morphing future for development work can only tell.

So here’s to continuing down that un-sexy, not-so-profitable, life transforming road.

To learn more about World Concern’s One Village Transformed, click here

 

Lafayas in Amkharouba // Salouakatteer

Pulling up to Amkharouba village, our first stop of the day, I hang back in the Land Rover while my colleagues pile out to greet our eager hosts. Sitting on my lap is a beautifully geometric patterned lafaya, a traditional Chadian wrap borrowed from a colleague who worked in the area for an extended period of time.

The lovely women of Amkharouba wrap me in a lafaya, otherwise known as a Kelly burrito.

The lovely women of Amkharouba wrap me in a lafaya, otherwise known as a Kelly burrito.

Glued to, and sweating in, my seat, I stare at the large piece of fabric – bewildered as to how I will be able to perform my normal photographer duties while wrapped head to toe like a human burrito in the Sahel.

Reluctantly making my way out of the car, I’m immediately surrounded by a group of curious onlookers. Noticing the lafaya gripped in my sweaty palms, they grab the fabric and proceed to give me a Sila Region makeover.

Despite the women’s lafaya wrapping expertise, it was just as uncomfortable I imagined. Let’s just say that though I may have looked like a local (okay, as much as a white woman could), I sure didn’t walk like one. Throughout the afternoon, tripping became a normalcy.

Okay. I'll cut myself a little slack on my tripping quota.

Okay. I’ll cut myself a little slack on my tripping quota.

Fortunately, I was not the one in front of the camera – and the people of Amkharouba seemed to deeply appreciate my willingness to dress as they do.

And as clichéd as it may sound, my day as a Chadian burrito became noticeably less uncomfortable as I sat and listened to the community’s daily discomforts. I was trying to restrain from ripping off my lafaya for a single afternoon; the women of Amkharouba rock their lafayas all day every day all the while dealing with significant discomforts.

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// Saloukatteer //

“I’m hoping that one day we can get water and a school and food to eat every day.”

Brushing back her neon yellow lafaya, Salouakatteer solemnly describes life in Amkharouba, a village in the rural Sila Region of Eastern Chad.

Located close to one and a half hours from the nearest water source – both the land and the people of Amkharouba are dehydrated.

Describing her daily activities, Salouakatteer explains that “the water we are getting is very far from here”.

Often, she spends the majority of her morning on donkey back traveling to and from the water collection site – an old well.

“I go every day, unless sometimes my brother or sisters go instead. The water we are getting is not clean,” Salouakatteer tells me.

Though unsure of her age, Salouakatteer appears to be around ten years old. No matter, she is old enough to know that people in her village are dying from hunger and a lack of clean, accessible drinking water.

Referring to her six siblings Salouakatteer says, “We eat one to two times a day. Yes, we are hungry everyday – sometimes we even cry.”  She solemnly recalls a few people in Amkharouba who have died from such causes.

World Concern staff meets with the Amkharouba under a tree.

World Concern staff and the Amkharouba community meet under a tree.

World Concern recently partnered with the people of Amkharouba through an incredible program called One Village Transformed.

Thanks to private donors who have committed to three years of support, the people of Amkharouba are working alongside World Concern to establish what many of us would consider as basics: accessible clean water, agricultural empowerment, hygiene awareness, and education.

Though Salouakatteer’s childhood may have been cut short by her surrounding environment, she is clearly still a child at heart.

“School is far from here so no one attends. But I want to learn about what kids learn about in school.”

Just the mention of education reveals a bashful grin on Salouakatteer’s previously stoic face.

“I’m hoping that one day we can get water and a school and food to eat every day.”

** If you are interested in participating in World Concern’s One Village Transformed program (seriously, this is an amazing opportunity), check out this link.
***Over the next few weeks I plan to frequently update the blog with beneficiary stories from all over East Africa. Tune in to read more about World Concern’s work. Use this blog as a medium for connecting to a people, place, and story that is not frequently talked about in the standard news.

 

Issaka of N’djamena Village // Old Enough to Know

News flash: I’m not perfect.

Shocking, right?

This means that after a long day in the field (meaning the rural locations where World Concern works), I tend to grow grumpy, exhausted, and impatient. And as hard as I work to suppress such feelings, some days the heat is just too much, my stomach is just too grumbly, and all I want to do is sit by myself in the corner of a dark cool room with a glass of iced tea.

Though I don’t often vocalize these selfish thoughts (as I am now), there are days when I find them running through my head in a broken record-like fashion. And as silly as I know they are, particularly because in a matter of hours I will have water in hand, food in my belly, and a pillow under my head, they can persist like a trick birthday candle, impossible to snuff.

The World Concern Chad staff and myself had been out in the field since 7 am. The time was nearing 4 pm. We hadn’t eaten since breakfast, drank only a few sips of water, and were sore and sweaty from the ever-jostling journey.

It was one of those trick birthday candle kind of days. I was beyond ready to hop in the car and chug my long-awaited water when I was hesitantly greeted by a reserved boy named Issaka. That trick birthday candle of mine was quickly was snuffed.

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Wearing a tattered yellow shirt, Issaka stands on luscious bright green grass in front of a sparkling wadi (a natural water basin that fills only during the rainy season); the challenges of life in N’djamena are easily masked by its vibrant environment.

Issaka. // N'djamena Village, Chad.

Issaka. // N’djamena Village, Chad.

Though ten years of age is an educated guess, Issaka is old enough to know, but young enough to have forgotten, about the horrific Janjaweed attack that occurred in his village over seven years ago.

Sieging and destroying many nearby villages, this local militant group destroyed both life and property in N’djamena, a small community in the Sila Region of Chad.

With no option but to flee for their lives, the Janjaweed forced most of the people of N’djamena to run to an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Gassire, a town about an eight-hour foot journey away.

“We came back to N’djamena to farm because we were unable to do in the camps,” explains a shy Issaka.

In 2011, after years living in the camp, Issaka, his mother, and his remaining siblings returned with many others their home village. Unfortunately, out of his ten siblings, only five are still living.

“Five of my siblings died. Now we remain four boys and one girl,” Issaka quietly shares, looking over at his friends. “Some of them died from stomach pain. The others we don’t know why.”

One of Issaka's friends in the village.

One of Issaka’s friends in the village.

In addition to dealing with the difficulties of re-building their destroyed village and restoring what was once a place of safety, the people of N’djamena have never had a clean water source – let alone any sort of infrastructure, for that matter.

“I was feeling bad when I was seeing my brothers dying. Maybe it was because of the dirty water.”

Since returning to N’djamena, Issaka spends most of his days grinding millet, fetching drinking water, and assisting his mother on the farm.

“I went to school in Gassire,” says Issaka. “But there is no school here. I want to go back to school.”

N'djamena's wadi. The local water source that is only full after rains and is never clean.

N’djamena’s wadi. The local water source that is only full after rains and is never clean.

Next to clean water, most of N’djamena’s residents would agree that education is the community’s priority need.

World Concern recently partnered with the people of N’djamena through an incredible program called One Village Transformed.

Thanks to private donors who have committed to three years of support, the people of N’djamena are working alongside World Concern to establish what many of us would consider as basics: accessible clean water, agricultural empowerment, hygiene awareness, and education. 

Dreaming of his future, Issaka coyly grins, momentarily pauses, and says, “I want to be a teacher.”

** If you are interested in participating in World Concern’s One Village Transformed program (seriously, this is an amazing opportunity), check out this link.
***Over the next few weeks I plan to frequently update the blog with beneficiary stories from all over East Africa. Tune in to read more about World Concern’s work. Use this blog as a medium for connecting to a people, place, and story that is not frequently talked about in the standard news.

 

 

A Cliched Connection…Or Is It?

Living thousands of miles away from those who hold my heart the tightest – the friends and family whom I never have to worry about connecting with because it comes automatically – my soul finds itself searching for another source of human connection. It’s as if something in my core is innately aware that I can’t do this things called life alone. So, here in east Africa, I’ve been working on finding new ways of connecting – repeatedly assessing my definition of human connection.

Maybe human connection is a topic you’ve talked about so much that it’s become that banal book report theme you had to write about all four years of High School English.

Maybe it has always seemed vague and intangible; to try to wrap your mind around it is far too reminiscent of your childhood attempts to sell cups of homemade lemonade in order to buy that shiny red bicycle from the toy-shop window – you were always just $100 short.

Maybe it’s always been packaged in fluff: laughter and love and relationships, rather than the raw edge with which you can empathize: insecurities and dependency and unmet expectations.

Maybe you feel like every time it’s brought up, it’s as if someone is trying to shove all things appreciation down your throat. And maybe this is something you want to consume on your own.

Maybe you’ve heard it too much. And now it’s boring. But, maybe you can’t hear it enough…

Maybe, in order to deepen and broaden and strengthen your relationship with yourself, others, and that something beyond you, it needs to be talked about. Over. And over.

I believe you care about humanity. And I believe you are aware of life outside of your world.

So maybe this blog post is more for me. Because I know that in the midst of my so-called ‘daily grind’, I become so distracted that the only connection taking place is the zapping of my brain waves – firing off at one another thousands of millions of times per minute. And, embarrassingly, these brain waves are often concentrated on me: my work, my food, my nails that need to be cut, and my sweaty walk home.

When I allow my mind spiral into itself – I clearly lose focus on anything other than, well…myself. I’m not able to see that which I can learn from, find peace in, connect to, be challenged be, seek solace in, and experience profound beauty.

Even looking up from my LED screen right now, I am struck by the fact that I have been sitting in my swirly chair in a square room with three other individuals – all of whom I have not even glanced at in over two hours!

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” – MLK, Jr.

If I’m continually re-learning one thing, it’s this: Human connection is more than living in close proximity or appreciating one another’s commonalities. It requires looking up, speaking out, grasping a hand, sharing a taxi ride, eating together…acting as if I believe that what I do and think is connected to something, and someone, outside of me – because, dear people, it really is.

“The only difference between man and man all the world over is one of degree, and not of kind, even as there is between trees of the same species.” – Gandhi

Below are photos from the past 11 months that remind me of the incalculable beauty found only in human connection. My hope is that you can take the time to find ways to personally connect to each image and/or individual. (And I’d love if you shared your stories of connection in the comment section below!)

Maasai Mara, Kenya.

Maasai Mara, Kenya.

Nairobi Marathon, Kenya.

Nairobi Marathon, Kenya.

Olkinyei, Kenya.

Olkinyei, Kenya.

Lamu, Kenya.

Lamu, Kenya.

Mpiro, Kenya.

Mpiro, Kenya.

Nairobi Marathon, Kenya.

Nairobi Marathon, Kenya.

Maasai Mara, Kenya.

Maasai Mara, Kenya.

Naroomoru, Kenya.

Naroomoru, Kenya.

Mpeketoni, Kenya.

Mpeketoni, Kenya.

Nairobi, Kenya.

Nairobi, Kenya.

Mpeketoni, Kenya.

Mpeketoni, Kenya.

Kamelil, Kenya.

Kamelil, Kenya.

Olkinyei, Kenya.

Olkinyei, Kenya.

Kamelil, Kenya.

Kamelil, Kenya.

Mpeketoni, Kenya.

Mpeketoni, Kenya.

Goz Beida, Chad.

Goz Beida, Chad.

Lietnhom, South Sudan.

Lietnhom, South Sudan.

Nairobi, Kenya.

Nairobi, Kenya.

Wau, South Sudan.

Wau, South Sudan.

Kiambu, Kenya.

Kiambu, Kenya.

Lietnhom, South Sudan.

Lietnhom, South Sudan.

Kiambu, Kenya.

Kiambu, Kenya.

 

 

Achta of N’djamena // Starting Over in Chad

Sharing a bowl of light-brown water and some strips of mango, that appear to have been drying in the infamously harsh Chadian sun for endless hours, Achta carefully situates herself under a dilapidated wooden shelter. Even in times of difficulty, the tradition of Chadian hospitality remains.

Alone on the compound, Achta explains that five of her children are currently out farming, three live outside of the village, and four have passed away. Whoa.

As she talks, tears softly stream from Achta’s eyes and roll down her previously upturned cheeks.

“I was born in N’djamena. I was married in N’djamena. Four of my children died in N’djamena. Then the Janjaweed came and we lost everything we owned.”

Achta.

Achta.

Situated miles from any sort of permanent infrastructure (namely schools, hospitals, clean water sources, and markets), the people of N’djamena have spent most of their lives toiling to meet, what many would consider, basic human needs: potable water, food, shelter, and health. Unfortunately, for the people of N’djamena, the process of obtaining such things is not so basic.

Due to a large wadi, a riverbed that contains copious amounts of water only during times of heavy rain, positioned at the village’s entrance, N’djamena sits on fertile soil. For the purpose of collecting water for cooking, cleaning, and farming, N’djamena would appear to be in an ideal location. Here’s the significant downside – the wadi’s water is far from clean.

With a disheartened look across her face, Achta quietly says, “I have never known the reason why my children died. The hospital is a two-day journey by donkey. By the time we got to the hospital, they were already too sick. Maybe they died because of the dirty water, but I do not know.”

The wadi located on the outskirts of Achta's village.

The wadi located on the outskirts of Achta’s village.

Appearing to still be processing all that has happened in her life, Achta proceeds to explain that by the time the Janjaweed, a local militant group, came to her village, she was still healing from the death of her four children, “It was too hard as a mother to see your children dying.”

The Janjaweed, a nomadic militant Arab group known for their merciless killing, burning, and looting of villages across Sudan and Eastern Chad, invaded N’djamena village in 2007, killing 20 people and leaving the village emptied and flattened.

According to Achta, “When they came, we ran from our village. But every village that we went to turned us away. We eventually ended up in Gassire camp.”

A two-hour plus drive outside of N’djamena, Gassire has served as an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp for thousands of Chadians over the last ten years.

Evidence of the Janjaweed.

Evidence of the Janjaweed.

Achta, her husband, and her eight children remained in Gassire for six long years, returning to N’djamena only months ago.

As reported by Achta, and a large majority of the thousands of other Chadians forced to inhabit the camp, “In Gassire we had no food. We could not farm our own land.”

When asked why she would rather return to her destroyed homeland than live in a secure place with clean water access, Achta promptly responded, “We would rather die in our own lands than in the camps.” This was not the first time I had heard this remark.

Afraid that it would be so, upon returning from Gassire to N’djamena, Achta discovered that everything she had ever owned or worked for had been demolished or stolen – homes, livestock, goods, tools.

“We only had small food upon our return. I worked on a nearby farm to get some small amounts of millet to feed my family.” Ranck_OVT Assesment_July_N'djamena village (15 of 159)

Exhibiting profound strength and tenacity, Achta and her family were slowly able to rebuild their home. They are now farming their own land and, along with other returnees, praying for a bountiful harvest season.

Though the population of N’djamena is less than half the size that it once was, families continue to return as they grow weary of the IDP camps and learn of the village’s restored safety.

Achta displays the bowl she crafted and gifted to me - it now sits on my kitchen counter holding a variety of local fruits.

Achta displays the bowl she crafted and gifted to me – it now sits on my kitchen counter holding a variety of local fruits.

In an attempt to create a sense of normalcy as she settles back into life in the village, Achta dreams of furthering her five children’s educations. Because there is no school within walking distance, she plans to send her children all the way back to Gassire, unable to fully separate them from the life they tried to leave behind.

When I asked her if it would bother her to be alone while her children are away studying, she confidently affirmed, “It’s okay because my children will be at school!”

In Eastern Chad, Achta’s story is not uncommon. Thousands of others are currently in the process of returning to their villages – where land, property, and life has been unfairly taken and destroyed.

Later touring around her newly restored compound, I grab Achta’s hand. Moved by her resilience, I tell her she is very strong. Despite her evident circumstances, laughter proceeds to emanate from Achta’s radiant face.

Acknowledging N’djamena’s restoration, Achta is able to picture a future transformed. 

Come with me to rural Chad.

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.
Amkharouba, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

Achta has 8 children and had twin boys 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 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 two young to assist in the fields. Despite the joy of new life (I've never held a smaller child), Achta was clearly distraught. Thankfully her community was able to look out for her enough that she had the minimal water and food to survive (a few days later, I came back to visit and Achta was not producing enough milk to feed her boys). // Harako, Chad

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.

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 carpenter trainees. Currently running the only carpentry business in their entire refugee camp. // Jabal Refugee Camp, Goz Beida, Chad.

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.

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." - Ibraham

“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

Harako, Chad.

Harako, Chad.

Resting in the heat of the day. It's cultivation season. // Amkrereribe, Chad.

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 when the Janjaweed attacked her village (three times). Achta recently returned 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

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 5 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." - Yaya Harun // 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.

“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.

Mariam Souleiman. Daughter of the village chief. // Amkrereribe, Chad.

Halime is 25 years old and has eight children. // 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." - Halime // 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 // 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.

Amkrereribe, Chad.

Amkrereribe, Chad.

Joining the locals and taking a break during the heat of the day. We laughed a lot. // 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.

Farm life. // N’djamena Village, Chad.

Three months ago, Abdulai 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.

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, Chad.

A dried up wadi. // N’djamena Village, Chad.

Abdulai and his son. // N'djamena, 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.

N’djamena Village, Chad.

World Concern staff meets with the local village leaders. // N'djamena, Chad.

World Concern staff meets with the local village leaders. // N’djamena Village, Chad.

Ever hospitable. Water and dried mangoes. // 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 that was giving them sickness." // 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.

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.

“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. Both sent us away. Finally we ended up in Gassire camp, where we lived for six years...

“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.

N’djamena Village, Chad.

This is school to 200 hundred students. // Rigildouth, 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.

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

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.

Groundnuts a plenty. // Karona, Chad.

Meet Fatime. The best interpreter, translator, tri-pod balancer, and Chadian sister in all the land.

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.

Cell phone charging. Innovation at its finest. // Tessou, Chad.

Fizanian and her adopted granddaughter. // Karona, Chad.

Fizanian and her adopted granddaughter. // Karona, Chad.

"We spend six hours a day gathering water." // Karona, Chad.

“We spend six hours a day gathering water.” // Karona, Chad.

Age is beauty. // Karona, Chad.

Age is clearly beauty. // Karona, Chad.

Buddies stand outside their new school (built by the community!). // Harako, Chad.

Buddies stand outside their new school (built by the community!). // Harako, Chad.

Most children's only source of education is Koranic school. // Tessou, Chad.

In rural villages, most children’s only source of education is Koranic school. // Tessou, Chad.

Amkrereribe, Chad.

Amkrereribe, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

Market spices. // Goz Beida, Chad.

Market spices. // Goz Beida, Chad.

 

And then there were birds. // Tessou, 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.

I would like to say I will have the strength to farm at this age. // Rigildouth, Chad.

Donkey venturing. // N'djamena Village, Chad.

Donkey venturing. // N’djamena Village, Chad.

Cultivation season. // N'djamena Village, Chad.

Cultivation season. // N’djamena Village, Chad.

Had to climb a bit for this one. Views from above. // Karona, Chad.

Had to climb a bit for this one. Views from above. // Karona, Chad.

Living space. // 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.

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.

Sibling fascination. // Abeche, Chad.

A family affair (and these are not even all of Seir Ahamat's children - he has 20!). // Abeche, Chad.

A family affair (and these are not even all of Seir Ahamat’s children – he has 20!). // Abeche, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

I spy....// Amkharouba, Chad.

I spy….// Amkharouba, Chad.

Making it look easy. // Amkharouba, Chad.

Making it look easy. // Amkharouba, Chad.

I love feet.

I love feet.

Amkharouba, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

Tessou, Chad.

Tessou, Chad.

Views through the car window. Speckled mud. // Tessou, Chad.

Views through the car window. Speckled mud. // Tessou, Chad.

Stunner. // Amkharouba, Chad

Stunner. // Amkharouba, Chad

Community gathering. // Amkharouba, Chad.

Community gathering. // Amkharouba, Chad.

Getting a village tour. // Amkharouba, Chad.

Getting a village tour. // Amkharouba, Chad.

Water gathering. // Harako, Chad.

Water gathering. // Harako, Chad.

Blacksmith modeling. // Harako, Chad.

Blacksmith modeling. // Harako, Chad.

Jonas is the best host. // WC Compound, N'Djamena, Chad.

Jonas is the best host. // WC Compound, N’Djamena, Chad.

Fatouma displays the art of sifting and drying. // Maramara, Chad.

Fatouma displays the art of sifting and drying. // Maramara, Chad.

Nourishment. // Jabal Refugee Camp, Goz Beida, Chad.

Nourishment. // Jabal Refugee Camp, Goz Beida, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

New life. // Amkharouba, Chad.

New life. // Amkharouba, Chad.

Perspective. // Amkharouba, Chad.

Perspective. // Amkharouba, Chad.

Maramara, Chad.

Maramara, Chad.

Rigildouth, Chad.

Rigildouth, Chad.

We love water! // Harako, Chad.

We love water! // Harako, Chad.

Harako Home // Chad

Harako Home // Chad

Girl got attitude. // Harako, Chad.

Girl got attitude. // Harako, Chad.

Tessou, Chad.

Tessou, Chad.

The power of a woman. // Tessou, Chad.

The strength of a woman. // Tessou, Chad.

Tessou, Chad.

Tessou, Chad.

Karona, Chad.

Karona, Chad.

Hands. // Harako, Chad.

Hands. // Harako, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

Babes. // Amkharouba, Chad.

Babes. // Amkharouba, Chad.

Posin'. // Amkrereribe, Chad.

Posin’. // Amkrereribe, Chad.

Harako, Chad.

Harako, Chad.

That grin...really?! // Amkharouba, Chad.

That grin…seriously?! // Amkharouba, Chad.

Harako, Chad.

Harako, Chad.

Ranck_OVT Assesment_July_Rigildouth (32 of 86)

Youssif. // Rigildouth, Chad.

Youssif. // Rigildouth, Chad.

This girl put up with me for 3 weeks straight. Fatime, I owe ya a coke barit. // Amkharouba, Chad.

This girl put up with me for 3 weeks straight. Fatime, I owe ya a Coke barit. // Amkharouba, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

Amkharouba, Chad.

Visits with the chief. // Maramara, Chad.

Visits with the chief. // Maramara, Chad.

Hut Life. // Karona, Chad.

Hut Life. // Karona, Chad.

Karona, Chad.

Karona, Chad.

NEVER underestimate the wisdom of a World Concern driver.

NEVER underestimate the wisdom of a World Concern driver.

It was bound to happen. // Amkrereribe, Chad.

It was bound to happen. // Amkrereribe, Chad.

Entire village effort. Not an exaggeration. // Amkrereribe, Chad.

Entire village effort. Not an exaggeration. // Amkrereribe, Chad.

N'Djamena from the roof. Playing spy. // Chad.

N’Djamena from the roof. Playing spy. // Chad.

Just a taste of how much our staff loves those we work with. // Amkharouba, Chad

Just a taste of how much our staff loves those we work with. // Amkharouba, Chad

I told you she's the best.

I told you she’s the best.

Thanks for coming! <3, Kelly