Today was the day we went to visit our village. Goz Beida is a "town" (more like a village) that we are based out of. It is about 40 miles from the border of Sudan. It has become the "base" for UN operations in this part of Chad, and other NGO (Non-Government Organizations) have made their bases here. It is about an hour and fifteen minute drive – most of it is very slow because of the conditions of their roads.
As you look at these photos – can you begin to pray for the people of Maramara? We are the only church partnering with them to develop them and show them the love of Jesus!
Here are some photos to summarize our day:
The ride out there with World Concern guys is a huge highlight. Mark Lamb (to the left) is out of headquarters in Seattle, but came here for two weeks to work with three churches (we are the third church he is matching to various villages in Chad). In the back is Athanase, from Rwanda, who is the Chad director. He lives here full-time. Our driver is Asabul, a Muslim. World Concern has about 20 employees. Most of them are Christians from the south side of Chad. The others are locals who are Muslims. They are the drivers and security personnel.
Here is the type of thing we see on our drive. Unbelievable!
Pulling into the village in our Land Rovers. They need vehicles like these in Chad. The terrain is unbelievable!
This is the village chief. He was our first meeting. About fifteen other village men attended the meeting. I've never experienced something like this in my life.
A great close-up shot Nate took of the chief. We believe he is in his 80s – which is amazing. The life expectancy in Chad is 42 years old. In the villages, it MUST be lower, but we don't know. We do know that about 10% of women giving birth die in childbirth. So 80 is pretty amazing!
Here is a photo of the meeting. There were about six or seven World Concern guys (including Nate and me) – the rest are men from the village.
This mother of five children was one of three women we interviewed. She was soft spoken, but fun and funny. The entire culture smiles a lot and laughs easily. You can see the sweat coming down off the side of her face. This was a "cooler" day than normal. But it was still hot!!
This was a funny moment. I showed these women a photo on my phone. It was a picture of Sue and Ali (my oldest daughter) at a football game at Liberty. The photo happened when she asked how many wives I had. I told her "one" and at this moment (with one finger up) – she said, "ONE?!?!" Then we all laughed. This is a polygamy culture. There are 895 people in the village and only 42 adult men. The rest are women and children! In the background of the photo – are many others at the football game. Apparently, they thought they all were my children.
This is the third woman we interviewed. She has penetrating eyes!
We are walking through the village. People loved to watch and wave.
If you see the boy in the bottom of the photo… some young children were scared of us. The women dress in bright colors. You can see their housing. It is all grass huts.
This is the main pathway into the village. He is wearing the normal dress for a man.
And THIS is their water source. And if you think it looks worse in the photo – you are wrong. This is why so many of them get sick regularly. We can help them solve this problem!!!
I wanted to try to get water the way they do – so they let me use one of their pails. This is about eight feet below the surface. It will get lower rapidly as the water in the sand continues to evaporate. A few months from now – their only water source is a two hour walk. We asked how often they get water – they said, "Twice." We asked, "Twice a week?" The answer: "No, twice a day." That means that the women spend up to eight hours every day getting water in the late part of the dry season!
The women at the well thought my water-getting skills were severely lacking! It provided many laughs!!
Five women taking the water back in the afternoon. Notice the baby on the back of the last woman.
They are showing us where they hope to put a school. Education is their second greatest need. As far as we know – the literacy rate is 0%! But they want their children to read and write. They will make all the bricks. What our church will provide is a mason from a town 30 miles away – who will train them to build – so they can build more classrooms later and turn their homes from grass huts – to brick (which will keep their village from being destroyed by fire… a consistent fear and common reality).
While we were making a video – this man was making a new roof for one of the homes.
In between video takes – I would watch him making the roof.
Tomorrow – Day 5!! Another amazing day!!