This is part of the Seventh section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Nigeria
12/1/01 We had decided to visit just the western edge of Chad, the capital N'Djamena before truly heading to the west. The scenic road north of Mora, past the edge of a national park where many, mainly water, birds were seen. Different mud brick grass roofed hut villages dotted the flat flood plains that extend to Lake Chad to the north. People were out deepening their dams by using the silty clay to make bricks, carried back to their village for new houses or sheds. The border crossing, the now expected usual, with requests for bribes taking about an hour. The people were very friendly taking on more of the Arabic hospitality. We had our mint tea paid for by a local man. As usual the markets thrive next to the main Mosque and despite it being Friday trade was brisk.
13/1/01 We got lost heading to Gaoui, just 12 km from N'Djamena across dead flat land with tracks heading in all directions wherever a few people wanted to take their donkey carts to a few huts dotted between last seasons crops now just a rough dusty patch of ground. Gaoui is famous for the large pots it bakes out of local clays using only cow manure for firing as the trees long ago disappeared. There is a museum here of how things used to be done and I wonder how little things have changed for these rural people in the last few thousand years. Apart from clothing, western discards other than for the women who wear brightly coloured synthetics, most of their daily activities, foods and transport have remained very similar.
14/1/01 SIL, the Summer Institute of Linguistics operates a branch in Chad where volunteers learn a local language (about 125 in Chad and 230 in Cameroon) very thoroughly, taking about two years, then create a phonetic alphabet in order that it may be written down. The aim is then to translate the Bible into that language for the locals to be able to read it. This is not always politically accepted and there are often problems in Muslim dominated areas. The whole process usually takes well over 10 years for each language. We were invited to the non denominational service attended by many anglophone residents. Some were from SIL, others from aid agencies, embassies and missionaries. Two Australian linguists, with a young family, invited us to lunch and subsequently to the US Marine Corp Club for the every second Sunday get together. Many work out in small villages in remote areas and like us have the need to speak the native tongue to culturally similar people. An interesting and totally different view of a city and its people than we usually get.
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