Waiting patiently, but waiting in vain

How to make our moments of waiting more profitable and exciting

“Wait patiently” doesn’t mean the same thing in Africa as it does in the United States.  In America, we might decide to come back later if the line has seven people waiting in it.  We might call back if the waiting time is longer than ten minutes.  Even 5 minutes microwave cooking time can seem like too long to wait!

Waiting in line to go to a concert in Germany

And yet, when we wait in line in America, we hope that our patience is rewarded in the end.  One of the features of life in the Third World, or where a disaster strikes, is that our patience isn’t always rewarded as we would hope.

How can we learn to make the most of the times we spend waiting for something, even if it ends up being waiting in vain?

Back in September 2010, our family needed to find a place to live in eastern Chad.  We had just arrived back in Chad and were living in the capital city of N’Djaména, 14+ hours west of Abéché.  A friend in the capital promised that we could rent his home in Abéché.

To start moving in, all I needed to do was to pick up the key from the Sultan, his brother.

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Packing in the desert during hot season

This post was written while we were still in Chad, Africa.

I’m “back from being underground”; not in covert operations, but rather, I became swamped with packing! And all this in the middle of Mother’s Day weekend, which I knew better than to ignore and pretend like it wasn’t happening. We had coconut pancakes for breakfast, and were thankful to enjoy fellowship with our friends over lunch… with their huge solar system, complete with COLD WATER from their freezer that runs 24/7!! Then I went out and bought pizzas from Rose du Sable.

Our house has been part home, part storage unit for some time now. So the first step was easy: get all the stuff that is storage out into the courtyard. However, DO NOT put any boxes or wood on the ground, or the termites will get it! I mistakenly put a box on the ground to get something out of a suitcase; by the next morning, the termites had made a nest in the box of Tupperware. I was thankful it wasn’t a box of books, or I would have been in HUGE trouble.

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A Wild, Exhausting Journey through the Sand

On Saturday, as we traveled back from Iriba, we took a wrong turn, and found ourselves headed to Adré. Mind you, the road wasn’t so bad; however, it was disconcerting to drive 30 miles on a road that led 90 miles away from our destination. We arrived in Adré at 8 PM, and in Abéché at 11:45 PM. When we arrived in Adré, I decided to keep going; we didn’t know where to find a guest house, or if they would even have a place for us.

Without road signs to guide us on the road, we used the GPS that we’ve had for about a decade now, thanks to our friends at Lebanon Assembly of God! Because we knew where we were going, we stayed the course rather than bolt on a country road in panic.

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How to Keep a Chadian Water Cooler Cold

In the desert land of Chad, there is nothing more refreshing than a cold drink of water. But where could you find it at home, in the market or a business where electricity is so scarce? If I were you, I would head straight for the nearest water pot.

The water pot has its origins in ancient Egyptian and Greek societies. But as people began to use electricity for refrigeration, it fell into disuse. Not so in Chad, where clay pot manufacturing is still one of the most successful artisan businesses.

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How an election is run in other countries

Another reason to be proud to be an American

As I write this, it’s election season in the United States.  Hillary Clinton is the Democrat’s nominee, while Donald Trump won the Republican nomination.  Because it’s voting season, I want share with you how elections run in other countries.

romney-kenya

The Romney Campaign is alive and well in Africa

The campaigning season can be as exciting there as it is here.  The candidates will travel from town to town to make speeches and encourage the people to come out and vote for them.  They will often give out hats and T-Shirts to their supporters with their picture on them.  Usually, the incumbent president or party will outspend the opposition candidates in gifts, parties and appearances.

On election day, voting takes place, mostly at the schools.  The electoral commission in the capital city prints out voter lists, and sends their delegates out to the villages, towns and cities with official ballots and a big, wooden box with a straight, long hole on top.  The boxes open on top, but remain locked up and sealed by the electoral commission in the head office.  Each electoral commission official is responsible to make sure that the election runs smoothly in his area of responsibility.

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