This post was written while we were in Chad.
Some of the most beautiful places in the world can be reached only by following a dirt road, a footpath, or paddling a canoe.
I started off my career overseas as a language survey worker. This gave me the opportunity to travel to remote villages, and even to live in a small village, to see if the language they speak there was dying out.
Once in Chad, we nearly ripped the bumper off the truck, because the mountain trail we were following was so wild. We often drove in water that went halfway up the door, and had to “gun it” to keep the water from flowing into the engine. We became stuck in many wadis (dry river beds), and changed LOTS of flat tires due to the thorny acacia trees!
In fact, that’s why I finally decided to buy a camel.
With the rise of adventure travel, people from the technological world have finally got a glimpse of life into some of these places. I was amazed when I saw a van of German tourists pass by our village home one day.
There is nothing like a landscape lacking in billboards, or the view of a clear night sky, without the glow of a nearby city.
It’s one thing to view these places on a live-stream documentary, or even to stay overnight there. It’s a completely different thing to call one of these places “home.”
Yet, if we are followers of Christ, more and more of us must do so. The last orders Christ gave us was to “Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel”. Up until now, the easy places have been reached. Remote villages, without proper roads and fuel for a generator or stove, have been left.
Living without electricity, internet access and running water requires a whole new set of skills. We would like to teach you what our friends taught us, through this web journal.
You don’t have to come from a foreign country to be the talk of a village somewhere on the edges of civilization. This isn’t because your new friends in the village are impolite. It’s just that children, and adults are curious. They regularly watch planes and satellites fly by in the evening sky. Each night, their parents and grandparents tell about visits to the “big city”, about lights, paved roads, televisions, and hospitals. At last, they get to see someone from this “alien world”, and want to learn more about it.
When you brush your teeth, start your camp stove or watch a video on your iPhone, the village children watch in amazement. That night, by the family fire, they will tell of what they saw, down to the finest detail.
It’s not because villagers are simple and childish, and we are so smart. These mothers and fathers can do things you could never do. They can make mud bricks that stick together, walk 20 miles in a day, or start a campfire from scratch.
If you ever happen to live on the edges of the earth, explain your world to the children you meet. While there, you should learn all you can about a lifestyle independent of electricity and the internet.
How many of you come from small towns? Have you ever lived in a place where your business is everyone’s business? Let us know by leaving a comment below.