The Road System Across Chad: The Good and The Bad

The Road Across Chad: Not as bad as before

My leaders asked me to explain why our vehicle in Chad has so many expensive repairs, and here is what I said about the roads across Chad:

This bus hit something standing on the road on the way to its destination“Although I could speak of the inconveniences of Chadian driving, of how easy it is to get lost without a GPS in places and to get stuck in soft sand, I will limit my comments here to the conditions that are hazardous to vehicles.
The roads in Chad have improved since I started serving in Chad in 1992. Back then, there were only 80 miles of paved tarmac, and we spent most of our time driving around the pits that had been dug in by the big transport trucks. Thankfully in our day, there is a paved highway from N’Djamena to Andoum and beyond to the Cameroon border, and all but 160 miles of highway from N’Djamena to Abéché.

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Wanted: More Lone Rangers

The Most Misunderstood Hero of the Wild West

We need to be Lone Rangers in the Kingdom of God.  Throughout my life, I’ve heard preachers say the opposite, but it’s simply not true.  God is looking for Lone Rangers who will bravely go where others arelone rangers and silver too afraid to make an eternal difference.

Did you ever listen to the original Lone Ranger radio programs or watch the original TV series?  I highly recommend it, no matter how old you are.

While I work in the office on mindless but important projects, I intersperse podcasts of sermons and entrepreneurial wisdom with old-time radio programs, like The Lone Ranger, Superman, Challenge of the Yukon and Gunsmoke.

These stories from the Golden Age of Radio not only bring a little fun to my life; they also teach me how to tell inspiring stories to children and adults.  This is a skill that I need to develop if I wish to mobilize others to join me in the Harvest Field in Christ’s Service.

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How Much Solar Energy Do You REALLY Need?

This post was written while we were in Chad.

How much of a solar energy system do you need to satisfy the needs of your village home?

The answer depends on a lot of variables, the biggest of which are where you live and what you want to do with it. Some of us live near the equator and want to just run a few lights, while others of us live outside the tropics, yet still want to run a hot tub while they microwave a bag of popcorn as they watch satellite on a large screen TV, while they wait for their clothes to dry.

To run a few lights, all you need is one 70 Ah battery and a 50 to 120 Watt solar panel. I read about someone who was in the latter group, and three arrays with 25 120 Watt solar panels each could not satisfy their need.

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An Introduction to Village Life

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.

isolated villageIt always seemed that the more difficult it was to get to a village, the more beautiful it was.

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.”

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Pizzeria… or Villa?

How God provided a home for our family

We had a difficult time finding a place for our American to call home.  In Africa (and possibly everywhere else), our relationships are more important in the process of finding a home than the money we bring to the table.

As we were looking for a home in Abéché, we went to see the house of an old friend near the airport. The owner had converted a Lebanese Pizzeria into a home for MINURCAT troops. The floor plan was a bit odd, with windows into the hallway facing the living room. It was going to need a bit of work: we would have to clean out one of the toilets, the linoleum on the floor was all ripped up, the backyard had all sorts of weeds.  Someone had shattered the toilet seats. However, it was the best we had seen so far, so we prepared ourselves emotionally to go for it. The landlord was willing to cut the price by $50 per month from our best price.

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