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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Fun memories to treasure

My time in Moundou is a blur of sickness, including tummy problems I’d rather not explain to you in detail. It is so humid there! We found a cooler and some ice, so we could keep the dairy products, sodas and water cool. Because the station did not have consistent electricity, this was a welcome blessing.

It rained a bit over at the Bible school, which hopefully means that rainy season will soon cool things down. That day, we visited the Bible school students, the staff and their families. They loved picking themselves out on the picture that Randy took of them, and would gather around his camera to find out where they were standing.

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A VERY long trip to Iriba and back with Abdullah

This post was written while we were in Chad.

As I finished writing my last diary entry, I heard the sound of a truck backing up (beeep-beeep-beeep)! It was Abdullah, ready to load up these furniture with Abdullahbags, boxes, furniture and luggage into his truck. There was stacking, pulling, pushing and organizing. But in the end, they did it, and I was thankful.

We were on the road by 5 PM. As the sun set, we were in Matta, a very popular rest stop, almost exactly one hour from Abéché. As the men started their evening prayers, the women lit the fires under their cooking pots, preparing for the travelers who would be passing through all night.

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Help when I needed it most

This post was written while we were in Chad.

Yesterday I withdrew some money from the ATM at Novotel, to help fill up at Tchad Hydrocarbures with diesel. Two full tanks of diesel cost $100, or $4/gallon; there’s something I won’t do every day! After the attendant filled the tank up, I had them wash the car. For $6.00 they hand wash it; my people own the station. The new Land Cruiser became stuck in the mud twice in two days; do you think God might be trying to tell me something? I think I’m finally getting the message!

The vehicle became stuck in the mud on one side, so someone needed tHelp from a gas stationo tow it out. I sat there, feeling like a fool. Then God sent help; someone named Ahmed brought the truck by with a steel rope, and towed me out! He stopped me before I paid him and said, “I am Ahmed; I saw that you became stuck the other day, so I came to help you out!” That was the reason he gave me for not having to pay him for it! It was at that moment that I moved from feeling foolish to feeling special that God sent a friend to help in the nick of time!

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A Car Journey to Remember

This event occurred while our family was in Chad.

I needed to get down to Guéréda today to get the last of the furniture from our dear Australian sister there; she leaves the country in two more days, and doesn’t have much more time before she departs. Sarah became all excited about the possibility to go with her Dad, and we were planning on it all week.

Then I fell very ill on Friday morning, and it stayed with me until the evening: I got sick, my stomach was giving me problems (I will spare you the details), and I had terrible headaches. I even  became too sick to help the girls with the laundry, and am amazed at how long I slept. On Sunday, everything finally settled as it should, and I could imagine finally being able to make the trip. For some reason, I was unable to sleep most of that night.

Sarah reads for car(Sarah helped me with some of the story from this point). Sarah and I left at 7:15 for Tulum and spent 15 minutes on the road. But we hadn’t gone far before we reached some ground with a cracked layer of clay on it. Sarah told me not to drive on it, but I didn’t listen. We went forward on the sand and hit a layer of clay below. As a result, we became stuck for 3 hours. Many people tried many things, but we weren’t making progress. Finally, about twenty-six men came and literally lifted the car out of the clay. After that, the trip went amazingly fast, and we made it to Guéréda safely at 1 PM.

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