Chicken tonight, strata tomorrow!!!

This post was written while we were in Chad.

At the meat market today, they were selling camel meat! The camel meat and chickenwomen reiterated the story I have heard so often, about camel meat being very healthy for you. Since camels graze on medicinal plants all day, Chadians believe that the properties of the plants transfer into the meat. I have had some before; it’s one of my favorite foods in Chad.

On Thursday night, I went and picked up the chicken at the chicken restaurant. It wasn’t ready when I arrived, so I sat on the bench in the corner. I discovered what happens to the cow’s head I often see sitting on a plastic sheet at the meat market. The daughter of the restaurant owner had the head on top of a fire, eyes looking to the dusty sky. She scraped the head with a knife, while she let the flame slowly cook the whole thing.

At last, the owner came out of the tent which served as the kitchen with our food. The cook fries each quarter of chicken in hot oil. It took two Nigerian bags to get it home, there was so much food!

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Strawberry plant, springs in the desert

This post was written while we were in Chad.

We arrived in Iriba just in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We made a big deal of it; we watched the emma plantBBC version of “Emma” while eating popcorn. Debbie barely made it through the movie before falling asleep, so we put her to bed. At midnight, we had Susan drop a beach ball to the ground while standing on a chair. We hugged one another… then went to bed.

Outside, there was silence; it was just another quiet evening in Iriba, like so many others.

Ever since we arrived at our Iriba home, there’s been a leak in an outdoor pipeline near the cistern. With so many leaks in the plumbing in the house, we only turn on the town water at the meter level for the few hours each week to fill up the barrels… but, right under the place I sit as I pray at sunset, water keeps bubbling up from the ground and flowing next to the cistern and in a place just outside our wall!

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Our trip to Iriba: CGCOC, chickens and baby birds

Desert Journal: April 21, 2013

CGCOC is still bravely working in AfricaThe trip to Iriba last week was great! As I drove, I found that the Chinese construction company, CGCOC, was surveying the road from Iriba to Bakaouré. They were getting ready to build a paved road to Abéché, drilling wells in preparation for this task. I wish them well (pun intended) as they take on one of the most challenging projects known to man.

I went to Iriba driving Twila (our Speed The Light vehicle), and corresponded my trip with Andrew’s return to Chad. Andrew wanted to begin recording stories in Z so he could learn how the language works. We got up at 4:30 AM on Wednesday, and spent the morning trying to find someone willing to be recorded. We went to three villages: Geme-Ba, Er and Kuba, but, unfortunately, no one agreed to help us record. However, we did meet a lot of people, drank a lot of tea and learned about Z culture.

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Photos I wish I could post

5Life in the Sahara is peaceful and full of memories.  I suppose it comes from all we do to survive this harsh climate together with our neighbors. Only a sliver of those memories can appear as photos in our photo album.  Most of them can only be found, stored within our hearts…

Around sunset, one of our landlord’s family saw the friends of our girls sitting on the wall… so he drove over to them quickly, and they ran to hide from him, behind our house! He yelled something at them, and they stayed where they were. And as quickly as he had come, he was gone. This bothered the girls, both ours and our friends. I hadn’t had a chance to intervene, since I was indoors and it was over before I heard about it.

He came over this morning, with a guard to help us watch over our house each evening. This gave us the chance to talk about what had happened the previous evening; he had no problem with the kids coming over and playing, if we did not. And we didn’t; the girls were beginning to have fun playing together, and they are courteous and generally well-behaved, though at times they get carried away in their excitement.

The friends of our girls did not come at all during the day… They probably had been a bit shaken up by what had happened last night. But, as the sun set and they were returning from the “meshik” (Qur’anic school), they came! I quickly encouraged them to come in through the gate, and our girls, who had been nervous that they had been frightened away for good, were very glad to see them.

I have been able to take photos of life here… but the best photos, I am not allowed to take. If I could, you would see girls in their school uniforms, sitting on the wall with our girls, talking and smiling. You would see them running around the front yard, throwing the ball to one another and running excitedly, trying to get it away. And there would be a picture of my wife and her new neighbor friend in her burqua, excited to have a new friend next door with whom she can talk to and practice her English.