A Visit from a Beautiful Hummingbird

While in Abéché, I stayed focused on paying the rent and the friends who work with us. I also had to work on getting a newsletter ready for our praying supporters. I am also taking special time to pray during this month. The time in Abéché was a good chance to get some special quiet time with the Lord. I spent a good amount of time praying about some of the challenges we are facing.

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Spending Mabrouk Al-Eid with friends!

This post was written while we were in Chad.

The Sonlight materials we have waited for came yesterday! Now we have most of what we need for Susan’s school; it had become messed up because we had portions of Grade 3 stuff here and in the US. When they accidentally sent the order to Maine, they fixed the problem and sent a new order to Chad. It was exciting to see a man on a motorcycle dropping off FedEx packages; it was a taste of home.BBC.com chad_fruitbuyer

Yesterday was the last Fast day of Ramadan in Chad; the traffic showed it, as people tried to get the last-minute shopping in before the holiday. In order for our family to celebrate with Sharon’s friend M*, I decided to find out where she lived. After that, we dropped her off at Dembe market with her two friends, where they went shopping for sandals. Right now, sandals, sugar, clothes and candy are the big sellers!

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The boy who jumped over the wall for food

This post was written while we were in Chad.

I got up very early this morning, thirty minutes before the Fajr prayer time (which is one hour before sunset). Last night, the winds and the rain were violent, and the lightning and thunder were fairly close together.

Garibou boys; photo by Mary Newcombe

photo by Mary Newcombe

So I shut off the solar system, and read a book or two on my handheld and fell asleep.

As I worked at my desk this morning, there was a tall twelve-year-old boy, walking around in our yard! YIKES! This isn’t supposed to happen!

I fearfully but loudly yelled out the window, asking him what he was doing here. With a pleading voice, he told me that he was at the Madrasa (Qur’anic school) up the road; they hadn’t any food for a while. Their Qur’an Master was visiting the fields, and had left him and his fellow students to fend for themselves. He was told that there was a “nasara” (foreigner) in the home here, and that he would give him food.

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The Ice Bar Riots of Ramadan

Ice sells REALLY well in the Sahara Desert

a cooler with ice barWhen we lived as a family in Chad year-round, getting ice for our cooler was one of the things we did throughout the week. It allowed us to supplement our supply of cold water and drinks. We usually went to the nearby “Boulangerie” (bread store) to get it, and paid 1,000 CFA per bar.

But from Ramadan on, the passion for this solid coolness would grow massively. Every Muslim in this climate goes without water during the day, and drinking ice-cold water after sunset is a special treat.

You don’t have to be a business genius like Dave Ramsey to figure out that ice sells really well in the Sahara Desert. The Chadian government has mandated that the companies who manufacture it must sell it for 1,000 CFA ($2.00), even though the going price on the street has risen to 3,500 CFA ($7.00) per bar since Ramadan began. So each bar is providing a 250% profit!

All it takes to enter this profitable market is $6.00 (3,000 CFA), a bag, motorcycle, and a metal bar for breaking it up. I have seen a small crowd of over twenty people mob many spontaneous merchants of the cool stuff. The four bars tied to the back of their motorcycle don’t last long as the mob puts piece after piece into their  dry coolers.

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Learning to live WITH running water and electricity

This post was written while we were in Chad.

We had a great trip back to Abéché. From time to time along those 900 kilometers, we kept running into rain. Even here at our destination, it is raining as well. We are thankful for this, mostly because it helps water our friends’ crops; but we also enjoy the cooler temperatures it brings. We are often able to leave our windows open in the house until 11 AM or noontime!

Solar power and waterThe next morning after we got home from N’Djaména, I was on the roof of our house. It was Eid Al-Fitr, the celebration feast after the fast of Ramadan ends. It was a thick cloudy morning, and I worked on the solar panels without being electrocuted. Our solar panels had given us very little power, and I wanted to investigate why as quickly as I could.

As I checked everything, I discovered that one of the solar panels’ internal wiring was loose. Because we had two pairs of solar panels wired in series, this little error was probably the reason two of our solar panels had been useless to us. After re-wiring everything in parallel, we now have refrigeration that freezes the bottles! And surprisingly, the rainy weather is not affecting the solar electricity much.

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