3 Reasons Why I Bought a Camel

and why you should, too...

While in Chad, I often got lost in the Sahara desert.  The GPS I used there would only point me in the right direction to my destination, as the roads I was following weren’t on any map.

I'm so thankful for "99", my camel! Here is a picture of him.This led me, more than once, to cross dry river beds and thorn-bush forests with “Twila”, our Speed the Light vehicle.

I often got all disoriented from following a cow trail, with very few options but to turn around and start back where I left the main road.

And each time I did, I prayed that God would provide the money for me to buy a camel…

Here are three of the best reasons I can think of, why everyone should own one of these “ships of the desert”.

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How to save 90% in hotels on your next road trip

I messed up big-time.  I was scheduled to speak in a church on Sunday, but did not contact the Pastor in time to arrange for a place to stay.  And it was too late to call a friend to stay at their house at the last-minute.  With the way our budget was at the time, I could not afford to stay in a hotel, or even a motel.

Thankfully, I was ready with an extreme backup measure: sleeping in my car. Just knowing that I have this option when my best plans fall apart lowers my stress level by a factor of ten.

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Amandine Bakery: What would N’Djaména be without it?

Restaurants which open today may be forced to close within a few years.  All it takes is a bad decision by the owner one day, and tomorrow, you find that the owner has locked the doors.  This is especially true in countries with a less than welcoming business environment.

Like restaurant owners, God’s servants have to find a way to make a living while serving overseas.  To do so, they must find businesses that last – and run them in a way that makes them an indispensable part of their community.

L’amandine: a durable N’Djaména classic

Gourmet cakes at l'amandineAmandine Bakery is a durable N’Djaména classic; what would life in N’Djaména be without it? The bakers and staff have served baked goods, pizza and ice cream for over twenty years and through at least three revolutions. During one of the skirmishes when they were on Charles de Gaulle Street when the trees were intact, a stray bullet put the ice cream dispenser out of commission!

For many years, L’amandine has been a favorite gathering place for Chadian musicians and artists. Now it reaches out to all sorts of people as a meeting place.  Going there during the week is a special treat.  It’s a great place to celebrate and meet with friends and family.

What to expect

L’amandine is a bakery of special treats for any time of the day: there is pain au chocolat and fresh bread for breakfast. For lunch, have a cheese omelet or a L'amandine paninipanini.  Be sure to buy the biggest fruit juice of the flavor of the day that you can! For supper, take home a pizza or two.  Perhaps, you would prefer a hamburger on a homemade roll to re-heat in the oven.

For a birthday or special occasion, a delicious gourmet chocolate cake will be an unforgettable touch to that special day.

L’amandine opens around 7:30 AM and closes around 8 PM Monday through Saturday.  So there is plenty of time to pop in and enjoy an L'amandine baked goodsice cream cone or two to get you through the day. Be forewarned, however: on Sundays, they are open from 9 AM to Noon.

The busiest times at L’amandine are during the morning commute when parents are dropping off or picking up their children at school, or right after work. If you can, try to pop in when things are a bit quieter, such as from 7:30 to 8:30 AM, 2:00 to 5:00 PM or 6:30 to 8:00 PM.

Throughout the year, they bake L'amandine frontseasonal treats, such as Epiphany cakes in January (the ones with a little statue baked into the cake, and a crown on the cake for the one who finds it) and Easter chocolate for Easter. For Christmas, you can order a “bûche de Noël“, the well-loved French cake in the form of a log.

The restaurant always seems to lack waitresses and waiters on duty. This place is extremely popular, but be patient… your patience will be well-rewarded. The staff they DO have is professional and kind, always ready to give you a smile, even if it is weary one as they try to keep up with the near-constant demand.

seating at l'amandine is limitedThere aren’t a lot of seats available in the air-conditioned lobby, so be ready to try sitting in the garden outside, behind the bakery.

Note: I do not work for L’amandine, nor do any of my relatives. They have not paid or compensated me to present this evaluation. It’s just that L’amandine has been a part of my life in Chad for over twenty-one years, and I just had to tell you about it.

And now, we would like to ask you a question: What restaurant or business you love has endured challenges, but is still open, and thriving?

(Please tell us by filling in the comment box at the bottom of this page.  If there is no comment box below this article, click on the link below that says, “Continue reading” and scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

Bus Travel in Chad, Africa

Bus Travel: First Impressions

It took a long time for me to have my first bus travel experience across Chad.  And I will never forget it for as long as I live.

On New Year’s Eve several years ago, I went to the bank to get some money from the ATM machine, but discovered that the only ATM in town is broken down. So I took time to think about my options very carefully, and decided that the best thing to do was for me to travel to N’Djaména by modern bus.  Back then, the bus was a “Cinq Tonne” truck, with a bus compartment built into the back of the vehicle.  The room of the bus is often loaded up as high as it is tall.  The windows don’t usually close properly, so by the time the trip is over, you are usually covered in dust.
I arrived at the bus station at 6:15 in the morning, full of excitement over my first experience with bus travel across Chad in a modern bus. As with the other agencies, it seems that the drivers, office workers and even the baggage handlers all speak the language I work in, which was really cool and helpful for my language learning.  I reserved my seat and bought my ticket, then went home to get ready for the trip.

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