11 hour drive in and 11 hour drive out…

The first four hours were mostly driving on pavement.

Then just before crossing the river we turned onto a dirt road, paralleling the river. That was the end of the pavement for the day. It was a good dirt road. We just had to watch out for potholes, wash outs and the occasional ruts. Then of course horse drawn carts, donkeys, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, motorcycles, bicycles and broken down vehicles.  It’s not customary to pull off the road when one’s vehicle breaks down. Instead, they generally place grass or brush in the road to notify oncoming traffic to watch out for a stopped vehicle. So why were we on this road, you may be asking???

We were asked to help one of our teams in getting set up in their village location. Their village location is in a remote area south and east of NDJ. The language development work was started there about 20 years ago by another colleague, but has had many interruptions and delays for a myriad of reasons.  The new team is a couple of young single ladies, well, they are in their 30’s, so its young to me. It’s amazing to me, but about 80% of the Wycliffe workers in Chad are single women. Yes, you heard me, single women! These are beautiful, tough, intelligent, tenacious women. I’m a little embarrassed for my male counterparts who are so obviously absent here. Is God just not calling men to this country? I doubt that! So what is going on? Come on men, listen to God and be courageous, like our young woman!

Early morning, looking east out of their compound at the misty, dusty sunrise. 

It’s a flat, grassy, flood plain, good for growing rice in the rainy season, with dots of trees. You can go for hundreds of miles and never cross a power or water line or cell tower. Yet, in my travels I am amazed that people seem to be everywhere. Small villages of just a family clan or language group who had to move on due to lack of farming land and a new village springs up.

The millet processor
Kitchen processing tools.
Winter millet, just harvested

This particular area of Chad grows rice and millet; both a staple. The millet or rice are pounded into a flour, mixed with boiling water and made into a bread dough of sorts. Rice is mostly their cash crop. They get good rains here, but they traditionally end in October, so it is dry right now in February.
Removing a door lock assembly, the hard way!
Judy and I helped clean, sort, arrange, make some repairs and miscellaneous other things the old home needed. Still much to do but we only had two days. The major reason I went was to help survey a nearby runway that had fallen out of use. MAF and other groups had used it for medical evacuation in the past. There is a church run clinic in that town. MAF gave me the survey information, a measuring wheel, and an clinometer to complete the survey. It was a 500 meter runway but with MAF’s newer larger aircraft it needs to be expanded up to 800 meters. The local villages are enthusiastic about getting it back into operation. Three weeks ago Em organized a work party.  In just one day 60 people showed up to clear the existing 500 meters of grass, brush and termite mounds. The remaining 300 meters will be a lot more work as several trees and lots of low growing palms will need removing. It’s all done by machetes, hand made hoes and who knows what else. They hope it should be completed over the next three weeks.
Old runway section just cleared.
300 meters still needing to be cleared for the extended runway.

Both on our way there and as we returned to the capital, we explored new routes for getting the gals out, in case the main road in is blocked. It was interesting as there are no published maps for this area. We did some Google Earth research and could identify most of the way out. A lot of it is what I call simple two tracks; something a 4X4 truck might take or a motorcycle or wagon pulled by oxen or cattle. We did find a few oil pipeline roads. The Chinese are doing extensive oil exploration and processing in the south of Chad. They make roads as they need them. They do not go from village to village, just from processing plant to pumping stations. 
A typical road in the bush 
 Intersection of a two track and oil company roads. 
Every once and awhile we would come to a crossroad. As we were uncertain which was the right one, we’d wait and wait until eventually someone else would arrive and we’d ask for directions. We normally asked two to three different people before settling on a direction. Many people would know the next couple of villages, but for longer distances, like what we were after, they were unfamiliar. But God provided! We never got lost, just had some scenic detours. Fun adventures!! 
We encountered a camel herd
 There must have been a hundred or more camels in three different herds traveling together. Usually they are herded south when the grass and trees dry up, up north. The herders riding on the camels looked like young teenagers. What a life! One of our other single gals we visited a few weeks back is working with the nomads, just like these. She is helping them learn to read in their language. 
A river in the desert.

About half way back we crossed over a river flowing thousands of miles from the rain forest of central Africa, heading for Lake Chad. Just as God’s words are the life-blood for the spiritually thirsty people of Chad so the rivers in the desert feed the people of Chad. You, partnering with Wycliffe, are making this spiritual life blood available for Chadian people. We thank you.

Author: jimjudywycliffejourney

Jim and Judy have been with Wycliffe since 1984. They have served in aviation maintenance/management, motorcycle, and 4X4 training, recruitment, and facilities maintenance in multiple locations in the US and Africa. They currently work with America's Area, North Region, Scripture Access services team. They are a mobile USA team using the internet and face to face encounters with churches, ministries, Native American communities, Diaspora communities, refugee aid organizations, and individuals, introducing them to www.scriptureearth.org. Through this website, those who did not grow up speaking English can access the Bible and other Scripture resources in the language they understand best. Would you consider becoming a part of their Wycliffe ministry partnership team? You can join their prayer or financial team by clicking on https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/JimandJudyMcCabe

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