Doumogou II


On a clear and almost crisp Monday morning in January, I started my second road trip down south to Doumougou. We were a team of three. An American Wycliffe volunteer, an employee, and myself.  It all started weeks ago researching equipment needed to install a cell phone range extender for our team in Doumougou. It’s not something available here in Chad so it came in from Europe. Around that time we also received a request to do a facilities maintenance inspection at an SIL associate organisation called Ataltrab, in Moundou about a five hour drive from Doumougou.  Its best done by someone who is a visitor as they can see things that a resident has already gotten use to and no longer sees as an issue.


It was an eleven hour drive. One reason for the employee joining us was to help him get some driving experience. It was excellent for him, scary for me! He’s not a bad driver, just doesn’t have much experience. After he made a couple of swerves to miss errant chickens, I had to explain that we don’t endanger a car full of people and a $40,000 vehicle to save  a chickens life. Its OK to slow down fast, but we do not turn to avoid it. A few days latter I was driving about 60 mph when a goat got confused right in front of me. I hit the brakes hard and honked but I did not swerve. The goat did not survive the encounter. His sacrifice was a good teaching moment.

The last hour of the day, it was dark and I was driving just outside of Moundou. A group of fast cars were on my tail. I was watching them in my rear view mirror thinking, “How can I help them pass me on an unlit road, full of pot holes and no shoulder.” All of a sudden I saw a fast approaching police check point in front of me with cone barriers. Slamming on the brakes, I skid right on through catching a traffic cone under the front wheel. I totally destroyed it.  I was 30 feet past the check point off to one side and the three cars following me went flying past. I paused thinking, “Should I stay or should I go?” Right about then the police were running towards me, yelling and blowing their whistles.  I couldn’t see them in the dark, but I could hear them.  I took my foot off the brake and the yelling drastically increased. I knew I had to go back, so I shifted into reverse and met them in the dark.

P1570011     traffic-cone-2

I apologized profusely and offered to pay for the traffic cone. Somewhat out of breath, he excitedly, but politely, requested my drivers license and all of the vehicles paperwork, then abruptly left, walking back to his unlit and now damaged check point. In the dark, it got silent. I’m thinking, “That could have gone much worse.” Thank you Jesus!  After ten minutes, the police did not return and my Chadian employee offered to go and see how he could help. He was gone about ten minutes and came back saying they were keeping the paperwork and I could pick it up at the police station in Moundou tomorrow.  I shot up an arrow prayer, “What should I do now Jesus?” I wanted to pay for the cone, so I gave my employee 5,000 cfa  ($10) asking him to go back and pay the police for the traffic cone I destroyed. I know I owed them at least that. He came back in ten minutes with all of the paperwork and my drivers license.  Thank you, Jesus!

Our three nights at Ataltrab went fast. Stan and I did a detailed inspection of their facility which will give me the data needed to write a report for future required maintenance. This report will help them apply for funding needed to get the maintenance completed and possibly help them find volunteers to come do the work.

Thursday we hit the road again right at day break. The following letter is by Stan S. the Wycliffe volunteer who came to help me for five weeks. I’m using it with his permission.

some-of-our-roads-were-actually-paved-in-places One of the more exciting bridges we drove over.

The fourth evening found us sitting outside a missionary’s home, at a small table, eating a small supper by the light of two solar powered lamps.  We had carried out the geographical instruction of Acts 1:8, having traveled that day about 5 hours on dirt roads to reach what qualifies as “the uttermost part of the earth.”  The roads to get here that day went from paved roads, to really bad paved roads, to elevated dirt roads, to dirt roads with sand and dust, and the last miles were on what is called a “two track” road because the wheels wear down the grass and leave two tracks.

For four days, I had only seen one other vehicle with white occupants in it.  Other than that one sighting, and the Catholic nun in Lai, there were no white persons to be seen.  If you are white, you are a rarity as you pass through all the little towns and villages.  Most of the little children excitedly point and call out, “Nasara, Nasara”  emphasis on the sa, which roughly means  “followers of the Man from Nazareth” possibly because many of the  white people coming through are missionaries, talking about Jesus.

dscn0954  In recent years fired brick making has become popular.  read more about it…

The savanna in this region of Chad is basically flat, and the grass is dry.   There is no running water, no electricity, and no 7-11 stores in which to purchase anything in this village.  If you want water, you go to the community well and use the foot or hand pump to get it.  If you want privacy from all of the little children that have little else to do but to watch you all day, then you simply go inside and shut the door of your thatched roof dwelling.

dscn0905        Kids and adults are curious about the happenings going on at the Nasara’s house

Mosquito nets are used to help protect you from getting eaten alive at night, and some of those mosquitoes can easily be carrying malaria.  It is the dry season now, so mosquitoes are not as prolific, but some are still alive and let you know it.  It is also the coolest month of the year, regardless of the fact that it has been around 95 degrees most every day since I have been here.  The fact that “A” & “E,” two young white single missionary women (from Switzerland and the US) have taken up the mantle to do literacy and Bible translation here is rather astounding.  At this moment, “E” is actually off doing literacy work in another nearby (6 hour drive) but remote village. Normal people would never vacation here, and neither of these women are on vacation.


A typical kitchen, here a daughter is preparing the evening meal. Often they only eat one cooked meal a day.  That is the kitchen hut behind her. There is another for sleeping.

The stars are really bright out here because there are no city lights—no electricity—anywhere, for miles and miles.  As I ate some good food that was prepared on a propane stove by “A,” I pondered again at what had compelled me to volunteer for this assignment. “No one volunteers to come here” I have been told more than once.  The hippos and the camels that I had seen earlier in the week only reinforced the fact that I have never been anywhere like this before.  I didn’t stay cerebral for very long, as for the second time in as many minutes I asked myself, “What is that, crawling up my leg, under my pants?”

chad-download-1-027   chad-download-1-041

After I was done eating and listening to the many evening noises of the settling village, I went into my thatched roof hut and turned in for the night.  The following day we were to install the antenna that we had brought in and assembled just before dark.


One reason for our coming  was to install a signal booster antenna in hopes of picking up a signal from a cell phone tower that is quite distant from here.  There is no other way for the missionary partners that live here to communicate with the outside world unless they get in their vehicle and drive a long distance to where they can get a faint signal.


If they could get a good signal at their home, then they could also use the Internet on their smart phone, and this would not only assist them in doing their work here but reinforce the fact that they are actually still living in the 21st century.

dscn0881  Jim and Moussa on the roof goofing around a bit while installing the system.

Another reason we came here was to figure out why the solar panels on the roof weren’t recharging the batteries to provide the 12 volt power that is used to run the fridge (cooler box) and laptops that could be used here.  A third reason we came was to make minor repairs and to change all of the locks that were either not functioning or were compromised because the caretaker’s home was broken into and all of the keys were stolen. Look familiar? I had to chisel out that door assembly last time here in 2016. Thankfully we just had to change the lock assembly.

i-installed-a-latch-on-the-door-of-the-hut-that-i-slept-in Stan Swank, just finished repairing a door. It was fun experiencing African life through his “new to Chad” eyes.

We were extremely successful at accomplishing our third reason for coming, but we were unsuccessful regarding our two major goals.  The cell tower was too far away for the booster antenna to work, and a broken controller in the solar wiring made it impossible to operate the solar system.  It will be a while before another attempt will be made by Jim’s crew to come fix this situation.  “A” or “E” can easily replace the controller, which A did the following week, but they are still waiting on another possible cell phone extender. Pray one can arrive with some visitors from the states this month.

dscn0902 Above the house and above the trees you can see the antenna we installed.

“A” has been physically sick and has waited weeks for someone to come make this place more livable.  It was heartbreaking and conditions were such that she elected to return with us to the SIL Center in N’Djamena.  It took us around 11 hours on Saturday to make that journey in the Toyota Land Cruiser.  Much, if not most, of that travel was on unpaved roads. The ruts, rocks and pot holes were amazing to behold. A thorough shaking was had by all.

It is now Sunday, and I have enjoyed a little R & R this day.  I am in good health and am now looking forward to working this week around the SIL center here in N’Djamena.  (Often pronounced “Jamayna.”)  Thank you so much for your prayers and support.  I saw a lot of poverty this week and realize how greatly I have been blessed.

oxen-were-a-common-sight  Boys helping out by gathering palm stocks. I have no idea how they will be used. A local blacksmith built those wheels.The tack is all home made from local materials.

I would ask that you add the missionaries here to your prayer list.   Their tasks are overwhelming at times, and there have been a lot of hindrances to the work.

End of Stan’s letter.

The following are some more good photos from this trip I just didn’t want to leave off.

this-is-picturesque-but-it-is-hot-and-sometimes-very-heavy-work  making-some-meal-along-the-road                                        The women of Africa are incredibly hard workers

this-certainly-beats-walking-in-the-hot-sun  dscn1172      They are very industrious, using whatever means available. She is selling                     fresh camel milk in recycled water bottles.

dscn1151  chad-download-1-022 Water melons rice, millet or other grains for sale. No idea what the little girl was selling.

dscn1085  dscn0853   Everybody helps in whatever way they can for the family to survive and prosper.

dscn0914  a-common-sight-in-southern-chad                         A happy donkey and hard working hungry cattle. Life is not easy.

Thanks for your prayers. We hope you feel a bit closer to what you are investing time, money and prayers in.  Jim and Judy McCabe

New Years McFire

Jim McPyro New Years Eve Bomb Fire
Jim McPryo panicking because the McFire has gotten TOO big and is threatening the dry desert trees just to the east.
Judy McPyro laughting at the situation, McFearless she is at times.
Jim McFireMan getting flames under control
Calm composure setting in (especially for McPyro)
Happy New Years from Chad

Ouaddai 4X4 Adventure

Dec 7 – 18th, 2016

Ouaddai 4X4 Adventure

Chad, Africa, Eastern Region


After three hours it was my turn driving the Toyota Land Cruiser dodging the pot holes, ruts, craters and massively deteriorated roadside with a 3 -5 foot drop off. This was the paved two lane main highway east through the country. In both directions vehicles were driving as if on a double diamond downhill ski slalom, taking up the whole road and at times jumping off the road to try and find smoother ground. As you might imagine, this is very focused driving. About four hours out I noticed the truck steering pulling to the left. I’m thinking to myself, that’s new, why would it be pulling to the left? The light comes on in my mind, a tire is going flat! Right at this point the road is level with the surrounding terrine and I pull off.  The tire is destroyed, but still intact. This is why one buys good quality tires! It takes about 15 minutes to change the tire. Our teams always carry two spares. In the process I asked the owner of the Land Cruiser, “In your 20 years of living and working here, do you have any idea how many tires you have changed?” She said no, but in her first year, on one two week survey trip they had 13 flats. She is a prime example of the single ladies who come to work in Chad. The bold, beautiful, courageous, intelligent, enterprising, sacrificing single women who are willing to go and do what so few men would ever think of doing. I’m in awe of these women.


On this trip I was able to help out four teams with upgrades to solar systems, structural housing repairs, plumbing, electrical, automotive, refrigeration and even a kitty door installation. Before you start thinking, wow, he can do a lot, please know it’s God using this cracked pot (me). I often find myself in over my head. When possible I email, call or Skype friends who are actually good at these different things and I get advice as I go. Sometimes it’s just a prayer, “God, please don’t let me mess this up.” God is good, I am willing, people get helped and we all get blessed for it.


For one lady, I built a wooden box with insulation inside that slips over her tabletop solar refrigerator freezer. It’s a beautiful stainless steel fridge, but it’s always cold on the outside. That told me it doesn’t have enough insulation in its walls. The heat transfer coils are located on the small front and side cut outs allowing me to do this type of modification. Hopefully it will be more efficient now. And it is so pretty!


In this photo I am replacing dry rotted lumber and adding three 4″X4″X20′ support beams to the roof, that will allow the team coming after Christmas to install a good sized set of solar panels on the roof.

Vehicles in Chad

With my love of 4X4 vehicles, I have to digress the maintenance now. Below is an example of the bush taxi I took to the far east, near some Darfur refuge camps. In our early days in Cameroon we took bush taxis that were old beat up passenger vans, massively over loaded and going places they never should have. But today here in Chad, there are many of these Toyota Hardtop Troop carriers acting as bush taxis. In general they are the right vehicle for the job; one of the toughest production vehicles made. There were 11 of us in this one. Just as we were heading into the bush we came to a police and immigration check point. They asked all of the men for identity papers. I gave them my passport. After going page by page and back again they said they were sorry, but I didn’t seem to have authorization for going into this part of the country. Oh yeah,  the special papers I was carrying that were stamped by the the proper gov’t office in N’Djamena, These were my authorization for entering this area. They weren’t overly happy with these additional papers. They really wanted to see a stamp inside the passport. I also don’t know Chadian Arabic, which is spoken more than French out here. I called the teammate with the new fridge cover, who lived 5 minutes away. She was there in four minutes and after she spoke with the authorities, in Arabic, they allowed me to continue. Being able to communicate in the local language sure is important.


So, this Land Cruiser climbing out of a dry river wash is exactly how we did it over and over again on our 4 hour journey. Very steep entry and exit to and from the wash. Our taxi had an excellent driver, but his vehicle had some mechanical problems. The 4X4 system was not operational and his transmission clutch mechanism was slowly becoming disabled. About two hours into our four hour trip the clutch quit completely, meaning it would no longer disengage. This meant each time he stopped he had to turn the engine off, put it in second gear and use the starter to get the vehicle moving and the engine started. He had a very difficult time shifting to a higher or lower gear after that. A diesel engine has low rpm power, so sometimes when crossing the soft sandy wash, the vehicle would sink in. When that happened the engine would slow down and he really needed to down shift to first, but couldn’t. Amazingly it kept chugging along and most of the time we made it through. Just twice did it quit while in the middle of the wash. Once there were men waiting to help push people through, (for a small payment of course). The next time was a 1/4 mile wide wash and we were behind a small vehicle that did not have enough ground clearance. It got stuck when the underside of the vehicle started dragging in the sand and the drive tires just couldn’t get traction any more. Its called being high centered.  Our driver did a sharp left turn trying not to hit them. As he got off the path, we sunk quickly getting stuck right along side the other vehicle. All 11 of us surrounded the other stuck vehicle and tried with all our might to get them unstuck. But we couldn’t. They would have to wait for a larger vehicle to tow them out. Then 10 of us got around our stuck vehicle, pushed and got ours free. This only happened three times before we made it across that wash!!!


God is good, all the time. I love this work, but I am wearing out.

Prayer requests:

God, please send a young maintenance couple or family to replace us.

Pray for courage and wisdom for followers of Jesus in Chad.

Pray for Gods words to bring people to Him and help them know Him.

Pray for our funding, we are still at about 75% of where we should be.

Pray for the country of Chad, its in a severe financial crisis and looks to get worse in the new year.

We are so grateful for you our team, we could never do this without you!

Jim and Judy McCabe

Everyone was yelling…

The taxi driver picked us up at 5:30 AM. We arrived at the station at 5:40 for our 6 AM departure. Our driver parked the car directly in front of the tour bus. There must have been a 50 or more people milling around that bus; some selling breakfast snacks, trinkets and water. Others, I have no idea, why there were there. But it seems everyone was yelling something. The bus driver was revving the engine and honking his musical horn. He was actually slowly creeping the bus forward. As we opened the taxi doors they started shouting “where to, where to!” The taxi driver opened the trunk to get our bags, several people shoved their hands into the trunk to get the bags and kept shouting, “where to where to”.  I said, “Mongo”, and the bags almost disappeared. I had to do some tugging to get my small hand carry I wanted on board and then the bags disappear to the side of the bus. The taxi driver pointed me in the direction of a small table with a man writing in a journal; it was the check in point. He grabbed our tickets, scribbled our seat numbers on them, shoved them back and said hurry, go! The bus was creeping forward honking his horn, vendors were clogging the bus door entry trying for that last sale. I was waving my tickets towards the driver, trying to let him know we are trying to get on board. The bus still creeping forward, horn honking. Judy was behind me, somewhere, I could just barely glimpse her through the throng. She was being propelled by the throng towards the bus door. Then boom, we were there, looking for our seats and trying to find a place for my hand carry.  5:45 AM and it was now moving, not creeping forward. It followed our taxi man as he backed out and we were on our way; 15 minutes early.

Bus to Mongo,  reminded me of the inside of a casino.

Because of your prayers, it was a great trip. We are so thankful for YOU our team. You are impacting lives for Jesus, because of what you are doing. (Praying, giving and advocating for us) Please keep it up! The service Judy and I did allowed our fellow front line colleagues there in the Guera to keep focused on the “main thing”, working with their language teams, to get God’s Words into three different languages.  But remember, these are never just languages, these are people who need to know Jesus in the pure and simple way you and I know Him. We know Him, because of the Bible in our language and the Holy Spirit working in our lives. These remote people groups in the middle of Chad are getting an incredible gift of hearing God speak their language and starting to really understand it. Judy and I have the wonderful privilege of being on the front lines and seeing the results first hand. On Sunday we attended a church that was in three languages, French, Chadian Arabic (2014 dedication) and Kenga (2012 dedication). The singing, the worship, the prayers and the power of the Holy Spirit was energizing. We thank you and they thank you, for your part in making this happen.

Judy after church in Bitkine

Back to the bus… It was a tour bus! These are brand new here in Chad and used for general long distant travel. Assigned seats, one person to a seat, very comfortable overall and very nice.  We were the only non Chadians on board and felt very comfortable. They have thick plush curtains inside covering the windows, very pretty, probably made it cooler inside, but very difficult to see the outdoor scenery or get a foggy idea of where one is. There was working air-conditioning and two drop down video screens playing Chadian or French African music videos. Mostly conservative, so as to not offend the Islamic culture. Then they played a video, “The Gods Must be Crazy 2”. It was in English, sub-titled in Arabic. If you haven’t seen it you need to. It’s roughly 25 – 30 years old, but the Chadians on the bus were laughing so hard it was enjoyable just watching them.

This trip to Mongo took us 6 hours. Twenty five years ago when I first drove a 4X4 on this same road it took about 18 hours. We did an over-night half way back then. It was slow and rough. Progress is being made in many areas.

Its been a month since the last rain, but its still humid with temperature highs 95 – 105F and lows in the mid to upper 80’s There is no air-conditioning at the Mongo center, just a small 12v fan in our bedroom. Judy has a spray bottle and we would spray ourselves in front of the fan to cool down.  We took bucket showers from well water. It was an adventure!

End of rainy season, lots of small lakes

The work Judy and I do is not rocket science, its just basic service through maintenance and assistance. If you could imagine your current workload and having to add to that, doing all of the maintenance and repair of the the buildings and equipment you work with, in addition to your job. How much of your actual job might you get done? That is what our translators are up against. Without people like Judy and I, they  spend 1/2 of their time just surviving, trying to accomplish work they have no training or skill sets in. They really thank you for sending and keeping us here.

Pumping water to the tower
Ab Touyour peak near Bitkine
African bush water hole


Millet in field


Trucks on a narrow Mongo road
Thanks for your partnership,
Jim & Judy McCabe 
Tucson, AZ April – September
N’Djamena, Chad, October – March

Oct 24 prayer update

Greetings team
Judy and I leave early tomorrow morning for Mongo. Its sort of in the middle of Chad, a third of the way up. We are taking a bus and its estimated to be a 6 or 7 hour drive. We are going to the SIL Mongo office to do some needed repairs. The refrigerator has stopped operating, and there are some electrical and plumbing issues. It looks like we’ll be there a week. Then drive back with several of the team there who need to go back to N’Djamena. So pray for us:
*Safe travel
*Wisdom in getting the work done correctly. I’m not much of a refrigerator guy. So I’m relying on God to get it done through me.
*Good relationships with colleagues and nationals.
*Physical strength. Its been hard getting over jet-lag this time.  We will have less amenities, like a fan or cold water…not whining…just it is a remote village!
* That we stay healthy, there has been a lot of fall colds going around. Temps are fall like – in the mid 90’s and low 80’s.
Remember, God smiles when ever He thinks of you!
Jim & Judy McCabe
Tucson, AZ April – September
N’Djamena, Chad, October – March;