Boko Haram is still causing havoc. Although Chadian forces and joint military forces from neighboring countries have had a great deal of success in pushing back the jihadist group, Boko Haram is still out to kill. Murdering, sending out suicide bombers, and now we hear of mines. Unfortunately, Chadian military were victims to one of these mines in Nigeria. Four died and twenty were injured.
Although it’s always hard to hear of deaths, we are thankful for the successes of the joint forces that have been able to push Boko Haram back into more inaccessible places such as islands of Lake Chad and the forests of Sambisa near the Cameroon/Nigerian border.
Since its inception in 2009, Boko Haram has caused more than 20,000 deaths and displaced 2.6 million people.
Before our family left Chad in 2012, we thought that it would be a shame if we didn’t try to visit Zakouma, a game park almost the size of the state of Rhode Island and about a 7 hours drive South East of where we lived. After all, who would want to live in Africa for many years and pass up this great opportunity for their children to see big wildlife in their own habitat.
So when we approached the game park, we were excited (and also a bit terrified) to see a herd of elephants crossing our path. We saw a variety of animals including, lions, giraffe, wildebeests, monkeys, ostriches, etc, but the elephants were the funnest.
We had heard of poaching going on at the time and efforts to combat the killings, but we hadn’t realized how great the danger was for elephants in the area until now. An article we just came across in National Geographic reads, ” In 2002 the park was home to more than 4,000 elephants, but by 2010 that figure had plummeted to a mere 400—a 90 percent drop. Experts predicted that Zakouma’s remaining elephants would be gone within two or three years if the situation stayed unchanged.”
As we read in the article, it was only a year prior to our visit that a South African couple was asked to take over management of the park. They initially didn’t want to because of how bleak the situation looked, but they went ahead making several changes to combat the poachers. After several years, it looks like their efforts are finally paying off, and the elephants are finally starting to grow in numbers again. There is more on the elephants’ struggle and this couple’s efforts in Chad, Africa. see full article here
Driving in Chad this past November, one thing that stood out to me was the road from the capital to where we lived in Mongo. That is a distance of around 500 kilometers, a little over 300 miles.
When we first arrived in Chad in 2001, this trip took us almost 9 hours on very rough roads that were best suited to off-road trucks. Over time, Chad and outside entities invested in infrastructure and built roads between the two cities. The trip is now down to around 6-1/2 hours.
While this is an amazing change, what is still needed in this landlocked country is a cost-effective way to import goods and a way of transporting these goods across a country that is over twice the size of Texas.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that discussions were already underway to build a railroad line in Chad. This rail line would connect to the neighboring country of Cameroon, which already has a track that extends to the Atlantic Ocean. A vote was taken in June, and the World Bank is providing funds to research the feasibility. A private firm has also committed to funding the project.
Just 4 short months after this vote, Sudan reached an agreement with two Chinese companies to do a feasibility study on constructing a railroad from the Red Sea to the Chad border. This railway would connect with the proposed Chad railway and result in a transport system that goes from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.
These proposed railways would be fantastic for Chad’s economy and reduce the price of goods for the people of Chad. It looks like it won’t be too long before Chad has its own railroad, and with it, a means to improve a standard of living that remains one of the very worst in the world.
Last April we wrote about a French citizen who was kidnapped in Chad. Unfortunately we find no updates on him. What we do know is that Boko Haram has been making a come-back. There are reports that 381 civilians died at their hands since last April, with the terrorists often using women and children to carry out their suicide bombings. This is mostly in Nigeria and Northern Cameroon, but it also has been impacting our beloved Chad.
“Across the Lake Chad region, millions of civilians are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance as a result of Boko Haram violence.” Here is a link to the article.
Art is planning another trip to Chad in the next couple of months. He has made great progress in translating more books, so at this point it’s time to test the translation. Testing helps Art’s team see if God’s Word is understood and sounds natural to local Dadjo speakers who have never heard it in their own language before. He will be gone for close to three weeks from the middle of October and into November.
There is much to be done before he leaves in order to prepare him for much that has to be done while in Chad. Please pray that his next trip will go smoothly and be fruitful!
Chad, Africa is a third world country. In fact, Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world. For this reason, Chadians are forced to live a lifestyle quite different from your average suburban household. One example is in what they eat.
On the average day, Chadians mostly eat a pasty substance called ‘boule’. It consists of a grain called millet, which is their staple crop. Boule, served in a dome form, is eaten with the hands, and dipped in different sauces before it is consumed. Why boule? It’s cheap. That’s the best reason I can come up with, because, honestly, it doesn’t taste so good… at all. Chadians almost always eat as a group, from the same platter. It is part of their culture. Even though eating from the same plate is – we can’t deny – unsanitary, the average Chadians does it without exception.
Now, on special occasions, or if it’s affordable, Chadians often eat common dishes such as goat meat (which the Aviles kids love). The goat meat there is not what you’d find in the States or Europe either. That’s because it is always tough. The goats run around all they want. It isn’t like they are kept in some cage and taught to just eat all day. The same goes for chicken, which is not consumed as much as goat. Chadians like their meat spicy, so they often use different sauces, or a crushed red pepper mixed with salt. Another food is rice, but rice isn’t eaten even close to as much as millet is. Chadians get most of their other food, such as vegetables, from the outdoor market.
There are only a 2 more days of checking left for the book of Acts! We were hoping that around 12 chapters would be done in these two weeks(there are 28 altogether), but the work has been slower than desired. It seems that the consultant checking would go faster and smoother if the original back-translator would be available for these times of checking, but it has not worked out for him to participate in this way for quite some time now. We are thankful for the replacement back-translator and pray not only that he would be a good help for translation, but that he would be touched in an eye-opening way as he hears God’s Word spoken to him for the first time.
Back-translator: A person who interprets a document previously translated into another language back to the original language.
For example, he translates verses written in Dadjo back into French to see if the Dadjo translation is good.
Yesterday, there were some attacks on two police installations in N’Djamena, with possibly 27 people dead and over a hundred injured. It is still unknown who is responsible for these attacks, but government officials believe that it is Boko Haram. Chad has been engaged in fighting against Boko Haram for several months now along with Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon. Although this is sad and frightening news for the country, and for our colleagues and friends there, we are thankful that Art is back home, and that he was able to meet all of his goals while in Chad last month. Please remember to pray for peace for Chad and for many to be drawn to the one true God no matter what takes place.