- When communicating a serious matter, foreigners sometimes have
the (unconscious) tendency to laugh or smile to ease the tension.
This is seen as extremely inappropriate to a Chadian. Both the
person communicating a problem and the listener should demonstrate
concern by the seriousness of their expression and their intent
- Listening may not and usually does not involve direct eye
contact. It is appropriate for the listener to look past you, lean
back or cross his arms, especially when listening to a teaching or
a sermon. None of this communicates disinterest to the Chadian. It
is more a matter of facial expression. In personal sharing, the
person listening to a problem will often lean forward and look at
the floor. Never talk to a Chadian while staring him or her in
the eyes; he might think you are mad at them.
- Conflict resolution: It is usually appropriate to make an
appointment to see someone to discuss a serious matter. Mediators
are employed in many situations where the foreigner would not
necessarily think to invite a third party: marital disputes,
disagreements between neighbours, etc. It is only appropriate in
business to contact the person of equal status/position to
yourself. You do not go "over someone's head" directly,
without talking to the person first. If you are Christians, it
would be appropriate to follow the Biblical instructions in Matt
18:15-17 of taking a second person with you to confront and
discuss a problem.
- Business is conducted out of relationship. There can not
be an overemphasis of how essential relationship is to any
partnership or collaboration. Eating together, visiting each
others' places of work or homes... these things are basic to
mutual respect and cooperation.
- If your hand is dirty or wet from
working, you offer your wrist instead of your RIGHT hand
(never your left hand-used for after you have gone to the
bathroom.) The person will shake your wrist, or, if his
hands are also dirty, you will shake wrists instead of
- When you want to say, Im
listening to you carefully while someone is talking
to you, you raise your eyebrows high up once. But not too
high-Chadians have said to foreigners who raised their
eyebrows way up, You dont have to shout at
- Try saying K with your mouth closed.
Several of such Ks in sequence sounds like a good
imitation of a pig. But this same sound (one or two
clicks only) is another way of showing you are listening
to the one speaking to you, that you agree, or that (s)he
shaking your hand with a Muslim, you touch your hand to
your heart after you finish shaking hands. This means,
you wish peace to him, and that peace may be on you as
- When eating with Chadians, the greatest compliment
you can give is to remain silent as you eat. Thus you
tell the cook you like the food so much that you are
concentrating on eating and enjoying it. However, this
isn't to say small talk isn't allowed during a meal.
- Men should not walk around in shorts in public.
Shorts in Chadian culture are worn only by babies.
If a man went out in public in shorts, it would be
considered the same as walking around in his underwear!
- Women here find that wearing long dresses in
public, along with a headscarf over their head and
shoulders, increases the respect Chadian men give them.
- Be careful not to admire what a Chadian friend owns, or their
children, especially if they are babies. There is a belief
that when someone covets something belonging to another, power is
released to cause them to lose what is coveted. This is
called the power of the evil eye.
- To see if someone is at home, stand a little bit away from the
door of the house, and clap your hands together five times, very
loudly. We normally do not knock on the door of houses here.