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To give you a perspective of what life is like for the women of Chad, we present several personal testimonies of Chadian women from the Guéra, taken from the book "Là où habitent les femmes" (Where the Women Live), edited by Renée Johns and Rachel Bokoro of the Mennonite Central Committee, published in 1993.

     Hanana was not at home when we arrived.  She lived in Monjino, a village of lepers just outside of Mongo.  Her friends told us that she was in the fields; so we took a truck to go get her.  When she saw us, she had a yoke on her shoulders with a heavy load of dried herbs.  She burst out laughing when she saw us.  Despite her hands and feet mutilated by leprosy, she appeared to be incredibly strong and capable.
      While we were chatting and drinking tea, she spoke to us freely and warmly, often making us laugh.  Her eyes shone brightly, she is famous for her singing and even for her dancing.

     I was born here in the Guéra, and I lived here until I was 25 years old.  Then I left for Gedarif in Sudan for thirteen years.  We grew groundnuts and sesame seeds there.  I was there with my brother.  My parents stayed here in the Guéra.  The children of my brother were born in Sudan.  They went to Mecca when the wife of my brother was giving birth.  They stayed there.  We were happy in Sudan.. We grew groundnuts and sesame seeds and I was well pay for my work.  The people were very nice.  I learned to sing in Sudan.  Here, people did not sing much.
     It was during our time in Sudan that I caught leprosy.  First of all, I had red spots on my skin.  Over there, people are afraid of lepers.  They do not want to allow them to ride in the train or in a car with them.  I covered myself with a laffaye (veil) to cover my red spots; thus I took a train, then trucks to return to Chad.  My husband returned with me.  But it was not right that I be married to a healthy man.  This is why I sent him away.  He returned to his family in Am-Timan.  I have never heard from him since.  He could have stayed but I was unable to be his wife since I could not prepare food for him to eat.  I would like to re-marry, but to a leper like myself because I am too mutilated to take care of a big house.
     I returned directly to Mongo because I learned that there were shots that could heal me.  First I was at the hospital, but then they had me go live in a village.  I lost a lot of strength in that place.  There were no shots to take but I took pills.  My feet are now my biggest problem.  There are people in the village who wrap my feet up.  I would not like living in Mongo, I will stay in Monjino.  The people here are not afraid of us lepers in the Mongo market.  They are very nice.  But I prefer to stay here in the village.
     My brother is still in Sudan with his eight children.  I never returned to Sudan.  I do not have any children.  The young lady who lives with me here is the daughter of my brother.  She came from Sudan with me to help me by taking care of me.  She prepares my meals because my hands are too mutilated to prepare boule.  She has two children.  She also works in the fields with me.  We grow sesame seeds and millet.  We are Muslims.  I do not go to the mosque here because women are not authorised to do so.  While in Sudan, I went to the mosque for the religious festivals.  They read the Koran, something I really enjoy.

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