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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.

     Sakarier is a very pretty young woman with a timid smile.  I did not know her before I went to a friend's house to meet her and listen to her tell her story.  While the others listened and asked questions, she gently shared the events of her life.

     I was born in Mokoulou.  When I was 12 years old, we moved to Tchalon.  When I was fifteen years old I married a man from Mokoulou.  I did not live long with him.  He sent me away, and I went back to my parents in Tchalon.
     A short time later, I got to know another man and we got married.  He was in military service and we were sent to serve in N'Djaména, then in Oum-Hadjer and Mangalmé.  We lived in Mangalmé for a year when the civil war of 1979-80 broke out.  There were a lot of soldiers there.  They attacked Mangalmé at five in the morning.  I had just given birth to my first child.  We had two rooms and a large shaded porch in the middle of the compound.  The shaded porch, being covered with straw mats, caught fire.  I left my house, holding my baby, and they immediately opened fire on me.  The bullet went through my shoulder blade and left through my stomach.  I fell to the ground, wondering what had happened.  I felt nothing at all, as I lay on the ground.
     The rebels retreated and the shooting ended.  There were a lot of people killed.  They spent two days burying the dead, the second day under torrential rain.  They gathered all the wounded soldiers and a military plane came to pick them up.  My husband asked them to take me but they refused, saying that a woman should not go with the soldiers.  My husband decided to abandon his post to take care of me.  At the same time, among the other soldiers, no one was authorised to leave his post.  Thus they were obliged to take me with the other wounded.
     After my treatment I returned to Mangalmé.  Nine days later, we were sent to Bol, and after a few years of being there we returned to Tchalon.
     I had two fellow wives to my husband.  I was the second wife of the three.  There were occasionally problems between us.  For example, the two other wives were Dangaléat.  Among the Dangaléat, co-spouses prepare their meals and eat them separately.  I am Moukoulou and in our tradition the co-spouses prepare one meal and eat together.
     So, the two other women went to see the Marabout (Muslim religious leader), and soon after that my husband sent me away.  Among the Muslims one can pay a Marabout to do evil to his neighbour.  For example, a woman can ask the Marabout to make her co-spouse to lose her sanity, or a man can ask the Marabout to make him charms so that a woman will really fall in love with him.
     I raised my five children until today.  God was with me in my difficulties.  My father was sick from a sickness cast upon him as a spell and he was inhabited by ants.  Then in 1974 there was a famine and we ate leaves from the soapberry tree.
     My husband is Dangaléat and among the Dangaléat the men grow the millet while the women grow groundnuts, sesame seeds, okra, etc.  Among the Moukoulou, however, the couple works together in all the fields.
     Among the Muslims, one must pray five times per day: very early in the morning (around 4:00 AM or so), at 1 PM, 3 PM, 6 PM and 7 PM.  One must also fast for one entire month (the month of Ramadan) without eating anything during the day.

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