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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.

     This was the first Chadian woman I ever met the first morning I arrived in Chad.  She worked with the Mennonite Central Committee at that time and was always very nice and patient with the new volunteers who generally arrive very confused.  That first morning, we went to the market and I remember following her beautiful laffaye (veil) as we passed through the maze of mud that was the central market of N'Djaména.
      For two and a half years I continue to admire Tamar because she faces life with courage.  Her smile illuminates her face and she always offers an encouraging word.

     I come from Mokoulou village.  My mother is Mokoulou and my father is a Sara.  I grew up in Mokoulou and Bitkine.
     My grandfather worked with the first missionaries.  He worked for many years to the point of being sick before he died.  But before dying, he asked my father to stay in the Guéra to continue his work for the Saviour.
     Thus, my father was also an evangelist as his father was.  He did not go to school, but had been educated by the missionaries, taught at the private school in Mokoulou and also evangelised.
     He married my mother and they moved to a village named Djikatchet.  But there were also rebels in the region and my father, a southerner, was suspected of being on the side of the government.  In reality, he did not agree with the president in power.  But the villagers warned my father that the rebels wanted to kill him.  This is why he escaped with his family to go to Bitkine.  And the rebels burned his house down with all the things in it: millet, groundnuts...
     From then on we lived in Bitkine, and from there my father went to other villages to proclaim the Gospel.  When he found people interested in the Gospel, he helped them build a church.  He taught the baptismal courses.  He continued despite all the difficulties.  He still evangelises today, in Bailli among the Bagirmi and other ethnic groups that live there. 
     I went to primary school in Bitkine and went on to Level Six after having obtained my certificate.  There was a women's school in N'Djaména.  Six months later, however, the civil war broke out and we returned to the Guéra.
     During this time I got married.  I was fifteen and a half years old.  I went to school in Mongo and my husband was finishing his studies in Sarh in the south of the country.  He would walk from Sarh to Bitkine.  There were no means of transportation during the war.  But the Southerners were threatened by the Hadjeraï here, just as the Hadjeraï were being threatened in the south.  My husband continued his walk all the way to N'Djaména (about 500 km or 310 mi).  But when all was again calm, he came back and we were assigned to work in Ati.  That is where I was in Level Three and obtained my School Certificate.
     I was also pregnant with twins.  We were concerned and thought about returning to Bitkine for the delivery.  I was eight months along in my pregnancy and the midwife told me I will probably have twins since I weighed more than 50 kg (134 pounds).  I gave birth in Ati on the 30th of September, and the twins are now ten years old.
     After a year and a half in N'Djaména, my husband was assigned to teach in the Guéra and we returned to Mokoulou, where he served in his second teaching post.  We moved several times between Mongo and Bitkine.  In 1987 the Hadjeraï were again threatening him.  My husband walked once again all the way to N'Djaména.  God really watched over him.  He would sometimes walk through the wilderness.  He sometimes passed near to military posts.  And then the children and I travelled in a truck to join him in N'Djaména.  After this, we were assigned to work in the Lake Chad region for a year.  We have now been in N'Djaména for six years.  My husband is still teaching in the primary school.
     Life in N'Djaména is very, very expensive.  I work with several missionaries and have been a volunteer teacher for five years now at my husband's side.  The sewing skills I learned also help me.  I now have a sewing machine.  I have a small storefront against the wall of our concession.  I can sew pants and dresses.
     Despite all this, life is difficult here.  Before, teachers were paid regularly.  At times we live six to seven months without my husband's salary.  This makes me want to return to village life.  When in the village, we can go look for firewood in the wilderness.  We can take water from the well for free.  We can grind our own grain to have flour.  In town, we must pay the mill to grind our grain as well as for our firewood (to cook our food).  Even water must be bought from one of the spigots in town.  It costs
5 CFA (about 0.01 € or US$0.01) for each pail of water.  The spigots belong to businessmen whom we must pay to have water.  I walk about 100 metres (328 feet) to fetch water.  I make several trips each day and pay 5 CFA for each 25 litre (5.5 gallon) pail...
     One time, we spent two days without enough food so that each person could have a taste.  We have fifteen persons in three little rooms.  There is my husband and myself, our children and the members our larger family.  We are used to it, but it is really very tight quarters.  Each family here shelters their brothers, cousins and others.
     I do not have any work right now; from time to time the Mennonite Central Committee or another organisation will come to let me know they have some work for me.  But because I work from time to time with foreigners, other friends and family members think that I have money.  They constantly come asking me for 100 CFA for 50 CFA.  And it is very difficult to say, "I do not have any money."  Even if we have only a little to spare, we are forced to share it.
     There is also a lot of insecurity in N'Djaména.  Not long ago, a brother from the Guéra was taking a walk with a friend.  They met two men who tried to stop them to do them harm.  The man from the Guéra refused, and they killed him.  He had his identity card on him, which is why his death was announced on the radio, and his family went to the police station to get his body.  Here, there is no security.  It was better in the village.  At least one can take a walk without fear.
     I have six children.  The last one is name Anita because it was while I worked with my friend Anita Hostetler with the Mennonite Central Committee that I was expecting.

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