Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In Chad…on a crazy moto ride

September 16, 2007
I have finally arrived in Chad! It has been a long and interesting trip. After almost missing my flight to Paris and getting near to lost in the airports, I arrived in the capital, Ndjamena, on Thursday. Job, a pastor of one of the Adventist churches, picked me up and took me to his home to stay until I left for Beré. My bags never made it from France, so I had to wait for them. I was nervous at first, after being warned about a few things having to do with Pastor Job, but I am glad now that I had the chance to rest up in Ndjamena and see the city. I learned a lot in those few days about the people and culture that helped me be a lot more comfortable when traveling to Beré. I went to the markets and even got to visit Cameroon one day!

On Sunday, André, the administrator at the hospital, picked me up early to start our trip to the hospital. We went to catch a bus out of Ndjamena, and ended up waiting a couple hours because the bus drivers won’t leave until the bus is completely full. It was funny to watch all the bus drivers practically fight over each passenger as they came. They try to trick people into paying for their bus by stuffing a bunch of fake bags and strapping them on top to look like the bus is almost full. I felt very lucky, getting to sit in the front squished between the driver and André because the back was crammed with people. It was a 7-hr. trip to Kelo with a few stops along the way including government road blocks where they would try to get me to give them my passport. André was very stubborn about only giving them my copies to look at in his verrrrry slow methodical way. He said that they would make me pay them to get my passport back if I gave it to them.

When we finally made it to Kelo, it was too late to find a car to take us to Beré. André spent a whole hour negotiating and arguing with some moto (motorcycle taxis) drivers about taking us. They wanted more than the usual fare because it was late and the roads were really bad from all the rain. He kept refusing and I picked up a little bit of the French where he was trying to tell them I was a nurse for the hospital and had to get there that night to help people J A crowd gathered all around us to listen and stare at the white girl and interject their own advice. I kept trying to tell him that it didn’t matter, I would just pay it or we could go find a place to stay the night, but I’ve been learning that you can’t rush Africans. They take everything in their own time and will negotiate prices and such for ever! Finally he decided we would find a place to stay in Kelo because the roads were too bad and before I knew it, he jumped on one of the motos and motioned for me to do the same on a different one. I didn’t have time to say I’d never ridden on a motorcycle before and a few moments later I was crazily trying to keep my balance seated behind the driver holding onto my laptop, camera, and water bottle with one of my bags jammed on behind me.

It was dark by now and I started getting nervous about the thought that I was on this moto with some stranger who could easily take off in whatever direction he wanted. Just as I was telling myself that this was just another adventure, the headlight quit and the moto started puttering to a stop. André and his driver never noticed because they were ahead of us and soon they were out of sight. I guess the moto was running out of gas and my driver started walking it down the road looking for gas. We stopped next to a bunch of men smoking and he made me get off while he turned his moto upside down and shook it. I don’t know how that worked, but when he got back on it started again. We took off again, this time barely seeing people and goats in time to swerve around them since the headlight still didn’t work. He was going slower and looking down all the streets which gave me the feeling he didn’t know where we were supposed to go. I was getting more nervous and wishing I could speak French just for a minute to communicate with him since I might be lost in the town with him for awhile. Feeling very helpless, I happened to look up and was greeted by a sky brimming with stars and the moon. It was beautiful and somehow comforted me. I continued to look at them while we weaved through the dark town and thought of the verse in Psalms where David writes, “When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”

Before I knew it, the other moto miraculously found us and we found our way to a room for the night. I’m sitting there right now writing this, feeling incredibly cared for and loved by God…and all because of a few stars!

Tomorrow morning I will be in Beré (I hope) and I can post this as soon as I figure out how the internet works. Thank you for all the prayers while I traveled!


  1. That is an amazing story and I hope you have the time of your life there. Good luck and God bless. I will be praying for you.

  2. Wow, you have been through a worldwind of a trip so far. I'm sure you have extra angels walking by your side at every moment. My prayers are being answered. Enjoy life with the Tchadians and take us with you on your stories of adventure. We want to see through your eyes. Thanks, tas.

  3. Sarah, my prayers are with you continuously and I know the Lord will be with you. You've had an amazing trip already and you've only just started! God has sooo much in store for you. Keep your chin up. Be patient with the language, you know it'll come! ;)
    Señora Bovee

  4. Hey there! I'm so glad you got there safe - sounds like another adventure! I miss you already, but I know I will be comforted by you being only a country away. I will pray for you as much as possible. :) Love ya!

  5. So far it sounds just like one of your typical adventures and the only thing missing...your cohorts, Lisa and Steph! It sounds pretty wonderful so far. You are always in my prayers. By the way,Kirk has some pretty good ideas for power over there just kind of difficult to figure out a way to get them there! Miss you and love you, LyndaH

  6. Sarah,

    Thanks for the update. Please know that you are in our prayers. Jared made a point of praying for you today in class. He really misses you. Blessings to you as you venture into the wide open!

    The Peinados

  7. Wow! That's about all I have to say. But seriously, that is amazing all the things that you have gone through already. It sounds like the adventure of a lifetime. God is really watching out for you, isn't He? I will keep you in my prayers.

    Kevin Van Tassel