As a young, white, catholic girl i accepted to travel by myself for a job offer to help in a national park in the heart of chad.
- + 6
Highs & Lows
Most incredible culture and wildlife, just the gap between rain season and dry season! so i could experience both
Its like going back in time (not always in a good way)
i arrived at Yamena, i was recieved by Abdul a serious man who held a hand made sign with my name on it. we went to the parks head quarters to meet some of the staff. an hour or so later we drove through the city center and te big bazaar so i could get a sense of the place. The first thing that came to my mmind as we drove was "old" not antique but old. very few walls had been recently painted and most of them still had bullet holes from the past civil war.
As we drove away from Yamena you could see next to the road small villages with houses made of mud, women comming back from water holes over their fully loaded donkeys, men discussing bussiness over a chai and children plaing with whatever they found lying around. we drove for about 6hs until we got to a small hotel in Baldjie where we spent the night. we had dinner at Abdul´s first wife house, and i, as a honorary guest, was invited to a banquet, to enter the mud house we took our shoes off leaving them at the door, and then we sat all together in a circle on the carpet.
The banquete's the entry was fried crickets and as a main course everyone got a little bit of bread with the right hand and digged in the same pot of liber and rumen. needless to say i was not too convienced but i did not want to be rude so i ate everything that was in front of me, while children stared at me from the window while i ate as i was a big novelty, most of them had never seen a white person before.
The next day we were picked up by a plane who took me to Zakouma national park, you can actually get there by car but as it was still rainy season it was easier and safer by plane.
i spent 3 months inside the park. my job was to work with the Rangers and their horses to improve the anti poaching patrol.
i lived 2 minutes away from the stables and 5 from the headquarters. wveryday we would start working at 8 in the morning, stop fror prayer at 12 and continue at 4 after prayer and we would ride all the way to Tinga (7Km) and back, in perfect timming for the next prayer!
Pets were not allowed in the park, not only because of conservation porpuses but also locals did not completely got the idea of what a pet was. so one of the first assigments was to name their horses and learn how to spell the chosen name. It was difficult to say the least! but by the end of my stay, most horses could be identified by another thing other than their fisical faults.
Men (and me) were the only ones allowed to ride stallions and women and children would only be allowed to travel by donkey, camel or by foot. so it was normal for children in the village to cry every day as i rode down road to Tinga.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
better internet connection (But i was there in 2012 so i am sure it has improved a lot)
Anything go wrong during the trip?
i got a student mad a t me and when he was drunk he tryed to get me with a machete, but luckily nothing happened.
How was the food?
tinga has great buffet, they even made a cooking book not too long ago
What tips would you give a friend?
take mosquito spray
it can get really cold really fast so a jacket in your bag isnt too much.