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Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part Three
11/22/2019 6:00:00 AM by: Néaouguen Nodjimbadem as told to Becky Cerling Powers

(Parts 1 & 2 stories: I was teaching in a Christian high school in N’Djamena, the capitol of Chad, when civil war erupted. The teachers and students all had to flee the city. I had a traumatic time getting my younger sister and two brothers out of the city, along with my aunt, cousins, older sister, and my sister’s seven children. We fled 350 miles south to my parents in my hometown.)

When we finally reached Moundou, people were fighting there, too. Everything was shut down throughout the country. Soldiers were shooting civilians, raping the women, extorting food and money, and plundering the goods and property of fleeing refugees.

Losing the school

We completely lost the school term from February to November, but we thought it was important for the students to get their education even with war going on. We believed education would be the solution to end the war in Chad. If people are educated, we thought, then they can learn to sit down and talk about what is good for the country instead of just killing each other.

Re-opening the school

Because of the fighting still going on in N’Djamena, we transferred the school to a village down south. Then we had to call all our students back to open the school. We made announcements over the radio to try to contact them. They didn’t all come back because of the whole dangerous situation. It was hard for parents to let their kids go away. But some came back, and we started the school.

The teachers’ financial sacrifices

All the teachers made sacrifices to keep the school going. The financial situation was hard. What little money we could collect every month, we divided among us. Each received the same amount. It was not that great, but we shared and made sacrifices to make it possible for the school to continue.

The teachers’ personal sacrifices

Many of the students had no one to take care of them and no money to pay for housing or food. So each of the teachers took care of two or three students. They lived with us, and we met their expenses. I had three kids with me. It was important for me to help those kids keep going in their education. I knew that without support, they would have to drop out.

I’m happy I did that for those kids. Today one of them is a high school teacher. Another one is married with children, and a third one is working as a telecommunications technician.

Restoring the school

The school is still in operation today back in N’Djamena. All their buildings survived, although they were damaged – all the roofs were gone, and so were all the doors, windows and equipment. The church rebuilt everything.

The ancient example

 “All the believers were of one heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own; they shared everything they had” (Acts 4:32 NLT).

Today’s prayer

Dear God, thank you for sending a spirit of love and cooperation to this group of teachers and students so that they were able to work in harmony. Please work in the hearts of the Chadian people so that they will be willing to cooperate with each other to maintain order, freedom of speech and freedom of religious belief in their country. Amen.

Resource: BBC’s timeline for Chad 1946 to 2017, with pictures: https://grondamorin.com/2017/04/30/bbcs-timeline-for-chad-africa-from-1946-2017/


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