Chad is a very beautiful country. Unfortunately, there are not many places for tourists
Going to school in Rakcha
Abdelatif Mohammed Saleh is a 23-year-old Chadian from the bush in eastern Chad, near Abéché. His village is called Outouchtoune )(challenging to pronounce for foreigners). He used to go to school in Abeche on a Rakcha (a three-wheeled motorbike emblematic of Chad), a three-hour drive from his home.
Now, let’s go on a trip to the Chadian desert!
A trip to Mars
“Chad is a very beautiful country. Unfortunately, there are not many places for tourists,” says Abdelatif. But with a good guide like him, Chad has a lot to offer visitors who venture there! One of the most beautiful regions of Chad is the Tibesti, a mountainous massif in the central Sahara. Between desert and mountains, in Tibesti, you will feel like you are travelling on Mars, among its volcanoes, craters and a particular red colour.
Abdelatif: the Chadian chef in Morocco!
Abdelatif trained as a chef in Morocco with the Fondation Orient-Occident, and cooking holds no secrets! It is, therefore, with a specialist that we will sit down at the table to taste Chadian dishes!
Chad is a country of meat lovers! All kinds of meat: beef, goat, camel, cow, sheep. Fish is also very appreciated, called “Balbout” in Chadian. But Abdelatif also wants us to discover the national specialities of Chad.
The first dish Abdelatif mentions is the Esh, called in good French “the cereal ball”, strangely resembling Italian polenta… Chadians like to accompany it with moula sauce, klouala and gombo (a tropical plant close to the hibiscus). Gombo is widely consumed in Chad, from its green leaves to its stems and seeds to its fruits. It can even be ground into a powder for use as a condiment. Everything is good in gombo!
As a beverage, Chadians consume Karkandji. It is a hibiscus-based drink, both spicy and sour, which can be made into tea. To prepare your Karkandji, you need dry hibiscus flowers, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and cloves! The Karkandji is an ideal place to quench your thirst while preserving your wallet in a very arid region like Chad!
Finally, Abdelatif shared with us his precious recipe of Souroundou rice, which is “so good” according to him! You need carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, goujiya oil (peanut oil), a pinch of salt and, of course, rice! It is also possible to season with other spices (cumin, curry, celery) according to your preferences! Now, let’s get cooking!
Leave at nightfall in the Chadian bush…
A big smile appears when Abdelatif tells us about his evenings in the bush. At dusk, he would go with his friends, on a moto, with a radio into the bush to “escape” the village. It was a very happy moment, under the starry sky of the Chadian desert, where they would tell each other stories, dance and listen to music. They returned only late at night once the whole village was asleep.
He also used to go for long walks with his family before sitting together on a mat for a moment of conviviality and sharing. Wednesdays and Thursdays were days of celebration in his village, with drums resonating throughout the Chadian savannah. Even if he admits he is not a great dancer or singer, he never missed those festive moments!
Abdellatif, the footballer and future Minister of Justice.
Legend has it that Abdelatif was playing football even before he could walk. Playing in all positions, Abdelatif is a team player! “I like to attack, but when someone is weak, you have to go and help him”, the Chadian prefers the collective to individualism! So you can count on Abdellatif to help you on the field!
The athlete is also a diligent student. He has very good memories of his years in school, despite the fact that his teachers were often absent because they were underpaid. He was in a Franco-Arab high school, where he particularly appreciated grammar and literature. The young Chadian thirsts for knowledge and would like to learn more about France’s history, Europe’s and Chad’s. But above all, he wants to study law to become Chad’s Minister of Justice. In his country, people’s rights are disregarded and violated: he wants to restore justice. According to him, there is only one solution: to know the laws to apply them correctly. “I want the law to be respected, without taking sides, neither for the right nor for the left. I just want justice to be done.”
He loves his country, even if he says, “In Chad, there is no future”. He would like to return to his country in a few years, but first, he wants to learn and become a strong man. When he becomes Minister of Justice, he will write a book about his history and try to make Chad a nation that respects human rights. His smile expresses all the will and determination he carries within him.