I am proud to be Chadian, this is my country.
Lake Chad, a sea in the heart of Africa
Aidam hails from Lake Chad, on the border with Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon. The lake, which can be mistaken for a sea, covers almost 8% of the African continent and is home to 85 different types of fish. You can even meet hippos and crocodiles there. With his family, he made a living from fishing, setting out with his father on a small motorboat, equipped with fishing nets. “There were small fish, but above all big fish!” warns Aidam. The men went fishing, and the women sold the fish in the markets, on the streets or directly from their homes, carrying the goods on their heads.
Adaim, a fan of Chadian and … Indonesian cuisine
Aidam searches through his memories to find some of his favourite Chadian dishes. Karkandji comes to his mind, also mentioned by Abdelatif (a sign of its popularity in Chad!). “Ah, Karkandji is so good”, recalls Adaim. Like many Chadians, he enjoys kissar, which he eats with bamia, a meat stew made with gombo and tomatoes. But what Aidam prefers most of all is indomie. Neither of us has heard of indomie, although Aidam tells us with certainty that it is also found in Italy and France. Aidam plays a guessing game, giving us a few clues: this dish originated in Asia, and it’s eaten with chopsticks. After a while, we realise that Indomie is the name of a brand of Indonesian noodles that are very popular in Chad and throughout the African continent. Aidam is crazy about these noodles, which he cooks with his Chadian sauce rather than the one in the packet. In Chad, he regularly ate them with fish, “you should try it, it’s very yummy”, he advises us.
Aidam, between football dreams and family desires…
Aidam wants to go to Europe to become a footballer. The central defender used to leave at 3 p.m. after school to train and play for hours on end, three or four times a week. He won numerous tournaments and even a cup in 2017! The Real Madrid and Ittihad Club (Saudi Arabia) fan is ready to do anything to make his dream come true.
Later on, Aidam plans to start a family in Chad, with at least seven or eight children. “In Chad, it’s important to have lots of children”.
He advises visitors to go to Place de la Nation in N’Djamena, where the Cinquantenaire is located. The Cinquantenaire is a historic monument built to mark the country’s independence in 1960. Chadian families like to gather there to drink a kawa or an atay, all together. Before leaving us, he humbly declares “I am proud to be Chadian, this is my country.”