Clark Miller2 Comments

My trip to Chad, Africa

Clark Miller2 Comments
My trip to Chad, Africa

You know as a kid you dream about traveling to see the places you read about in your geography books, but you never think that you would actually go. It's just a dream right? How could a kid from Sulphur, LA go to Africa? Well long story short it happened folks.

If you've looked around my website you know that I give 10% of my profits to fund literacy in Chad, Africa. About a year ago the leaders of the organization invited me to visit and well I bought the tickets, grabbed my visa and in late October I took off to Chad. Here's what I saw!

P.s.I 'll be explaining a lot as you go through so just keep scrolling!

P.s.s. If you want any of these photos printed just send me an email at hello@zoephotography.co I'll be donating 50% of the profits to Literacy in Chad!

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The School

In the past the Daza people have rejected the idea of having their own written language. But in recent years they've allowed my friend Rivers to begin the journey of turning their language into something you can read and write! Fast forward a few years to where they are now, there is entire books and curriculums written in Dazaga and two school buildings have been constructed in a village where more than 60 children are learning their own language as well as math and french! There are even colleges back in the states who are assigning their graphic design students to create illustrations for these Daza books as projects! It's the beginning of a literacy and educational movement in the Daza people! 

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Every morning the kids are given a breakfast of biscuits and milk provided by the school (most families can't afford to eat breakfast) and then they head to class!

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Only in Africa do they teach kids how to read and write through stories about mosquito bites

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We pulled water out of a well with a truck until midnight.

Cause they don't have a well with a pump and there were hundreds of people expected to show up the next day for a celebration. Can't throw a party in the Sahara without water you know?

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The Celebration.

I woke up to drums beating in the center of the village. Today was the day of the cultural celebration and things had already started. As people arrived from the surrounding villages the drummer would pull out his drums to let everyone know another group of guests had arrived. Everyone would run out to the drummer to start dancing and to welcome the guests. And this was probably an hourly occasion.

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aggressive movement, loud yelling and tons of color is what  Daza celebrations are all about.

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Guys would jump into the circle spinning around, hopping and holding up their whips. Then jump back out for someone else to take their turn.

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Even as the dancing was going on, men on horses and camels would ride around the circle yelling and raising their fists and whips.

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The ladies lined the circle and danced around the circle in a line. Popping their shoulders back and forth and tossing up dirt with their feet. Some had decorative swords they would wave around.

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Off to the races.

Idk if it was something I missed or just because of the fact I don't know the language, but abruptly the drumming stopped. Everyone jumped on their camels, horses or piled in the back of the 3 trucks that were there and took off to the race track (a huge desert basin near the village). At this moment it was madness. Imagine being at the center of over 1,000 screaming Daza people all rushing to the same place. At the same time. Camels and horses flying past   on your left and right, The colors of the outfits moving past you like a moving rainbow. The wind whipping sand in your face. Sensory. Overload. I'll be honest, I had to put my camera down because I was overwhelmed with emotion. I knew I didn't need to take a picture to remember what I was seeing and feeling. I knew it was a really slim chance that I would ever experience this again so I just wanted to take it in without looking through my viewfinder. 

 

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Once everybody had made the trek to the race track these dudes stripped down to some athletic gear. THE TURBANS CAME OFF Y"ALL. You knew this was some serious business. Money was on the line. 

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This year's horse racing champ showing off his cash prize.

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Believe it or not, camels are crazy. The race started and about half the camels went in opposite directions. Two even ran backwards. It was HILARIOUS to say the least. These two fellas were first and second place in the race. 

A message from the photographer.

Hey if you made it this far, I love you. Thanks for taking the time to look at this life changing trip I took.

If you want any of these photos printed or if your'e interested in purchasing the photo book I made of this trip, just send me an email at hello@zoephotography.co I'm donating 50% of the profits to Literacy in Chad! 

Here's a pic of me in a turban cause... it's cool?