Chad, Africa: Junkyard Boss

16 March
We decided to give the men a taste of some good ol’ rock ‘n roll to get the day started. At 6:30 a.m. we blasted some Led Zeppelin and they got a good laugh out of my air guitar. I thought they might think of me as the white devil but one of the men came over and asked if we could all get together on our day off and show each other our music. Again, I have to say, I was very surprised. Next, I think I will try Dr. Dre, Nirvana, Radiohead, and Bob Marley. That throws a pretty wide net of classics to get them started.

My wife just booked my son and I five nights at my favorite campsite in southern California for when I return in 3.5 weeks. Our campsite is right on the beach and it is a sweet beach. Just in case you were wondering, yes, it’s a secret (don’t ask) and, no, you probably haven’t been there before. From where I am standing right now in this dusty, windy, boiling sandbox in eastern Chad, being at that campsite is hard to imagine and seems like such a luxury. We sure do have it good over there in sunny California. Most people can only dream of that kind of coastline.

Saji moved over to the clinic site this morning to tackle the plumbing and the floors. Good on him. Now I am alone and have the whole Westfalia bus to myself, but no one to enjoy it with. Aww, shucks. I am not alone really but the other twenty men only speak Arabic or French except Abraham. They sit around at night playing cards, listening to cheesy music, or scrolling through their ringtone options which seriously annoys me.

We also caught a hedgehog this morning. They are so cute and friendly! Good thing I didn’t get too attached though because Saji should be eating it just about now. When I was with him as an apprentice at Cal-Earth I taught him how to make a killer trap and he ended up cooking rabbit and squirrel, no joke. We both agreed that hedgehog kebab does have a ring to it.

I finished both of my books already, ‘Pyramid Quest’ by Robert Schoch and ‘Heaven’s Mirror’ by Graham Hancock. I have limited electricity so all of my pdf’s are off limits. Bummer. I guess that means you get to hear more of my rambling so I hope you’re listening. Is anyone out there?

When I run across a good quote I scribble it down in my notebook. Here are a few I came across while flipping through some pages tonight. I will leave you with these thoughts before I hit the sack.

“For every unfortunate they kill, they cure a thousand”
John Muir on trails

“When you drink, you see, and when you see, you can’t unsee”
on Ayahuasca

“There is no other, it is all one”
Ram Dass

“The water you drink today may have once been Cleopatra’s bathwater”

“Do you want to put your attention to the world that is dying or the world that is being born?”

17 March
I have been eating a lot of sand lately. Not by choice, of course, it’s just the nature of cooking outside on the ground in windy desert conditions. For a while I thought it might be salt until I realized the obvious. It’s something you just have to get used to here. Well, that and eating gristle with intestines. I have never eaten intestines before in my life and, trust me, it is hard to swallow. It made me feel dirty to eat it and I can pretty much handle anything that comes my way.

I love junkyards. No one even knew there was one here in Abeche until I told them, and they live here. The first thing I do when I arrive anywhere is to smoke out the junkyard. They are a wealth of materials that can be recycled into sustainable housing. Also, they are completely interesting in a real life curiosity shop kind of way. I would call myself ‘The Garbage Warrior’ except that Mike Reynolds from Earthship already snagged that title. Hmm, what about… ‘The Junkyard Boss?’ If anyone ever makes a movie about my life with that title (unlikely) I want the actor who plays my role to be Joe Pesci, although he looks nothing like me. I guess I’ll have to settle for Ray Liotta.

Well, the door forms are all in and we install the vents tomorrow. After that it’s a race to window height. By that time I will have the window forms fabricated. I am doing a shopping run tomorrow to purchase wood for the forms, pipes for the vents, chain for the compasses, and plumbing supplies for the clinic. It should be our final large run to town for materials.

Just a tidbit of information before I go. First, you must remember where I am, eastern Chad, desert country in the center of Africa. Landlocked, hot, dry, far away from any ocean. I was speaking with our driver and found out that his name, Alhouti, means whale.

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2 Responses to Chad, Africa: Junkyard Boss

  1. Cheryl says:

    Love this: “Do you want to put your attention to the world that is dying or the world that is being born?”
    Thank you for the reminder…

  2. Hooman says:

    Hedgehog kabob, huh? I’m glad I left those scewers!

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