Four young American students from Midwestern College in Kansas City, Missouri went to Chad to teach English and engage with the culture and the people. MAF was involved in flying them to their hard-to-reach destinations. Stephen, Arshia, Jackson and Jeremiah reflect on their time, in their own words.
Jackson said, “There's a lot of uncertainty when travelling in that part of the world. You never know exactly what type of vehicle you're going to get, the people you're going to be with and you're never know if you're going to break down—or break down several times! So yeah, there was a lot of uncertainty that required a lot of patience at times”.
On flying with MAF, Arshia said, “Our experience flying with MAF was really good. MAF was so helpful for me because I was starting to get sinus congestion. So the quicker we got here, the easier it was for me to rest and not have to worry about the hectic transition of getting here. Our flight was really smooth and everything went well. And I came home, took some medicine and felt better the next day. It was a blessing to be able to fly with MAF!”
Jeremiah recalled that the prior semester at Midwestern they had prepared to go to Chad. He said, “We knew that we were going to be teaching English and working with our friend Calvin in Am Timan, a small town across the country from the capital. He has an English Centre there that he started a couple of years ago. Before we went we took a lot of different classes together and spent time training ourselves in areas like security and how to take care of ourselves in an overseas context. We also studied how different cultures work. The programme that we are in seeks to send people to hard places where things are more difficult and where its important to be prepared, so it was really cool to use and apply all the things that we'd learned”.
In Chad we taught English from level 1 to Level 4 and lived in the English Centre. Jeremiah recalled, “This was my second time here—my impression was; its pretty crazy sometimes. It seems that people sometimes don't really care about a lot of things they do. While many people there love life, there's also the flip side of it, and others seem discontented. So it's been a good to allow God to break our hearts for the people. For those who are discontented, we desire to give them the one true contentment that we find in our lives, and that is the Gospel.
Jackson noted, “One really big impression for me was how easy it was to talk to people there. Just to sit down and talk to them. The people there are inviting and hospitable. It was awesome being able to meet a lot of people and have a good relationship with those I had only known for a few months. But I did notice a paradigm shift between being in the big city and the smaller villages”.
Arshia noticed how in one place people were constantly working and really busy. Yet in Am Timan, they tended to sit and relax all day, every day. That was “the biggest shocker” for me, to see people not working or only working for a certain amount of time during the year”.
Stephen said, “For me one of the coolest things that I experienced was how welcoming the people were, whether it was in their homes or just on the side of the road on a mat. They were very hospitable. But I realised at the same time many people live day to day, doing the same things every day. It's just something I didn't expect. But it was it was good to learn.
Story photo: Stephen, Arshia, Jackson and Jeremiah learning about life in Chad