Le Tchad Dense

Francesco Merlini

2015

Chad

N’Djamena, Mongo, Mondou, Gorè, Zama, the refugee camps of Dosseye and Danamadja. It’s hot everywhere, always, without any truce. People indulge air’s thickness with slow movements. Life is slow, expectations are low.

Chad is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world. Since 1996 power lies firmly in the hands of President Déby and his political party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement. Chad remains plagued by political violence and recurrent attempted coups d’état. The president has prohibited to take pictures in all the country, exploiting the excuse of national security. While the constitution defends liberty of expression, the government has regularly restricted this right, and at the end of 2006 began to enact a system of prior censorship on the media.

Soldiers are everywhere, especially after that Boko Haram has recently attacked the Chadian shore of Lake Chad giving life to new refugee camps near the lake. In the country there are already many refugee camps in the western part of the country near the boarder with Sudan, hosting refugees from Darfur and others, the more recent ones, in the southern region of the country near Gorè, hosting refugees from Central African Republic, many of them with Chadian origins, the so-called “Retourné”. In this district that hosts many camps like Dosseye and Danamadja, population has doubled in the last ten years and continues to grow. In order to save their lives and the lives of their children, tens of thousands of people have escaped across the boarder leaving all their belongings. Now they have nothing and the only source of energy is the wood of the forests. Walking around, here you can see many threes marked with a red cross; ministry’s officials have started to protect this territory from a wild deforestation that would make this territory barren and spare like the rest of the country.

Chad has more than 200 distinct ethnic groups which create diverse social structures. The colonial administration and independent governments have attempted to impose a national society, but for most Chadians the local or regional society remains the most important influence outside the immediate family.

Chad’s greatest ally is France, which maintains more than 1000 soldiers in the country. Déby relies on the French to help repel the rebels, and France gives the Chadian Army logistical and intelligence support for fear of a complete collapse of regional stability. Nevertheless, Franco-Chadian relations were soured by the granting of oil drilling rights to the American Exxon company in 1999.

Discouraged refugees, young rascals, stubborn farmers, proud birds hunters, industrious brides, wise old men. I’ve collected some pieces of a broken country.

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  • A birds hunter with his net in Zama, a small village near Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà. This nomad tribe of men is called by the inhabitants of many villages of Guerà in order to hunt the small birds that eat their cereals plantations. These hunters eat these birds (their reward for their intervention) while the inhabitants of these villages refuse to eat them because it's food not killed in a appropriate way in according to the muslim custom.

  • A map of Chad inside the headquarter of ACRA ong in Goré.

  • Three children in the Odesseye refugee camp, near the boarder with Central African Republic. These refugees are from Central African Republic; Many of them have Chadian origins, the so-called “Retourné”. In this district that hosts many camps like Dosseye and Danamadja, population has doubled in the last ten years and continues to grow. In order to save their lives and the lives of their children, tens of thousands of people have escaped across the boarder leaving all their belongings.

  • A desertic landcsape in the region of Guéra, along the road that connects N'Djamena and Mongo.

  • A man look at the street from a courtyard in Goré.

  • An old man in the Danamadja refugee camp, near the boarder with Central African Republic. These refugees are from Central African Republic; Many of them have Chadian origins, the so-called “Retourné”. In this district that hosts many camps like Dosseye and Danamadja, population has doubled in the last ten years and continues to grow. In order to save their lives and the lives of their children, tens of thousands of people have escaped across the boarder leaving all their belongings.

  • Bricks houses in Gorè

  • Birds hunters in Zama, a small village near Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà. This nomad tribe of men is called by the inhabitants of many villages of Guerà in order to hunt the small birds that eat their cereals plantations. These hunters eat these birds (their reward for their intervention) while the inhabitants of these villages refuse to eat them because it's food not killed in a appropriate way in according to the muslim custom.

  • A break for some women building a water levee in Zama, a small village near Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà. They're breaking stones in order to build artificial dikes with the hope to stop the very few rain that otherwise would flood downstream.

  • A rocky formation in the middle of the desertic region of Guerà.

  • A birds hunter during a meeting in Zama, a small village near Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà. This nomad tribe of men is called by the inhabitants of many villages of Guerà in order to hunt the small birds that eat their cereals plantations. These hunters eat these birds (their reward for their intervention) while the inhabitants of these villages refuse to eat them because it's food not killed in a appropriate way in according to the muslim custom.

  • A cock in a courtyard of Gorè, near the boarder with Central African Republic.

  • Men breaking rocks in order to build a water levee in Zama, a small village near Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà. They're breaking stones in order to build artificial dikes with the hope to stop the very few rain that otherwise would flood downstream.

  • A child in the hospital of the Odesseye refugee camp, near the boarder with Central African Republic. These refugees are from Central African Republic; Many of them have Chadian origins, the so-called “Retourné”. In this district that hosts many camps like Dosseye and Danamadja, population has doubled in the last ten years and continues to grow. In order to save their lives and the lives of their children, tens of thousands of people have escaped across the boarder leaving all their belongings.

  • A group of girls and boys near the entrance of the Danamadja refugee camp, near the boarder with Central African Republic. These refugees are from Central African Republic; Many of them have Chadian origins, the so-called “Retourné”. In this district that hosts many camps like Dosseye and Danamadja, population has doubled in the last ten years and continues to grow. In order to save their lives and the lives of their children, tens of thousands of people have escaped across the boarder leaving all their belongings.

  • A girl among older women during an assembly, in the Danamadja refugee camp, near the boarder with Central African Republic. These refugees are from Central African Republic; Many of them have Chadian origins, the so-called “Retourné”. In this district that hosts many camps like Dosseye and Danamadja, population has doubled in the last ten years and continues to grow. In order to save their lives and the lives of their children, tens of thousands of people have escaped across the boarder leaving all their belongings.

  • Legs of man during a meeting in the Danamadja refugee camp, near the boarder with Central African Republic. These refugees are from Central African Republic; Many of them have Chadian origins, the so-called “Retourné”. In this district that hosts many camps like Dosseye and Danamadja, population has doubled in the last ten years and continues to grow. In order to save their lives and the lives of their children, tens of thousands of people have escaped across the boarder leaving all their belongings.

  • A man in Goré.

  • A child in the hospital of the Odesseye refugee camp, near the boarder with Central African Republic. These refugees are from Central African Republic; Many of them have Chadian origins, the so-called “Retourné”. In this district that hosts many camps like Dosseye and Danamadja, population has doubled in the last ten years and continues to grow. In order to save their lives and the lives of their children, tens of thousands of people have escaped across the boarder leaving all their belongings.

  • A truck on the streets of Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà.

  • An old man in the courtyard of the school of the Odesseye refugee camp, near the boarder with Central African Republic. These refugees are from Central African Republic; Many of them have Chadian origins, the so-called “Retourné”. In this district that hosts many camps like Dosseye and Danamadja, population has doubled in the last ten years and continues to grow. In order to save their lives and the lives of their children, tens of thousands of people have escaped across the boarder leaving all their belongings.

  • A burnt three in the Danamadja refugee camp, near the boarder with Central African republic. These refugees are from Central African Republic; Many of them have Chadian origins, the so-called “Retourné”. In this district that hosts many camps like Dosseye and Danamadja, population has doubled in the last ten years and continues to grow. In order to save their lives and the lives of their children, tens of thousands of people have escaped across the boarder leaving all their belongings.

  • The knife of a member of a birds hunters tribe in Zama, a small village near Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà. This nomad tribe of men is called by the inhabitants of many villages of Guerà in order to hunt the small birds that eat their cereals plantations. These hunters eat these birds (their reward for their intervention) while the inhabitants of these villages refuse to eat them because it's food not killed in a appropriate way in according to the muslim custom.

  • A kid in the Danamadja refugee camp, near the boarder with Central African republic. These refugees are from Central African Republic; Many of them have Chadian origins, the so-called “Retourné”. In this district that hosts many camps like Dosseye and Danamadja, population has doubled in the last ten years and continues to grow. In order to save their lives and the lives of their children, tens of thousands of people have escaped across the boarder leaving all their belongings.

  • The detail of a pick-up in Mondou.

  • The "president" of a birds hunters tribe in Zama, a small village near Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà. This nomad tribe of men is called by the inhabitants of many villages of Guerà in order to hunt the small birds that eat their cereals plantations. These hunters eat these birds (their reward for their intervention) while the inhabitants of these villages refuse to eat them because it's food not killed in a appropriate way in according to the muslim custom.

  • A member of a birds hunters tribe in Zama, a small village near Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà. This nomad tribe of men is called by the inhabitants of many villages of Guerà in order to hunt the small birds that eat their cereals plantations. These hunters eat these birds (their reward for their intervention) while the inhabitants of these villages refuse to eat them because it's food not killed in a appropriate way in according to the muslim custom.

  • A member of a birds hunters tribe in Zama, a small village near Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà. This nomad tribe of men is called by the inhabitants of many villages of Guerà in order to hunt the small birds that eat their cereals plantations. These hunters eat these birds (their reward for their intervention) while the inhabitants of these villages refuse to eat them because it's food not killed in a appropriate way in according to the muslim custom.

  • A member of a birds hunters tribe in Zama, a small village near Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà. This nomad tribe of men is called by the inhabitants of many villages of Guerà in order to hunt the small birds that eat their cereals plantations. These hunters eat these birds (their reward for their intervention) while the inhabitants of these villages refuse to eat them because it's food not killed in a appropriate way in according to the muslim custom.

  • Landscape outside N'Djamena.

  • A kid in Goré near the boarder with Central African Republic.

  • A man in the Odesseye refugee camp, near the boarder with Central African Republic. These refugees are from Central African Republic; Many of them have Chadian origins, the so-called “Retourné”. In this district that hosts many camps like Dosseye and Danamadja, population has doubled in the last ten years and continues to grow. In order to save their lives and the lives of their children, tens of thousands of people have escaped across the boarder leaving all their belongings.

  • A public bus outside N’Djamena on the road toward Mongo.

  • A young man in Goré near the boarder with Central African Republic.

  • Palms in N'Djamena.

  • Children in Zama, a small village near Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà.

  • A knife used by a birds hunters tribe in Zama, a small village near Mongo in the desertic region of Guerà. This nomad tribe of men is called by the inhabitants of many villages of Guerà in order to hunt the small birds that eat their cereals plantations. These hunters eat these birds (their reward for their intervention) while the inhabitants of these villages refuse to eat them because it's food not killed in a appropriate way in according to the muslim custom.


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