Visiting the Gaoui Village

My impression of Chad before getting here proved to be completely wrong. It is relatively cheap, it is very safe and clean and it is easy to organize travels from the capital. I had thought the opposite.

Me and my German travel companion rented a car with a driver for 20 000CFA (approx 30$) to take us to Gaoui Village, about 20km outside the capital N’Djamena. The drive halfway out was on tarmac and the rest on dirt roads. About 5km before we reached the village we drove past a huge camp with Central African refugees. We stopped the car and asked to pay a little for a tour, but the police guards told us no so we just drove on.

Arriving at Gaoui it was all very organized. There was a museum/visitors center where you paid 3000CFA for a guided tour in French. The guy also took us around to show us every part of the village famous for its decorated walls and the clay pots that they are making there.

The kids followed us around everywhere we went, and were a bit dissapointed when we told them that we didn’t have any “bonbons” for them at the end. Everyone were quite friendly and didn’t mind us taking pictures or sit down and ask them about their life there.

One part I found really interesting in the museum was the clay marbles that were used as money there in the Sao Sultanate in the 1700s. Also they masks that were used for rituals, that reminded me a lot of the animist/voodoo masks used in West Africa which was interesting to see so far east.

Chad has been generally been very interesting culturally. It’s like a mix of East African, Arab and West African-the place where they all meet.