Direct consequence of the conflict in neighboring Darfur, the Ouaddaï, a region of eastern Chad bordering Sudan, was for years the theater of a proxy war between Chad and Sudan, which each used rebels and militias to destabilize the other’s regime. In Chad, one of the consequences of the unrest led to heavy displacements of people, fleeing exactions of Sudanese infamous janjawids or Chadian rebels. Over the past decade, eastern Chad overall has welcomed over 250,000 Sudanese refugees and over 170,000 internal displaced persons.
Peace prevails now. Nevertheless, while security improved following agreements reached between the Chadian and Sudanese governments, the situation struggles to improve. The already vulnerable local populations have again been weakened by a demographic concentration in a territory with limited natural resources. The strong drought in 2011 led to an extreme food crisis in 2012. Although the following crop seasons brought relief with satisfying yields, 29% of households remained in debt in early 2015, partly as a consequence of the 2012 food crisis, partly because of the vicious circle of indebtedness for the most vulnerable. Moreover, the population lives in an unproductive environment (poor soils, droughts, locust attacks and unpredictable rainy seasons) that the climate change doesn’t improve, with a limited access to proper means of production and commercialisation, and survives far away from sufficient infrastructure regarding education and health, far away from the capital city.
In such conditions, the men are forced to emigrate in other regions of the country to look for job and to be able to send some money back home. In the village, they have left the wife and the family, remaining without any news and sometimes without receiving money, for months or even years. Some, the rumor says, have started a new life, somewhere else, far from Ouaddaï. Close to the wadi, the dry and sandy riverbeds that revive only during the violent and short rain seasons, the women stand firm, in a strange time of Peace, where this adversary, this time, is the everyday life.