Chad: Gaoui Village

The Gaoui village is a fantastic window into the everyday life of a common rural community in the middle of the inhospitable Sahel semi-desert. The village is famous for its pottery – in fact, it is the major source of revenue. Practically every woman in the village is busy with making giant pots – preparing the mud-based clay by mixing the surrounding dirt and water and adding some binding plant material, shaping the pots, drying them out, and then cooking them by burning cow dung, and finally painting and decorating. As you walk around he village – there are pots in various stages of completion lying everywhere. It takes about a day to make one and it sells for $4 if sold locally, or $10 of you can get to to Ndjamena. Besides pots, Gaoui also specializes in dry cow dung sales – giant donkey-pulled carts drag this stuff for sale. Cow and other dung is the major and often only source of fuel here – there are few trees and no gas or electricity. So I guess you can describe the Gaoui economy as well-diversified energy and value-added manufacturing – from dry cow dung exports to bulk mud claypots production.