James & Sarah Appel are spearheading a new Adventist Health International project in Eastern Tchad near the Sudanese border. The hospital will be built using Cal-Earth superadobe technology.
It all started when my friend Djimadjibaye Aimé invited me to meet his colleague, Mahamat Saleh Abakar who was also on the Tchadian constitutional counsel. He'dheard what we were doing in Béré and wondered if the Adventists would come out to start a medical work in his village. So, in July 2009 (click to read blog), Aimé and James drove out with Mahamat Saleh and his brother, Mahamat Hassan Abakar, to Abéché in Eastern Tchad. There they were shown several terrains just outside of town near their birthplace and after they’d chosen one section of land, they drove back to the capital, N’Djamena.
A month later, Mahamat Saleh handed James the deed to the land for the Abougoudam Hospital.
In April 2010, James did a one week training at the Cal-Earth institute on how to build eco-domes and vaults using superadobe technology. Later that month, James and his colleague, Franklin Cobos, were at The Place Fellowship in Thousand Oaks, CA and the pastor was telling them how their mission trip had fallen through. Franklin piped up that they should go help James build a prototype dome in Abougoudam to see if it would work in that part of Africa (the Sahel).
In September 2010 (click to read blog), a group from The Place came to Tchad. Mahamat Saleh met James and the team from California in N’Djamena and loaned them his Land Cruiser for the trip. Late that night they arrived at Mahamat Saleh’s family house in Abéché. James called him at 11pm to inform him. He wished them the best.
Next morning at 6am, Mahamat Saleh’s driver woke James up to tell him that Mahamat Saleh was dead. He’d gone into the mosque at 4:30am and never came out. The family rallied around James and his team to show their continued support for the project as they all grieved together.
In 2011, the Bear Creek Community Church in Lodi helped dig a well for the hospital.
In September 2012, James had a chance to visit the prototype dome and well and found them both holding up well.
In January 2013, Franklin Cobos along with one of the Cal-Earth instructors, Hooman Fazly, came to Tchad and spend six-weeks building a quad-dome structure that will be the eventual Operating Block of the new hospital. Franklin and Hooman’s Tchadian translator, Abraham, came back in April 2013 and finished the three un-capped domes using a 100% Tchadian-only team!
In November 2013, an American surgeon, Scott Gardner, who was planning to go to the Koza Adventist Hospital in Northern Cameroon, was forced to change plans and come to Tchad when the Nigerian terrorist organization, Boko Haram, slipped over into Cameroon and kidnapped a French priest near Koza. Scott and his wife, Bekki, came to Moundou. James and Sarah spent January and February 2014 passing the torch of the Moundou Adventist Surgery Center to Scott and Bekki.
In February 2014 (click to read blog), James drove an ambulance out to Abéché that had been donated by Florida Hospital. James bought a piece of land at that time near Abéché to serve as James and Sarah’s residence.
In March 2014, James and Sarah left Tchad for their annual leave.