Introduction / History
The Gabri (Gabri-Kimre) live in the Tandjile East District in the south of Chad. Of their 17 villages the most important ones are Kimre (administrative centre), Mode, Bordo, Massa, Mare and Dele. Some people have also moved to N'Djamena (the capital) and to other towns in Chad. There is a dispensary and a small airstrip in Kimre. The schools in Kimre, Mode and Bordo offer full primary education, whereas the other 13 mostly community schools just run some classes, depending on how much time they can get from teachers or teaching-assistants.
Most Gabri are farmers, cultivating millet, peanuts, beans, cotton and in some areas, rice. They raise small animals and wealthier people have cattle mainly for working their fields. Neighbouring people groups are the Sumray, Darbe, Gulay, Ndam, Ngam and Mutu with which they nowadays have good relationships. But there is no language in the area closely related enough for them to understand each other. Many people in the language area do not speak any other language, or speak only to a level needed for marketing. In church services the Bible is usually read in Ngambay or French. Sometimes the sermons are also preached in Ngambay, and translated into Kimre, since most people do not understand Ngambay well enough. Pastors are trained in French or Ngambay.
In the 1970s Kabam Andre, pastor of local churches in the Kimre area, started a language committee, which did the first translations of hymns into Kimre. A literacy project started in 1994, after a writing system had been established. Literacy teaching has continued through the years. Bible translation began in late 1994. The first draft of the NT was completed in February 2001. There are now preliminary editions of Mark's Gospel, Ephesians, Philippians, James, Titus, 1-2 Timothy and 1-2 Peter in circulation. The translation team hopes to have the whole New Testament printed by 2008.
Scripture Prayers for the Kimre in Chad.
Amos & Heather Oumounabidji