Chaos as Norm – we stay in Chad for at least one more day…and who knows.

Hello from N’Djamena:

We made it safely out of Eastern Chad, right before violence and instability broke out; we could have been stuck there, since the road we last traveled was closed down the very next day. Our friends in the camps are not as lucky, with aid staff being relocated and services being stopped; refugees themselves are now managing the basics, such as food and water. In Guereda, from where we went to camps Kounoungou and Mile, UNHCR staff has been evacuated. Five cars were stolen, and armed men went in to their compound. There is complete impunity and chaos in that area.

In N’Djamena, it is not any more stable. The rebels have surrounded the city, with some fighting going on just a few kilometers outside. Our flight out scheduled for tonight has been cancelled, and it is one day at a time from here out. The airport is closed to all but military flights.

There is an eerie feeling of calm in this city because of the lack of activity in the streets. There are EU soldiers walking through the hotel with their weapons. I am not very concerned for our own safety, but the uncertainty of not knowing when we’ll be able to leave is strange.We are now going to work on organizing our pictures and video material. As I look at some of the faces in our pictures, I feel bad that this instability and not knowing is something that they live with every single day, and they have been living it for five years.

Since we’re here, KTJ and I will continue posting journals and even sending up pictures from the camps we have not sent before. We’ll be in touch, and you let us know your thoughts and any news you hear about Chad and the current crisis.

Hoping for Paz!
g

Gabriel co-founded Stop Genocide Now in 2005, which gave birth to i-ACT in 2009.

He became involved in the situation in Darfur out of a sense of personal responsibility. He believes the power of community and compassion, combined with personal empowerment, can bring about meaningful change.

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14 Responses to “Chaos as Norm – we stay in Chad for at least one more day…and who knows.”
  1. Isaac Murphy says:

    Wow. Hold Fast ya’ll. Gabriel, have you experienced this before on previous trips? I’m guessing its the Janjaweed? What is the purpose of closing down the camps? Take Care, Isaac

  2. Rachel says:

    Gabriel, KTJ, J & J,

    Keep safe. We will do whatever we can on this side and post any information we may hear on the blog. Are you able to receive e-mail still?

    Rachel

  3. teresa says:

    Hi Gabe,
    Hope you got my email. You are all scheduled to depart now on Sunday, Feb 3rd at 11:55pm, same flight times and schedule as your original flights so God will we’ll see you here on the 4th.
    Aljazeera has been reporting on the situation. Seems like the city is being protected and surrounded by military troops so the rebels don’t enter. France is sending their military forces to help protect the city.
    I called the US State Department here and they feel things will not get out of hand. Embassy is still operating as usual and they are not in evacuation mode.
    Please keep in touch so we know you’re all doing well. Teresa

  4. Zahara, Mimi y Gabo says:

    Mi chavo,
    Voy a seguir tratando de hablar por medio del hotel aver si lo consigo, Mimi quiere hablarte y Gabo, me escucharon y Gabo me dice que porque no te pase ;)
    Te queremos mucho, CUIDATE.
    Besos

  5. Lisa Goldner says:

    Dear Gabe and KTJ,

    You are certainly in our thoughts and prayers as you await your February 3rd flight out of Chad. Are Bouba and Alfa safe, too? This is certainly not the kind of excitement we wanted you to experience in your travels! This bonds you even more with those in the camps who remain under such conditions. We hope you’re able to be in touch with your families as much as possible, and will keep praying your wait and theirs is over soon.

    Amor y paz,

    Lisa and family
    San Antonio

  6. Javi says:

    Hey Gabe,

    Just to say what I know you already know……we got you covered on this side; prayers, positive thoughts, and taking care of the familia. We are all more anxious than ever to welcome you home. I also believe that something positive will come from this latest adversity. More than anything, you and KTJ do everything you need to do to keep each other safe!!!

    Javi
    Ps- These next couple of days we’ll go have fun with Gabo…..do you think he likes soccer?

  7. Zahara, Mimi y Gabo says:

    Mi chavo,
    Entro mi llamada al hotel pero me dicen que no estas en tu cuarto, me dejas saber cuando vas a estar y te marco. Veo que esta trabajando ya vi tu blog y el de KTJ.
    PD. pude hablar muy bien mi frances :)

  8. Meron says:

    Gabe and Katie-Jay,

    Thoughts and prayers are with you and all your friends, new and old. Keep your head down and come home safe.

    XoX
    Meron

  9. Tim Nonn says:

    Hi Gabriel,

    My prayers are with all of you. It’s heartbreaking knowing that many of the aid workers have been forced to leave the camps. Are the people in the camps defenseless against the rebels? The photos are so beautiful. Parveen is creating a photo database for the media. The campaign has grown to 85 cities in 29 states. Today, a group of UCLA students called to order a tent. There are now four cities in your neck of the woods who have joined the campaign. Tiffany has been fantastic. I sense a new mood of cooperation among all of the groups. The spirit is moving!

    Tim

  10. teresa says:

    Gabe,
    I put you on the email list from the US State Dept., they did not have you on it.
    Following is an email they sent to all US Citizens that were registered with the Consulate.
    You are now on the email list but I’m not sure if you’re getting your emails OK so I’m posting here also:

    February 2, 2008
    The U.S Embassy would like to request that any American citizens who wish to be evacuated should come to the U.S. Embassy immediately. If you have any questions, please call the U.S. Embassy immediately.

    Marine guard number: 251-4299

    American citizens are urged to register with the Embassy at http://ndjamena.usembassy.gov. For updated information on travel and security in the region, go to http://travel.state.gov. The U.S. Embassy is located in N’Djamena on Avenue Felix Eboue: mailing address is B.P. 413, tel: 251-7009. For emergencies after regular hours or on holidays, please call the Marine guard at 251-4299.

  11. teresa says:

    Gabe,
    Not sure if you’re receiving your emails so posting here. I contacted US State Dept again and they said they have been sending emails to all US Citizens registered with the Consulate. You were not on their list so they have now included you and already sent you an email with cc to me. I am posting below the last notice they sent today:

    February 2, 2008
    The U.S Embassy would like to request that any American citizens who wish to be evacuated should come to the U.S. Embassy immediately. If you have any questions, please call the U.S. Embassy immediately.

    Marine guard number: 251-4299

    American citizens are urged to register with the Embassy at http://ndjamena.usembassy.gov. For updated information on travel and security in the region, go to http://travel.state.gov. The U.S. Embassy is located in N’Djamena on Avenue Felix Eboue: mailing address is B.P. 413, tel: 251-7009. For emergencies after regular hours or on holidays, please call the Marine guard at 251-4299.

  12. teresa says:

    Gabe,
    Not sure if you’re receiving your emails so posting here. I contacted US State Dept again and they said they have been sending emails to all US Citizens registered with the Consulate. You were not on their list so they have now included you and already sent you an email with cc to me. I am posting below the last notice they sent today:
    February 2, 2008
    The U.S Embassy would like to request that any American citizens who wish to be evacuated should come to the U.S. Embassy immediately. If you have any questions, please call the U.S. Embassy immediately.
    Marine guard number: 251-4299
    The U.S. Embassy is located in N’Djamena on Avenue Felix Eboue: mailing address is B.P. 413, tel: 251-7009. For emergencies after regular hours or on holidays, please call the Marine guard at 251-4299.

  13. Hi Gabe, Katie-Jay, J and J and all friends with you in N’Djamena,

    It’s now 11:30 am Saturday there and hopefully you received Teresa’s emails or saw her above post and have made contact with the consulate officials.

    As of about 45 minutes ago there was broad media and UN confirmation that fighting has now moved inside the 20km radius of the city – on the Northern side.

    I’ve searched everywhere and not even the french media outlets are mentioning whether flights are able to leave this morning or whether everything is grounded.

    Hopefully you guys are out or on your way out as I write ….. if not – stay safe within the Meridian and just hold tight.

    There are a LOT of people praying for ALL of you.

    with the best imaginings and thoughts I have,

    hugs and love to all of you.

  14. Marie says:

    Hi Katie-Jay
    My name is Marie Rossow and I’m a student at Ackerman Middle School in Canby, OR. I hope you’re doing well. Some of my other classmates and I were wondering what supplies and nececities the people in the refugee camps need because we’re planning to start collecting items from classmates and the community to send to the people in the refugee camps.
    Hope you have a safe trip home.
    Thanks,
    Marie Rossow

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