Crossing Chad, West to East, N’Djamena to Abeche
It’s cold up here. I have my SGN hoodie on and two shirts, but the cold still seeps through to my skin. We’re on a nine-seater, twin-engine “Beechcraft 200.” I’m reading this from a little pamphlet on the seat pocket, since I know nothing about planes.
Mubarak arrived late for us at our hotel. We were ready to go at 5:45am, but he got in to pick us up at almost 6:30. It wasn’t a good start to the day, but I felt good and not sure why. We had way too much weight in all our luggage, and we should have been the first at the airport to work this out., or at least that was my thinking. Mubarak’s not-exactly-new Mercedez had other thoughts. It did not want to start, and there was no one around to help push it to get it running, as we had done the day before to get back from UNHCR to hotel. Mubarak had to scramble and find another car to borrow, and thus he was very late; but I still felt good.We had to use all of the back area of the new old little car that Mubarak borrowed for our luggage, and KTJ and I squeezed in to the front passenger seat.
When we got to the airport, Mubarak, as he’s unloading our heavy bags, says, “We will need some good luck today to get this on the plane.” My immediate response was, “I feel lucky today. It’s going to be a good day.” Walking in to the airport and seeing the long line at the UNHCR flight counter, lucky was not the first think I felt. We were the last and had to wait for what seemed like hours but in reality was just minutes. Mubarak cut in, and we gave it a try, starting to put all of our bags on the scale. Before they were all up, the men at the counter were shaking their heads and asked us to take the bags down and wait until all passengers had checked in. It did not look good. They told us that we could only take fifteen kilos per passenger.After a few more nervous minutes, they all of a sudden told us to put everything on the scale and gave us our boarding passes—that easy! KTJ asked, “What happened?” “I feel lucky today,” I said, and the three of us, with big smiles on our faces, walked over to the waiting area.
I still feel cold up here, flying above the Chadian desert, but it’s not too bad. And, I still feel lucky.