The world continues

Small arms continue to fill the air with sounds of battle. Every so often we can hear a helicopter and then their guns firing upon the rebels who have now taken almost the entire city. The electrician here in the hotel has rigged up a TV in the kitchen for us to watch. A local Chadian station reports that Deby is in his palace, refusing to leave. I heard once that he said something like: I will never be an ex-president, only a dead one. He continues to launch counter offensives on the rebels.

We hold tight, the Embassy is closer to the Palace than us and under more fire. Their two vehicles, in a different location, are also under heavy attack. The UN convoy that left last night with UN staff, French and other European nationals was hit with small arms fire on their way to the Novatel (Hotel) to pick up others before heading to safety, wherever that might be.

I am antsy. Ashis and I joke around that if only we had a futbol we could get some energy out. In everyday life I don’t take kindly to people telling me where I can and cannot go, and at this moment, I feel the same disdain towards those who are shaking their heads as I express my desire to leave the kitchen. Just to feel the sun on my face, to know that the world continues as it always does.

Two small kids play on the pool-side cushions that were brought in for us to sleep on. Their giggles remind me of Hassan, Hissein and Guisma from Djabal; once one of them began to laugh, all three fell victim to contagious happiness and smiles. The laughter of the kids and the Chadian staff reminds me the world continues.

Many of the male staffers huddled in the small hallway in front of the TV are reminiscent of the men huddled under the shade of trees in the camps. Although an entirely different situation, and many of these men are simply on break from their duties, I can’t help but to close my eyes and think about the camps we just came from. The world in the camps continues.

Katie-Jay keeps i-ACT running on several levels. Much of her work entails coordinating partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implementing the campaigns developed by Gabriel and seeing through the details. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States.

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Category: Reports from N'djamena · Tags: , ,

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4 Responses to “The world continues”
  1. evonne says:

    Glad to hear you are still safe….let’s hope these internet connections keep you active until “safe passage” becomes possible. Please give our best to Ashis too….stayed up worried tonight, reading your blogs and wishing you back in California very soon.

    Stay healthy and strong and know that we hold you in our hearts.

    ~evonne~

  2. Matt Hodges says:

    Katie-Jay,

    We are still here girl, keep posting so we know you are ok. It is very difficult to get trustworthy info about what is happening there. Brenda is finally sleeping and I am on watch as I can’t sleep knowing what you are dealing with and that you are not on your way home yet. Stay safe, stay low, stay strong. We are as with you as we can be and are sending you as much love as is humanly possible. We love you little sister and we have faith that you will come home safe.

    Matt

    p.s. somehow whether the Pats complete the perfect season and win the Super Bowl doesn’t seem as important today as it was before. Funny how that works…

  3. Barbara Scott says:

    Dear Katie-Jay,
    Yes, I have always found children healing. You hope, enthusiasm, outrage at wrong and rebelion at being shut away from the sun and movement are childlike qualities. But I know you are mature enough to keep yourself safe in this situation. Wish you were out in the sunshine playing ball, soon, soon I hope. Take any chances to sleep and rejuvinate. Yes, good still reins. Love you much. Barbara

  4. Debra Xiangjun says:

    Thank-you so much for sharing the journey. I am so glad you are ALL okay.

    Holding you in heart and spirit for a safe journey home. Thank-you for being so amazingly dedicated and for being you!

    Namaste,
    Debra
    湘君

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