Field Report from Abeche – Monday June 16 11:30am

The rebels have left Goz Beida and UNHCR has resumed flights to the area. All 230 international and national staff members of NGOs stationed in Goz Beida spent last night safely at the EUFOR compound. These same troops, mostly Irish and Danish, are also responsible for protecting the almost 16,000 Darfur refugees who fled their country because targeted ethnic violence and the thousands of IDPs in the surrounding area.

Some NGO compounds were looted as well as one UNHCR warehouse set ablaze, but it is not clear by whom. Several cars and other items of interest, such as satellite phones, were also stolen.

By yesterday morning the rebels had left the town and are said to be making their way to N’Djamena, only passing through towns with no intention of holding them. The government has kept cell phone communication down in the few places in the East where it reaches, mostly as a precaution to prevent the rebel groups from communicating.

We have not heard word from Bouba and our driver, but believe them to be safe. We hope to see him today or tomorrow, and with the tent panels and other luggage that we had sent to Goz Beida ahead of us. In the end, these panels will have a longer story than expected, with this being the third time their location is unknown! But, as one friend pointed out to us, rented cars are not a target since more than likely they are owned by one relative or another of someone involved in the robbery.

For now the i-ACT team is safe in Abeche. UNHCR has resumed normal flights to all camps, except for N’Djamena. Where we wait for word on whether the rebels will take their last chance to overthrow President Idriss Deby before the heavy rains begin. Until then, we rest easy in the fitness center.

KTJ

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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7 Responses to “Field Report from Abeche – Monday June 16 11:30am”
  1. Nick Jewitt says:

    Hey. You guys almost walked right into it again, huh? Having been in similar situations in Uganda long in the past I can imagine a little of how it feels – the uncertainty, the fear for yourself and others, the cramped living space, someone’s irritating habits you try to ignore! So try to give each other as much tolerance as you can – some of you have been there before and others haven’t, and we all react differently to that kind of stress; being concerned about Bouba, the driver, and the people you met before, not to mention all the people you have never met but care for, well it is going to take it out of you, then worrying about your families at home worrying, altogether it is in fact more than human beings can reasonably be expected to cope with, so give each other the time to talk, or the time to be alone in a corner somewhere, whatever they need. And don’t push yourself too hard or berate yourself with “what-ifs”.

    Even the professionals there will be stressed and scared for all sorts of reasons, so give them some tolerance too, and hope they’ll do so for you! They are probably worried about you too!

    I guess I’m sounding like some old granddad .. if it is not helpful, ignore it, delete if necessary.

    I put the link to this blog on the Facebook “Genocide Awareness” group page, so hopefully that will have widened your exposure a bit.

    Be blessed

    Nick

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Thank you thank you thank you Nick for your kind words and advice. Our team is doing quite well, I think, under the circumstances, and I hope we continue this way! We are lucky that our accommodations happen to be a fitness center so those of use who need a little workout to relax can! You are right in that many of our conversations have revolved around the many people at home who are worried about us. Our mission here is to bring forth the voices of the voiceless, not stress our families, although we knew that this region of the world was relatively unsafe. Thank you for linking to us and for spreading the word.
      In Peace, KTJ

  2. Lisa Goldner says:

    Good morning! We hope to hear all of you are listed on a flight bound for Jabal or another refugee camp, soon. I’m sure Bouba and your driver are eager to connect with you, too. This morning, I’ll be happy to share with our Darfuri friends the news of your safe night and the resumed flights. Any improvement in the tensions in the area is good news in relieving some of their worry over their countrymen and Chadian neighbors. Try to keep up your spirits despite the setbacks and scares. Take care and don’t let your guard down.

    Blessings,
    Lisa

  3. Mimi and Gabo says:

    HEY TEAM!
    Its too bad you guys are still stuck in Abeche. Lets just hope your luck gets better!
    Stay safe.
    -mimi and gabo

  4. Tim Nonn says:

    Hi KTJ and Gabriel,

    We’re back here praying for you and the refugees. Can you email me? If so, I have some good news. Waiting is the hardest thing for me. Along those lines,I heard something interesting recently from a friend. November 9, which is the date of the rally in DC, is the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht — the “night of the broken glass.” The pastor of the UCC Church on the Hill in Lenox, MA was given some sea glass last week. I never heard of it before. It’s broken glass in the ocean that has its sharp edges smoothed and rounded from years rolling through the water. People collect it on the beaches and turn it into jewelry, chimes and such. The Lenox folks are going to hang sea glass from their tents as a remembrance of Kristallnacht, and the six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. It can take a long time to smooth and round painful edges, but in the end something beautiful appears.

    Tim

    • Katie-Jay says:

      hey Tim!
      What’s the good news? G and I are back in N’D but only for about 6 more hours or so, until we head to the airport here, then to Paris and home by Friday afternoon. We will be around this weekend also, although we might take a break from our computers, so go ahead and email the good news.

      Thank you for your continued support for our work. We will get the panels back, and boy will they have a story!

      Peace, KTJ

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