Chad: Travel Advisory issued January 3, 2008

Stop Genocide Now team members gather this week in Los Angeles to prepare for our fourth trip to the camps and my first trip into a conflict region. Our time is spent following up with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) contacts, checking satellite connections, charging video cameras and, for me, learning an entirely new computer before we depart on Saturday, January 12th. As we prepare for i-ACT and several other projects to be completed in the field, tensions between Chadian rebels and soldiers is on the rise.

January 3, 2008: the US Department of State issued a new travel warning, one that supersedes the warning I wrote about prior to our July 2007 i-ACT. Since our last trip the total number of Darfuri refugees in the 12 Chad camps has reached over 231,000. Additionally, 50,000 Central African Republic refugees have fled violence in their own country to join the growing number of displaced in the region. And all of these civilians are surrounded by ongoing violence between Chad rebel groups and government soldiers.

Skepticism of humanitarian aid workers has increased since France’s Zoe’s Arc workers were accused of kidnapping 100 supposedly orphaned Darfuri children. Bandits continue to target UN and NGO vehicles for carjacking. And unless you work through UNHCR or another aid organization, you will not be able to travel through Chad. The advisory warns: travel in groups, keep a cell phone on you, avoid night travel and leave detailed plans of travel with UNHCR or the US Embassy.

I anticipate that the air in N’Djamena will be thick with fear and exhaustion. That eyes of uncertainty will follow my every move. And that my usual and necessary trip to the market will produce a feeling of sorrow and sadness that I will have never felt before in what is usually the center of every bustling city.

But my feeling of excitement to connect communities and help provide Darfuri refugees with hope and the beginning of new future, one not centered around the idol life in a camp, surpasses anything that a travel warning might create. Out team will be on the ground for three weeks, i-ACT will be on air for 10 days, and when we safely return over 20 communities will be united with survivors. Regardless of any travel warning that anyone could give me, I know that our dedicated team is changing the way the world responds to genocide. And if not us, then no one would be doing it.

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.

Comments

comments

Comments

4 Responses to “Chad: Travel Advisory issued January 3, 2008”
  1. Crossler Peer Helpers says:

    KTJ-

    We appreciated you coming to talk to us at Crossler Middle School. Good luck in Chad and safe travels. We’ll be sending you our questions soon. Please tell your Darfuri friends that we are working on our plans to educate our school about their situation. We hope they will be able to go home soon.

    The Crossler Peer Helpers

  2. Monica Kalnasy Olson says:

    KTJ-
    I am so happy you are continuing to pursue a life that fills you with mission, purpose and passion. I will tune in to I-ACT and can’t wait to catch up upon your return. I wish you a successful trip and safe travels!! -Monica Kalnasy Olson

  3. Isaac, Larry, Nancy Scott says:

    KTJ! We’re here, in Tucson, keeping track of you, together sending you love, and support. We are all so proud of you, and we’ll stay in touch. To you, and everyone there in Darfur, we hold you in our prayers. Much Love, Isaac, Larry, Nancy

  4. Jackie Jessee Christianson says:

    Monica,
    I went to school with Glenn Kalnasy when my family lived in Hamilton VA. Please say hi. Glad to see where your interests are.
    Jackie

Leave A Comment



c