It was pitch dark and a bit cool, as we came off of the Air France plane and walked down the steps to go in to the N’djamena airport. Africa has a distinct feeling to it, and I’m just not sure how to explain it. I bet that anyone that’s been here knows what I’m talking about. It feels familiar, connecting to something deep in me, but also alien, with sounds, smells, and sights that are all so new.
I’m a bit tired from the last few days of preparation for this trip, combined with the work on our I Stand With Darfur campaign, which had me in DC ten days ago protesting at the Sudanese Embassy.
Ali, the aid worker we met on Day 6 of last year’s i-ACT, met us at the airport. It felt so good to see his friendly face. He’s going to be of so much help, and he’s also just great to have around. He is Chadian and knows a lot about his country. From working in refugee camps for a long time, he also knows a lot about the life of the displaced people of Darfur. Ali will be our interpreter and our guide. He is free to do this right now because his agency was force to pull out of Guereda due to the insecurity. There is fighting all around that area, so the two camps that are served from that town, Mile and Kounoungo, have been left without most services. I still would like to find a way to get there, since our good friend, and new member of the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force, Ahmat lives and Kounoungo. I have a care packet for him from the STF members in California.
Before I leave to go find out about registering with local police, which we have to do before leaving to Abeche, a little about the tech side of things:
I’m now typing away on this brand new i-book Yuen Lin, our tech guru, prepared for us, and I’m sitting in a very comfortable hotel room. It’s been a good morning. I tested the satellite modem, which is connected to this laptop right now, and it worked just fine. I was able to call Yuen Lin from the phone that connects to it; I was able to check and send e-mail; and YL was able to remotely play with this computer. Very cool stuff!
Carolyn is the one that set up this website and blog, and she, like YL, is pretty amazing also. They get some help from other volunteers, but they are the backbone that makes what we did last year and what we’ll do these next days possible.
OK everyone, we’ll be in touch. Let’s not forget to act.