N’Djamena, 3:20am (N’D Time)
It’s too late to sleep now, so I’ll write.
We need to be at the airport before 6am, and there’s still packing to do. We have to figure out what is essential and what can stay, if it needs to. They have a weight limit that is considerably less than Air France!
We’ve finished two i-ACT videos. Ann, from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), again was so giving of her time. You can just tell that she lives her job; it is not just something she does for a paycheck.
I feel good that we’re getting on a plane to Eastern Chad because it gets us closer to the camps. Having been here before, I know that plans do not always run smoothly, so it’s hard to relax. Another reason why it’s hard to relax is that Ann told us about conditions on the roads to the camps. Many vehicles are being attacked, and there’s no way to predict where that will happen. UNHCR vehicles are now mostly traveling with military escort. Guns, even with a “friendly” military convoy, do not make me comfortable.
We will ask for a security briefing in Abeche and make decisions based on that. Ann says that we might have to fly to some of the camps because of extreme danger on some of the roads.
Our flight tomorrow takes us over brown desert. You see barely any vegetation for miles, and then villages pop out of the sand. We, humans, are so adaptable, although I personally have not adapted well to having no sugar-free Red Bull.
11 replies on “Gabriel’s Journal”
Hi Gab, Connie and Yuen-Lin:
Humbled by your courage, energy and strength, Brandon and I embrace you all. And with the spirit of aloha, intend to follow, learn and share with all here. Please take care and be safe.
Love, Brandon and Gina
I followed i-ACT 2006 and am discouraged and encouraged that you are making yet another trip out there. Thank you for giving an objective and clear account of what’s going on. Have a safe trip.
Be careful, move forward with precaution. It sounds like things a very unstable.
The video today was very informative. Ann is truly a special person.
I agree with her… Why should refugees have to walk around with sad faces all the time…
I too followed I-ACT 2006 and felt this year would be different, unfortunately that is not so. Be safe in your journey. What you are doing is wonderful and we would not know what is going on without you.
Hey Gabe! This is the first time that I am following I-ACT. Thus far, with the blogs and videos, the situation in Darfur comes to life all the more. May God’s peace and strength be with you, Connie and Yuen-Lin.
How is it going on you first few days?I hope great.I am making sure that I follow you,Connie,and Yuen-Lin the whole time your there.I really enjoy watching these videos and reading the blogs.I think that more people should be watching these videos to see whats going on in Darfur.
In thinking of our courageous team on the ground in Chad, I recently checked the travel advisory issued by our State Department to see what they were getting into. The report tells of the volatile situation behind the cameras, urging Americans to avoid non-essential travel to Eastern Chad, the border with Darfur. N’Djamena has experienced increased crime as well. On November 16, 2003, the government of Chad declared a State of Emergency due to inter-ethnic violence and rebel activity throughout the entire country, especially in the east. There has been almost no media coverage as independent media is primarily censored, jeopardizing our own teams’ citizen-journalism and necessary interactive-activism. Reports indicate that our team could be in danger of “couper de routes”, or highway banditry incidents, everywhere in the country. Some have even reported harassment at Chadian government roadway checkpoints. (For a full report check out: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_2876.html)
To the team, does this report speak to the situation you have experienced so far? Does the report do it justice?
Thank you to Gabriel, Connie and Yuen-Lin for standing up to not only the genocide in Darfur, but also for putting your own lives in the middle of these conditions in order to bring global citizens real information, from real people. Please stay safe, keep your papers and press passes close, and stay strong. What you are doing for the people of Darfur is irreplaceable and brave.
Peace and Solidarity, KTJ
Hi Gabe, Connie, Yuen Lin,
I set my alarm clock early this morning so I could watch day 2 video and read the blogs before starting my usual daily routine. I got out of bed and went for my daily dosis of Sugar Free Red Bull that you Gabe introduced me to and got me hooked on too. So as I read your comments it made me realize how we take even the smallest pleasures for granted and not to say the basic necesseties, the same that all the refugees have been stripped of in having to flee their homes. It’s hard to relate to having to adapt to having almost nothing and still be able to put a smile on your face. The video was very informative and Ann very inspiring. I was shocked to hear that the number of refugees in Chad have tripled over the past 8 months, I can only imagine how their living conditions must be deteriorating with the influx of more people and less resources.
As Yuen Lin says, we have to continue to raise awareness with anybody we can and put pressure on our governments so that actions will be taken and not just empty words spoken.
This morning after watching the video I turned on the TV to listen to CNN Int’l and first thing on the screen was the new TV ad from the “Save Darfur” campaign. That was great!
Looking forward to visiting Abeche once again with you. Please keep safe!
Yuen Lin Cany y Gabriel Que sigan esos caminos con esa energia y animo Esta manana entregue volantes y Dios permita que una mayoria ponga de su parte lo mas posible y que participen al maximo de sus posibilidades y todos los que puedan se sumen al activismo tan necesario para alivianarles la dificil vida que sus persecusores los hacen pasar Espero les sea posible cuidar su salud y se realice en armonia Dios nuestro Buen Padre envie sus bendiciones Con mi amor Mam.
What amazing energy and commitment folks like Ann Mayman and all of you i-ACT members have! You challenge and inspire all of us to do more — even Ann’s comments that just having people learn about the situation in Darfur and keeping informed about new developments is an important step. It is so sad knowing the Chadian IDPs have tripled since your last visit to the region. Please know your team is in our prayers for safe transport to Abeche and beyond, especially with the heightened security risks.
Muy queridos mios se me acaba de borrar un jueguito que les estaba … Mas bien dicho nos jugaba el Angelito con intenciones de refrescarnos el intelecto Ahora no se si aparezca por ahi Dice algo de Lorein Enrealidad yo comentaba algo tan serio como la terrible vida miserable de los pauperrimos refugiados fuera de un Darfur ya muy apocado Esto no es lo inhumano para ellos Ya que los ayuden es lo humano Y por favor ya manda eso !! Como te decia Canita Bueno ya hasta aqui O te digo de….Ya estuvo va ha salir cara la tecnologia Lo que le atormenta a…. Mejor ya? Para que no se enojen? mejor te digo la de JC. Lo de su cultura? Lo de … El …No contesta? De como se ayuda?
Pos como sea pero Ya a la bola A quien sea Cuanto vale su silencio No diran mejor te ayudo? Aunque te digan la verdad? De la Xalapena? Pero en fin Se les olvida de…Algun taquache ! Celos? Ay no no Diran muchas gentes que no digan los Angelitos Bueno hijitos despues de otra problematica YL Cany y Geib Dios Padre y Dijo algo de la Virgen? Cuota? Nos la echamos?! De los de Micaela? !No le pusiron zapatos?! Ups! La mama de esta nina? La documente? Ahi queda Hasta pronto Mami Sorpresa! Ya tienen ganada la Vida Eterna Y se preguntan Habra Vida Eterna