Before i-ACT

Crossing Chad, West to East, N’Djamena to Abeche

IMG_1667 It’s cold up here. I have my SGN hoodie on and two shirts, but the cold still seeps through to my skin. We’re on a nine-seater, twin-engine “Beechcraft 200.” I’m reading this from a little pamphlet on the seat pocket, since I know nothing about planes.

Mubarak arrived late for us at our hotel. We were ready to go at 5:45am, but he got in to pick us up at almost 6:30. It wasn’t a good start to the day, but I felt good and not sure why. We had way too much weight in all our luggage, and we should have been the first at the airport to work this out., or at least that was my thinking. Mubarak’s not-exactly-new Mercedez had other thoughts. It did not want to start, and there was no one around to help push it to get it running, as we had done the day before to get back from UNHCR to hotel. Mubarak had to scramble and find another car to borrow, and thus he was very late; but I still felt good.We had to use all of the back area of the new old little car that Mubarak borrowed for our luggage, and KTJ and I squeezed in to the front passenger seat.

When we got to the airport, Mubarak, as he’s unloading our heavy bags, says, “We will need some good luck today to get this on the plane.” My immediate response was, “I feel lucky today. It’s going to be a good day.” Walking in to the airport and seeing the long line at the UNHCR flight counter, lucky was not the first think I felt. We were the last and had to wait for what seemed like hours but in reality was just minutes. Mubarak cut in, and we gave it a try, starting to put all of our bags on the scale. Before they were all up, the men at the counter were shaking their heads and asked us to take the bags down and wait until all passengers had checked in. It did not look good. They told us that we could only take fifteen kilos per passenger.After a few more nervous minutes, they all of a sudden told us to put everything on the scale and gave us our boarding passes—that easy! KTJ asked, “What happened?” “I feel lucky today,” I said, and the three of us, with big smiles on our faces, walked over to the waiting area.

I still feel cold up here, flying above the Chadian desert, but it’s not too bad. And, I still feel lucky.


6 replies on “Crossing Chad, West to East, N’Djamena to Abeche”

Hola mi chavo,

Vez querido esposo como no le haces caso a tu esposa, te dije que necesitabas mas para el frio, pero mas que eso me necesitabas ami para abrazarte y quitarte ese frio. (estoy recordando cuando estuvieron afuera probando el equipo alas 2:00am y regresaron temblando de frio, recuerdas?)
Que bien que ya se van de la capital. Mucha suerte en el recorrido suerte en Abeche cuidate mucho.

Hey Gabriel,

Sounds like you’ve not had a dull moment so far in Chad. All of the STF kids are eagerly anticipating iAct videos and we all pray for your safety.

Thanks for your stoic words. Glad to hear about your stroke of luck; I hope it stays with you as you move into more dangerous territory.

You two always seem to take an experience above and beyond normal and make it into something even more intriguing!! Surely is never a dull moment with you both to say the least. Just keeping up to date with your travels and had to write!! I can’t wait to see Leila…You are getting closer every day and even I am feeling the anticipation all the way from home :)

Greeting, prayers and kick-ass kudos! Hi there KTJ. The last time I saw you was in London 8 years ago with my great friend and fellow Leo, your Mum.
You are a vital, vibrant human being who truly walks the walk of freedom from fear.!
I send you love, passion and power.
May the force of positivity be with you 24/7


Wow, Gabriel, what an ordeal just getting off the ground, again! Thank goodness Mubarak was able to find another car to get you to the airport. Will he be with you for the whole trip? You may think it’s “luck,” but I think some angels were sent to escort you safely to Abeche. BTW, just how much did you exceed the weight limits? With so much gear it’s a good thing you’re eating light! It will be great to soon see smiles like Leila’s, and hear about more of your connections in the camps. Sending prayers for your continued protection – stay safe.


San Antonio

Gabriel, reading that post just made my day!…it’s funny how things work out like that huh? The world is lucky to have two compassionate people as yourselves who will stand up and advocate change for the better! I must say even through just following your experiences of the last few days in the city I am more motivated and inspired to help then I had ever been before!..can’t wait till you can re-unite with old friends in the camps and share their story with the rest of us!

Safe travels,


Leave a Reply