Reports from N'djamena

Out of the hotel!

We have been evacuated from the hotel. French military came in a convoy of approximately ten armed personnel carriers to evacuate all foreigners from our home for the last five days. Yesterday and today were packed with a little too much excitement. It started with hearing fighting to being in the middle of fighting and bullets just missing us.

After many calls from family, friends, and simply good-hearted people to our government officials, someone from the State Department called me at about 1:00pm this afternoon, only two hours ago, to tell me that they had requested assistance from the French in getting us out. It turned out that the French military was taking all foreigners out. We are now at the French military base in N’Djamena, and I can tell you that it feels very safe here.

We left behind dozens of Chadians, including hotel staff and other civilians that made it to the hotel in the morning. I feel heavy-hearted at not knowing what will happen to them. They were more than wonderful in taking care of us, and the only thing we could do in return is make a collection to leave them a little cash.

The next step is finding out how do we fly out of here and when. We again go in to wait mode, but it is a world of a difference not to be having to dodge bullets while we wait. We can hear shots in the distance, but they are not menacing at all.

Thanks for all the incredible support from all of you. I felt your company for the entire ordeal. Quite a few of you went without sleep to spend time with us, and I cannot say how much I appreciate that.

We will keep you updated as to the latest out here. We are still to hear the official results form the fighting, if there is one. We have read reports that were completely opposite from each other and coming from very reputable sources. The Chadians know that you just have to wait.

Much love to all.

29 replies on “Out of the hotel!”

We are so glad you are safe(r) and out of the hotel. Our thoughts will continue to be with those that remain in harms way. Wow, ok, I am gonna get some sleep and I hope you all can as well tonight…hopefully while on a plane home. Words can’t express!! All our love and appreciation and respect, you guys are our heroes!!


YES! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear you all are out of harms way. Get some rest and take care of yourselves. You’ll be huging those kids of yours before you know it!

Take care everyone!
Corey Dragge

Its 6:30 AM here and I just received a call from the State Dept. saying you were to be evacuated from the hotel by the French. So relieved to hear that it has happened. I, too will take a nap now. Thanks be to God! Marv

Just a homeschool mom in Western NC, but watched Hotel Rwanda this past week with my family and was devastated. Without TV in our home, I happened onto a report on the internet this morning and then went to Stop Genocide to find out more. I have added all this to the prayers of all our parishioners this morning in church. I have also emailed my daughter in Savannah and asked her to begin a campaign, besides contacting our senators and reps. I didn’t do anything about Rwanda (where was I???), but I will do all I can for these precious people and their children. God bless you and I hope you make another documentary and MORE people will see it and DO SOMETHING.

Dear Sally,
I am the film maker for Tents of Hope, Please look at our website.
I would like to keep in contact with you.
I am very impressed with your comment to the people
who are working so hard to end genocide..
Together as one huge world community we will end genocide..
Thank you for your part..

Mi chavo,

Como dice Mom Gracias a Dios ya estan fuera del Hotel. Me da muchisimo gusto. Cuantos emails, cuantas gentes demostrando preocuacion…increible la comunidad que has formado.
Besos y abrazos


We were at Gretchen Wallace’s office in Lyme
NH last Thursday, doing east coast interviews, when the news came to us.
They canceled their trip.
I have been following your movement all the way with Tim
and you daily diaries.
You guys are awesome. And my new heroes..You are the carriers of Peace..

Have a safe journey…..I guess anywhere else would seem safe now.
And we await your arrival home.

much love to you all

I just got a call from the State Dept. as well and they said that the French Military decided not to wait and get everyone. I was so happy when I saw that it already happened and that you were all out of harms way. Thank you everyone that allowed that to happen. It’s back to French Fries, no more Freedom Fries :) We will continue to pray for those in the city. Can’t wait to greet you with lots of hugs and kisses at the airport.

I am so relieved that you are all safe. I too cannot wait to see you. I am so grateful that so many people felt such passion to help. You are so inspirational to us all and i think that clearly shows from everyones comments and persistance.
Lots and lots of love!

Gracias a Dios! I hoped for this news that you would be out of the hotel and waiting official evacuation. My prayers continue for all those you had to leave behind and for your safe journey home. So happy to know that your children and wife will be with you again!
Take care,

yes!!! so glad to wake up and hear that you are in a better safety zone. we will all be still thinking positively about your removal from that situation entirely right now… and our thoughts go to all of those still there.


Can you drop me a line please on my home email Thanks.

Joyce Hackel
BBC’s The World
The World is a co-production of the BBC World Service and Public Radio International

to the team,

THANK GOD! and I guess the French. Freedom fries anyone? I guess we have outsourced our commitment to our own citizens! I am so happy that you are in a safer position. One more step and we can get you home. Again…please let us know what we can do to help on this end to make that happen!

Rob Hadley

dear gabriel –

our hearts have been with you and the field team throughout your trip…….. and then in our throats as we heard what has been happening.

deeply happy that you are on your way to safety

AND as you eloquently said in the blog, our Darfuri friends live like this every day. our efforts on their behalf are their only protection.

in solidarity and love,

andrea and hunter

Gabe and KTJ,
A very large community you have built awaits your safe return and your reflections on this time. We are ready to continue our work with you, with ever deeper commitment!
Paz, Pam

I’ve been following your moves in recent days and now the break-out of fighting all around you both. So glad to hear of your safe escape. Hopefully those who remain will be able to find peace, before further danger and destruction.

Your story is one of amazing courage.

Alan Bruns

Best news of the day . . . only to be topped by getting word you’re on a flight home! St. Francis of Assisi parishioners are praying for all of you and the Chadians and Darfurians caught up in this fighting. NOW, will you get some sound sleep?!

Paz y amor,

Lisa and family
San Antonio

Thank God. I called the State Department Saturday morning a 1pm and was told that they knew you were there. I am relieved that you are safe and will continue to pray for your safe return to the states. I too am able to sleep better knowing that you are in a compound and out of the hotel.
My prayers and steadfastness will always be with you.
Mimi Schiff

I thank God that you are all alright.
And hope that you felt our love and prayers
across the miles. Sending you all the warmest
loving hugs. Love to all of you.

I am so grateful you are all all right.

I understand what you mean when you said:
We left behind dozens of Chadians, including hotel staff and other civilians that made it to the hotel in the morning. I feel heavy-hearted at not knowing what will happen to them. They were more than wonderful in taking care of us, and the only thing we could do in return is make a collection to leave them a little cash.

It is a difficult thing. The heart and the spirit holds them as we all hold all of them and you!

Yet, with you you carry the experieince to be relayed to increase awareness, action, love and compassion.

Much love, hugs and prayers to all of you!

Gabriel, I’m so happy to hear that you’re safe!! Even though I haven’t been posting, I have followed your journey every day – as have so many others I know. We will be relieved to know that you are all back with your families – hope the way home is smooth. We travel with you in our hearts.
Patty W.

Thanks for pseaking with us by phone for today’s story. I would still like to talk to you about your experiences. Please give me a call or email to let me know when/how is best to reach you today.

Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Staff writer
The Los Angeles Times
office: 213-237-7107
cell: 323-303-7137

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