We have often characterized our friends in the camps as resilient. I see now, that this is a characteristic of many Chadians as well. I am in the kitchen using the light since the dining room/sleeping quarters for those who have not been evacuated is too dark for my senses. From this, I can already that my tolerance for the days events will be tested. I need to keep my even keel sense of confidence. The staff here at the hotel, all of whom have been held up at this hotel for three days as well have family in N’Djamena.Yes, we are thousands of miles away from you all and we have a fancy internet connection to reach you. Here, where many run off Celtel phone cards, many have not spoken to family members in days. And each time the hour for food or beverage rolls around, they are smiling as asking “Ca Va? Bien Dormir?” They are calm, squatting in the hallway of white tile near the kitchen where Gabriel and I gathered yesterday after the attack.
Day broke only 20 minutes or a ½ hour ago and the heavy artillery has already begun. We are again hiding in the kitchen after a quick cup of Nescafe on the veranda. Start early. Hit them hard. The rebels have not stopped and there was a glance of someone approaching the front of the hotel. Again, the phone call to the Embassy produced nothing but more wait time. “Gabriel, you are our top priority,” the man on the other line said. But unfortunately, he also added, it has begun again this morning and we cannot leave our compound, its too dangerous. This was their responses yesterday as they sent out a notice on the State Departments website calling for Americans to make their own way to the Embassy. And again at the moment that 36 or so UN, French nationals and European nationals were being evacuated to a nearby French military base, its too dangerous for us to leave. And they wanted us to make our way to them? Something tells me if I wandered to the street where we have caught taxis before that it would be impossible to find one. So for now, we wait. Since no one is coming.