Reports from N'djamena


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.

8 replies on “Resilience”

Been my experience that when I got myself in a rough place I was expected to get myself out. Government never sent me a taxi or an apc. They’re regular hounds that way, the government is.

What a lame response from the U.S. Embassy. Why wouldn’t they let you leave with the French nationals? They want you to go to the Embassy? That is ridiculous! If it is safe enough for you to do that, then why can’t they come and fetch you?

I hope a new administration brings some diplomats with brains to Chad and elsewhere in the world. In the mean time, I’m glad you are staying put — unless you get a chance to have a convoy to go with the French again. I would trust their judgment a helluva lot more than the Americans.

We are watching and cheering and praying for you.


Hang in there, stay down. All our thoughts are with you and everyone there. There is so little about this on US media. Please keep posting if you can but stay low and stay strong. We love you and need you all to come home safe and soon. Can we do something for you, are you getting any information from the UN or US officials? Should we be contacting any media? Jenn sends her love. She has no internet so we are updating her so keep updating us so we all know you are safe.

All our thoughts and prayers are for you and your group.

All our love,

Matt and Brenda

KTJ et all,

Ok…getting just a bit pissed off here. WHERE THE HELL ARE THE FU@$#$@ MARINES! This is what hey do in this situation?? They know where you are? I am just incensed at this idiocy. Sadly this is just another example of an incompetent, beligerant F. P. and a complete ignorance of Africa by our State Dept! I see that the Ambassador to Chad has about 45 days experience on the job!

Sorry for the rant…but I feel that I am there with you all and wondering if this is just par for the course!

I am praying hard for your safe return!


Following you and Gabriel’s progress closely on your website – I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you both from here and know you are both very strong individuals and will take good care of one another.

Come home safely.

I am thinking of you both!


I wanted to know if you are the Carolyn Zook that will be speaking at the Childhood Neurology Seminar? Please let me know I have a question about an 8yr regarding seizures.

Note the last paragraph of this story: it says the embassy evacuated this morning.

Heavy Weapons Fire Heard In Chadian Capital – AFP
Sunday February 3rd, 2008 / 8h35

NDJAMENA, Chad (AFP)–Heavy weapons fire resumed early Sunday in the center of the Chadian capital Ndjamena, where government troops loyal to President Idriss Deby and rebels have been battling since Saturday, an AFP reporter said.
Anti-tank fire as well as automatic weapons fire was heard coming from the center of the city, where the presidential palace is located.
Military sources said Chadian army helicopters had been able to take off from the military base at the airport and had opened fire.
France’s contingent of troops in Chad also have their base at the airport.
The helicopters attacked a column of rebels attempting to make a breakthrough in the southern sector of the city where the national radio station is located, a military source said.
The latest clashes came after a generally calm night, sources said.
French Mirage combat planes also took off Sunday morning and were overflying Ndjamena. They did not make any sorties on Saturday when rebels seized control of large swathes of the capital in heavy fighting with government troops.
“We did not take the airport so as not to hinder the evacuation of foreign nationals and now the French army is letting these helicopters take off and attack us,” a spokesman for the rebels, Abderaman Khoulamallah, told AFP by satellite telephone.
During the night 74 French and other foreign nationals were evacuated on a French military plane to the Gabonese capital Libreville.
On Sunday morning the staff of the US embassy was evacuated to the French military base at the airport on board a dozen vehicles in the hopes of being able to leave Chad by plane if the security conditions are right, military sources said.

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