Small arms continue to fill the air with sounds of battle. Every so often we can hear a helicopter and then their guns firing upon the rebels who have now taken almost the entire city. The electrician here in the hotel has rigged up a TV in the kitchen for us to watch. A local Chadian station reports that Deby is in his palace, refusing to leave. I heard once that he said something like: I will never be an ex-president, only a dead one. He continues to launch counter offensives on the rebels.
We hold tight, the Embassy is closer to the Palace than us and under more fire. Their two vehicles, in a different location, are also under heavy attack. The UN convoy that left last night with UN staff, French and other European nationals was hit with small arms fire on their way to the Novatel (Hotel) to pick up others before heading to safety, wherever that might be.
I am antsy. Ashis and I joke around that if only we had a futbol we could get some energy out. In everyday life I don’t take kindly to people telling me where I can and cannot go, and at this moment, I feel the same disdain towards those who are shaking their heads as I express my desire to leave the kitchen. Just to feel the sun on my face, to know that the world continues as it always does.
Two small kids play on the pool-side cushions that were brought in for us to sleep on. Their giggles remind me of Hassan, Hissein and Guisma from Djabal; once one of them began to laugh, all three fell victim to contagious happiness and smiles. The laughter of the kids and the Chadian staff reminds me the world continues.
Many of the male staffers huddled in the small hallway in front of the TV are reminiscent of the men huddled under the shade of trees in the camps. Although an entirely different situation, and many of these men are simply on break from their duties, I can’t help but to close my eyes and think about the camps we just came from. The world in the camps continues.