5 February 2008
According to plans, I would have been home three days ago. I know that I must have sounded redundant and boring when telling my three travel partners that many time, if not always, things just do not go as planed in Chad. This journey has taken this notion to the extreme. Clichés are what work best here to explain the attitude that is needed in these conditions: gotta go with the flow; gotta take the good with the bad; and gotta roll with punches. When bullets were flying, I also used “here and now; here and now; here and now,” to stay focused and thinking about what was the best next move. Many of these sayings did not work in many occasions during the last more than three weeks, and they malfunctioned even more in the last three days.
Today, our flight was maybe leaving at 2pm. Now it is maybe leaving at 2am tomorrow. Gotta roll with the punches.
On February 2, just three days ago, it was so surreal and so completely outside of anything I feel as normal to be lying on the floor to avoid real bullets flying through the room we were in. But, sparks of normality still manage to flash through even in those moments. “Here and now” would keep me focused, and then, in an instant, “here and now” would be displaced by “these men are going to come in to the hotel and fight it out with the French soldiers. How am I going to react?” I would quickly have to switch to, “stay low and move fast!”
Libreville feels so different from Chad, but loud noises still make me pause. I am laughing with KTJ, Jeremiah, and Josh. It can be so normal, but then it is not. You would think that, after going through the last few days in Chad, I would want to think of everything but Chad, but Chad, its people, and the people of Darfur is what I keep going back to. It always gets mixed up with thoughts of my family, friends, and all that I’ve been feeling love from. I just cannot help but thinking in terms of that other cliché, “If it was my family going through these horrors in Chad/Darfur, I would want to know that someone out there is thinking of me and wanting to help.”
So, I’m not sure what way the flow is going, but I’m going with it. I’ll be doing some paddling to give myself some direction. You can be sure of that. I said above that this would be my last post from Africa, but Africa might still have something to say about that.
I do love you all, and I can’t wait to see as many of you as possible.