Reports from N'djamena

From the families: “Thank you!!”

Thank You For Your Presence

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all the beautiful people who worked determinedly to help ensure that our beloved Gabriel, KTJ, Jeremiah and Joshua could make it back home safely.

On Saturday, February 2, Javi received a call from his brother Gabriel, a few minutes after surviving the gun battle in the hotel. Gabe’s last words before his phone went dead were: “it’s starting to get dark…I don’t know if we’ll make it out if we’re still here when night falls.”

Their last few days in Chad were some of the scariest days our families have ever lived. Those days also had the potential of being as dark as a night in Chad. However, whatever darkness existed was overpowered by the Light of your presence.

You brought us hope and strength with every strategic action you took up to make sure their evacuation became a top priority for the authorities involved. Every phone call to the Embassy, State Department and Congress; every call to the media; every entry on the blog; every e-mail to coordinate the next plan of action, conveyed a prevailing sense of hope and strength.

Most important of all, it was all your prayers and positive thoughts, or more appropriately said, your love that served as our companion as we journeyed the fearful terrain of uncertainty.

The most common message entered on the blog was “we are with you”. Your presence is the greatest gift we could ever receive. For this we will carry you in our hearts forever.

Families of KTJ, Gabriel, Joshua and Jeremiah.

14 replies on “From the families: “Thank you!!””

Hi Bob,
I’m sure things can seem a bit dramatic when it does not affect you or your loved ones directly, however, when you are living the experience, drama becomes reality.
We do appreciate the support and following of all those who kept us company and followed the journey.
Teresa (Gabe’s sister)

Hi Bob,

I don’t think the thanks could have been worded any more appropriately to express just how “dramatic” is was for the families. We are so grateful for the technology to communicate with them and read their words and watch their journey. We felt helpless and desperately wanted to get them out of harms way. I never want to experience that type of fear again, though I know it was only a glimpse of what some families experience everyday in Chad and other places around the world. You never know how you are going to react or feel until it happens. There are so many people that were involved in evacuating our family members and words will never be enough to express how grateful we are that they are back home and safe.

Jessica and Boston
(Jeremiah’s wife and 2 year old son)

Why not “Merci” ?

If some desserve more “Thank you” than the attendent of the Embassy, State Department and Congress who did nothing on the ground, is the French and the French Army, it is not ?
My son Daniel is there, and they suffered casualities saving others in similar operations.

Merci to your son Daniel and his fellow French soldiers. Without them my daughter Katie-Jay would not be alive and safe today. My heart and prayers go out to everyone still in Chad. I’m sorry I don’t have the skill to write this in French.
Kathleen Scott

Thank you to your son and his comrades. They put their lives on the line to protect and evacuate our friends and family. I will pray for the safety of the French military and that the fighting in Chad will cease and that the military support will be able to return home safely as well. Tell your son that there are many that are very grateful for him.

Thank you,
Jessica (Jeremiah’s wife)

Muchos,muchisimos,Mercy’s,Dominique.Forever grateful to the brave French soldiers and we can only hope that the families of the fallen find peace.Amor y Paz.Connie.(Gabe’s sister.)

We are certainly happy to have the “team” home safe. We will pray for those who were left behind to face the chaos – the residents, the refugees, and the rescuers. As traumatic as this trip was, we know there is hope to be found, like that we received in the 11 smiling faces in two Darfuri families who arrived in the past couple of weeks to make a new home, here, after four years as refugees in Chad and Ghana camps. The two youngest children have never even seen Darfur. For these new friends, and all those still living through the atrocities of this genocide, we will continue to work for peace and support the efforts of courageous, compassionate activisits like those of i-ACT.

Love and gratitude,

Lisa & family
San Antonio

Dear Gabriel and all,

Walter and I have been following your adventures with admiration and, yes at the end, some real concern. Thank you for your courage and determination and, of course, a big merci to the French soldiers as well. I was so happy to see yours and Zahora’s and the children’s joyous faces in the LA Times today. It is also wonderful how you never miss an opportunity to bring the Darfur people, the people in the camps, the people who will never again be reunited with father or mother or children, back into the center of the focus. At least, thanks to you and Katie-Jay and Joshua and Jeremiah they know they are not forgotten, but we really should be able to do more.

Je vous embrasse,


I just wanted to say I appreciate the posts you sent while in Chad. My wife and I lived in N’Djamena for 1.5 years in ’92-’93 and we have never had an experience even close to it. Back then the Meridian was just the Chari Hotel and the Novotel was where most expats stayed. Being further away from the Presidential Palace, it would probably have been a better choice as a place of refuge.

As another posted in a comment here, every day is an adventure in Chad even when there’s not a coup attempt in progress. One does become somewhat immune to the continual gun shots and occasional blasts but no one I know ever got used to seeing the dead bodies littering the sides of the streets, or the people killed smuggling almost anything across the Chari river.

We have many stories of our time in Chad as well as video to ensure we never forget, which would not be possible even without the video. Even with all of the terrible things that happen on a day-to-day basis, our strongest memories are of the wonderful people we got to know there and their kindness and positive attitude in the face of so much desperation.

It was a life changing experience for us and I imagine you as well. I wish you luck in all that you do to help the people of Chad. They are deserving of a better life and while we did what we could while there, it was always too little.

I would like to ask on a side note if you found the steaks as great as we did? A little place called Le Privelege and of course The N’Djamena Restaurant were our favorite eateries and to meet such wonderful people and have such fantastic food in N’Djamena was something you just don’t expect. I also wondered if Dougia(sp) was still the hot spot to go on a long weekend?

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