We’re wrapping up our first full day in Chad now, and you should see Gabriel and KTJ’s room. It’s a maze of wires, boxes, cameras and computers, everything we need to keep you all updated as we make our way out east to the refugee camps. Today was a big logistics day, figuring out all of the permits, electronics and flight plans. It’s great to finally be in N’Djamena, but I’m anxious to get out to Abeche and farther where we’ll have more freedom of movement and can finally get the real work started.
After exploring around the hotel to see where the i-ACT4 team was crawling around to avoid gunfire and seeing the remaining bullet holes in the walls here, it feels a bit weird to be here. The hotel is guarded by at least 4 security guards, and there are a ton of military personnel staying here, so I actually feel very safe. It’s been interesting for me to think about the protection we have versus the protection that the refugees have in camps. I probably have 50 people within 200 yards of me that are trained for protection or combat, and I just can’t stop thinking how much better this situation would be if every refugee could enjoy the same security. I think that if the international community could provide anywhere close to that, we’d see people finally move back home.
It’s hard to describe the nervous excitement pitted in my stomach because of what lies ahead of us in the next 12 days. I’m less nervous about my own security, but more about the fact that I’m finally going to be sitting down with the people that so many activists and I have been working to help. The feeling is almost like I’m going in for an exclusive interview with some VIP that I really look up to. Gabriel and KTJ have enough experience with this that I’m sure we’ll hit the ground running and cover everything that we need to, but it will be nice to get to our first camp soon.
Along with the anxiety, I also can’t stop feeling incredibly lucky to be here. There are so many people that have worked the long days and sleepless nights for the Darfuris that are affected by this conflict, and I know every one of them would love to have the opportunity to do what Scott, Gabriel, KTJ and I are about to do. I really do think it’s chance more than anything else that has placed us, and not any of the other activists out there, in N’Djamena. Hopefully we can represent the student movement well and bring you all some valuable information and insight.