Day 5: June 14, 2008

Safe in Abeche

ktj with camera “It’s just a hiccup,” Suzanne says to us. We are sitting in a small room with three mattresses off to the side of UNHCR’s fitness center, our home for the evening. I truly believe her. All is quiet here in Abeche and it will remain as such. If anything, the rebels will continue on past Goz Beida and on to N’Djamena. We are the lucky ones right now, that we have a bathroom, fresh bread and cheese, water, and mattresses. All International and National NGO staffers have been sent to “the zone,” which we are also in. But they will all be sleeping together, mostly outside, with all family members, and in an area with no water or other facilities.

I realize that this news is probably not what you or our families want to be reading right now. That many of you might be thinking, “not again.” But, really rebel movement in eastern Chad happens everyday, and as Suzanne said, “it’s just a hiccup.”

Our friends in the camps are really those who are most affected. Right now, with rainy season under way, refugee and IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps are already difficult to reach, but when vehicles and planes are grounded, they receive even less assistance. Hopefully, by morning, the fighting that is hours away from us has ended entirely and we can reassess our mission. Until then, please know that we are safe. And that our friends in the camps need you to still take ACTION today for them.

6 replies on “Safe in Abeche”

Dear Ninnie,
I continue to be proud of your persistence, patience, and bravery in travelling back to the camps. You are bringing us the true story of how hard and tenuous things are for those in Eastern Chad.

I can’t think of a cause more important than the one to stop genocide, the threat of death just for being who you are is unacceptable, I hope we see an end to it for the people of Darfur as soon as possible and for the Human Family forever. Your insistance on not deserting your friends in the camps is an example to us all not to abandon our values and ideals when things get more than a little uncomfortable, scary, or even life threatening.

Your trip is not wasted. Even if you don’t get to shake the hand of a single refugee, you are still teaching the world about their plight.


Thanks Ommi,
For your continuous support. I don’t know how I would feel if my only child was working to change the world by traveling to the places I do. Most of the freedom of choice and confidence I have that I am doing right with my life comes from having a good role model. I am glad that we have been able to reconnect over the last year, more so than any year since I graduated from high school. I look forward to more walks on the beach with you when I return. It’ll be your birthday soon and I can’t wait to spend it with you.
Love you Ommi, Ninnie

Dear KTJ,

Your previous post today read more like that of a foreign war correspondent! The latest news we’ve read this hour on Goz Beida leaves us increasingly concerned for all in your area. We know you are as safe as possible in your NGO compound, but the worry still remains. This “hiccup” is a bit too loud. We hope you hear from Bouba and your driver very soon. This is one time we’re glad you missed your flight! The EUFOR reports having the area secured after a strike by mercenaries, but rebel forces claim they will take N’Djamena on Sunday. We are adding extra prayers for a non-violent outcome to this latest instability in Chad, and greater protection of the vulnerable refugees caught in the middle.

Lisa and family

Thank you following the news Lisa!
We are staying at a compound just across from UNHCRs primary base and in the protection zone identified by protection forces. It’s Sunday here and we haven’t heard anything yet about N’Djamena or from Bouba in Goz Beida. It seems the Irish EUFOR forces took some fire when protecting the Djabal refugees and perhaps surrounding IDP camps, but were able to protect it without returning massive fire that could have lead to stray bullets landing closer to our friends. At the moment I am most worried about Bouba and our driver. To think we have sent them down there to met us, and now we are in a safe location than them. It feels really awful. Please pray from Bouba and Umar also.
Peace, KTJ

Thanks to all for your news and taking the time to communicate back to us here in rich, fat USA. Are we still on for the conference call Monday night (our time) Tues morning (your time)? Or, possibly you don’t know yet.

Glad to know you are overnighting in a relatively secure place. Be well.


Hi Sonia,
We are still on for now. We might have any news from the camps, but we will answer questions, etc on the call. Today all is quiet where we are.
Peace, KTJ

Leave a Reply