Following on the theme for World Refugee Day (June 20), we decided to take on that general theme for our trip: Protection. We were to focus on what protection means to the millions of displaced, and, when visiting the camps, show how the refugees feel about protection in the camps and back home. As with our trip in February, a lot of our attention has been re-directed to our own protection.
Since we arrived in Abeche, the main town in Eastern Chad, the rebel offensive has disrupted humanitarian aid throughout the region. It has also kept us in Abeche. We are keeping an eye out on N’Djamena, knowing that it is the main goal for the rebels, but it is also our way out of the country.
Yesterday, Abeche prepared for the rebels. The market was closed; children were taken out of school; aid worker were under curfew. It is morning now, the time that rebels usually attack, and all is quiet, so far.
The team is doing well. We are staying informed and looking at our options. We are close to French and EUFOR bases, which would be the place to go, if the rebels do come. We are all losing some weight, but getting enough to not go hungry. It’s the Chad diet. I have always lost between 10 and 15 pounds during my different trips.
At UNHCR, Suzanne was been more than wonderful, keeping us well informed and helping our spirits with her positive energy. We are still waiting to see Bouba, our translator. I am sure that, as soon as he sees it’s safe, he will come with driver to Abeche. We want to see him back here. He knows everyone here, and I’m sure it’s where he wants to be. We are less concerned about our supplies and panels that are in the car with him, but it would be nice to have some more changes of clothes, more options on food, and the tiles that refuse to be pinned down to be taken to the US.
Thank you all for the positive notes in your comments. Please keep them coming. We will let you know how things continue out here. Let’s hope for peace and protection for all the people in Chad, Darfur, Sudan, and the entire region.