Bahai beach

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bahai Beach 24

Bahai Beach 24

November 21, 2006

The convoy leaves…

This morning around 08.30 a convoy with IRC staff left for Abeche. Twenty nine of our national staff members are leaving until three indicators are met:

1. The two dacoits are sentenced according to the Chadian law and justice is dealt.
2. An increase of police officers to Bahai (as has been promised for 3 months now)
3. At the highest level in the country security of refugee camps and humantarian workers should be put back on the agenda.

I am proud that our staff were so firm in their conviction. Even the last 3 days 2 days gunshots were heard in town. They wish not to interrupt the program but want the minimum of safety to work in. The same goes for the expatriates. Two of us will return to Abeche and work from a remote control position. A feeling of sadness is also there. I know that several of our staff members wish not to come back to Bahai. Also going to minimum services is not the ideal scenario.
So in practice we have scaled down to a minute team of people. One vehicle available so we will we planning hard around all this one car. Remember there was a move planned. Well at least that has been put on hold for the time being. The powers that be have decided that water is an essential item to support life.
Spirits are high, the national staff that has remained behind has moved into the compound so the place is livened up. Today a large group of us were watching a James Bond movie for the first time in ages.
The camp in the mean time was fantastic. It feels like coming home every time I am there. We had a big meeting with all the refugee staff and they fully understood why we have suspended many of our activities. They themselves have fled for violence and wish nobody what has happened to them. The work to quote Osman Imam, our administrator at the health center will go on if for 3 days, 3 weeks or 3 months until our friends return.
Monday in the camp all snoozled up in the Toyota Landcruiser; at arrival it is quiet. Not many people at the health center. We are in between the diarrhoeal season and the season of respiratory tract infections. Time to talk with some of the zone leaders about the possibility of moving the camp in a more orderly way. The bottom line is that they are not against moving the camp, but want to have a strong voice in deciding where to. Fair enough I would say.
Never a dull moment in the camp though. As we were having lunch in one of the little restaurants (ful masri-Egyptian beans, salata tomatim with simsim and bread) a urgent call came from the security officer of UNHCR to inform us an injured man had arrived at the health center. He and four friends are from the camp but as goatherds men they had traveled into watery land 100 kilometer inside Sudan. There they encountered a troop of about 100 vehicles of Sudanese troops and janjaweed. After being pummeled with sticks they managed to run away but the last man Mohammed Suleiman was so unlucky to be hit by the bursts of fire of a Kalashnikov. As I asked Adam Suleiman (zone leader and my community health supervisor) why this happens his response was brief. They ‘janjaweed’ want to chase us Zaghawa of the land. A Zaghawa can be recognized by the earmarks his donkey has, the neck mark his camel has and his dark skin colour. All in this conflict are Muslim so is the amount of pigment in your skin a decisive factor if you have a right to live or not?
And then a ring on my satellite phone. An interview for look under November 20th Chad interview. The whole interview will be made available as a podcast as well. I hope the message I want to make clear comes through. The vulnerable in Chad and Darfur deserve a better faith and no person with internet connection should be able to say that the magnitude of the drama taking place is unknown to them.
On a much lighter note. For those of you who are cat owners. Mimi or also known as our zagzag devourer has developed the bad habit of peeing on every couch or bed she sleeps. Does anybody know how to address this burning issue. I AM LUCKY THIS CAT IS TERRIFIED BY MY CHICKEN. Think about those fuzzy chicklets becoming prey. By the way as you must have understood the goat did not manage to escape and ended up as roast. In memoriam to him I have let the fence he had damaged in the original state.

Well I guess I am done for today,

More soon,



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