Bahai beach

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bahai Beach 6

Bahai Beach 6

August 11, 2006

On Wednesday we were struck by a true tragedy. Behind the compound lies our septic tank. For reasons unknown to all the lid had been taken off the septic tank. At 1600 a group of children came to our gate crying that something had happened in the back of the compound. When the guard arrived a 5 year old girl was found inside the septic tank. She had fallen in and had drowned. The emotions running through the hearts and minds of the national staff ranged from disbelief, anger, sadness, shame, fear, sorrow. How could we have neglected such an important and basic practice? The police came to do an investigation where it was found that the incident was a tragic case but there had been no intent on our side. We pray for the family and the girl that has lost her life. All I can hope for is that we at our side at times reflect more on the procedures we have in our organization. It is near impossible to avoid accidents, but clearly we do not look good on this issue. As a consequence UNHCR needs to give all the NGOs in the area clearance to go to work for the rest of the week. Perhaps the host community does not take well to the loss of life of one of their children and all men in this community carry knives and possess guns in their houses. You may have read in the newspapers that across the border in Darfur but also in Sri Lanka humanitarian aid workers are becoming more and more a target to violence. Several projects across the border have been abandoned. Also the peace agreement between the Government of Sudan and Mini Minawi ( biggest Sudanese Liberation Armee ) is unraveling rapidly. Mini Minawi’s supporters form the majority of the people living in Oure Cassoni refugee camp. There is infighting in the SLA as well and several split ups are against the signing of the peace agreement. On top of all this the Chadian president Deby who hails from this region has been installed for a third term as president after changing the constitution to satisfy his needs. Many of his detractors come from his own family/clan the Zagawa. Again the population in our camp is also Zagawa but those that live across the border in Sudan.
On a lighter note I am currently the owner of 2 chickens. Two more are being brought today or Saturday. Friday it is Independence day in Chad so no work. I feed them with grains and rice and they are awaiting the completion of the villa I am building for them. As I tap Kutidai (Zagawa for hen) and Jedada Entai(Arab for hen) are pecking way at the grain I have purchased for them. Kokiak (Goran for hen) and the Sara term for hen are to follow suite soon. And somehow five sparrows find the neon lighting I have very interesting and sit on top of it every night. Mr mouse (zag zag) or desert rat also seems to like to hang out near my veranda.
With the holiday of our field coordinator the health coordinator will be acting field coordinator for three weeks and I shall be acting health coordinator for the same period. For the camp we have a monthly activity plan drawn up for all the different departments. Some of the things that we are doing this week include; paying the incentives to our refugee staff, filling holes (avoid mosquito breeding grounds), distribute bed nets to all pregnant women (about 300) and orphans (about 2000), have health campaigns about prevention of diarrhoeal disease, monthly stock inventory of the pharmacy, international drug order, prepare construction of a water basin in our health post and center, work on the quality of the drinking water (being trucked in form the dam), have an active malnutrition drive where the community health workers look for malnourished children, jobinterviews with laboratory technician and doctor, monthly report. One of the good things that did happen to us is the arrival of Charles a Congolese member of the Emergency Desk who will help us with drawing up of Memoranda of Understanding on different topics; agreement with Bahai Hospital as we have new funding there for a 6 month transitional period in which we try to hand over (again) the hospital to the authorities, reduction of refugee incentive staff members. I think I mentioned in the health department alone we had 108 when I came here, possibly around 70 would be a more effective figure. Also we are improving the pharmacy and storage of drugs in the camp and I can go on for a long time more.
Whenever Yoda Pancho and Dr ~Chewbaca get frustrated we get out our big football (look at and kick the ball or end up discussing the lesser and greater Philosophers of the last 3000 years. I am blessed with such a neighbor. He keeps me sane in times like these. No visits to the market this week.
Does anybody have a good suggestion for a weblog site. I am considering opening one.

Take care,


On Thursday all of a sudden 40 trucks with military rolled into the wadi. One kilometer from our base. Straight away we rushed to the compound. UNHCR found out it was Chadian Government troups. In the same night a soldier and a civilian got into a brawl over a women and the soldier shot the civilian in the abdomen. This morning we spent arranging a flight for the man as well as for a second case a young girl who had fallen in a hole. It is hot and the conflict in Darfur is getting more and more hot

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