Bahai beach

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bahai Beach 27

Bahai Beach 27

December 3, 2006.

Goni walks, UNHCR flies out.

If you would the silence is getting eerie. The days are gone that 15 vehicles loaded with aid workers rolls to be camp. At best 5 vehicles nowadays and each and every day less and less people in the Land-cruisers. Our pre-emptive move seems to have been spot on. We are back to the skeleton of people to run the minimal of activities.

This morning another sample of the high level of stress our partners operate under. Iriba Base a mere 100 kilometers away could not be reached by Thuraya and instantly the rumors start spinning. “Attacks, rebel movements, looting of the UNHCR stores.” Ten minutes later the rumors it was confirmed the rumors were wrong. It was not a troop of bandit/rebels but Chadian troops rolling in to town. Where and when they show up is never relayed to the Aid Community and with all armed people here wearing a mixture of home dresses, uniforms and semi-uniform it is never clear who is what.

As this morning events unfolded UNHCR announced it is withdrawing from 3 sites in the three more Northern sites in Chad. Only yesterday we were dancing in their compound to the beats if the farewell party of the Head of Bureau. A wicked party lasting from a 15.00 till Six Thirty…
Indeed in the afternoon, your definition of a hot party gets a bit messed up here in the desert. At one point it must have looked like a celebrity bash with photographers a plenty running around taking shots left, right, up and down. Even our play-mobile soldiers joined in the fun.

The different NGO’s have different responses to the latest security threats. There are NGO’s that are still operating at full force despite all recent events, there are NGO’s that have scaled down to minimal services like IRC, some NGO’s will do that now and other NGO’s will halt all activities for the time being. For sure there is no right or wrong response here. All have different frames of security analysis and different guidelines, different levels of donor pressure, different in house capacity to respond. Inch Allah they will all return and full activities will resume at the camp. This evacuation will take place just before the lifeline in the camp in other words the food distribution. Let us wait and see how that happens.

N’Djamena is still not under siege. Hippotami are floating hither and thither in the Chari River. Cranes & herons compete to show off who has the biggest catch. And Goni walks. Our sturdy driver has made it. He will be released from the hospital any time soon and after several weeks of rest he will rejoin us. But never again he will work in Bahai. It is too dangerous for him as well it would not be right for him to work there again.

The roosters seem to understand that if they do not want to end up in the cooking pot silence is golden. Not a bit of excessive cuckolding so far. But on close observation I still not have found eggs. What else could I contribute to their well-being. My thoughts range from a heater to a Jacuzzi. Well when I make up my mind I shall inform you all. Back to sleep I have a long day ahead of me and we will see where it takes us.

Some hours ahead of time a meeting with the leaders of the community. It is clear that they have not been left behind for the first time. Measures have been put in place to maintain minimal services but for sure programs are not running as easy as they should. One of the essential activities for this month, the general food distribution has been planned for tomorrow instead of in 8 days. These days are always highly stress full and with the departure of many UNHCR staff members it will not be easier. Last month in one zone the distribution had to be stopped as one of our staff members got attacked by a group of women armed with knives and sticks. Again the plan is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. The meeting ended as usual in a dispute over tokens. This word is one of my top 5 words in the camp.

Right after the meeting I was asked to attend a delivery by a young mother who did not manage to push out the head of the child easily. Thought I felt the umbilical cord around the neck and indeed that was the case. Zahara the midwife and I clamped the cord and cut it. Twenty seconds later a beautiful Zaghawa girl cried out. How majestic life can be.

The rest of the day we spent packing medications for two months with as destination the hospital. A contingency stock is in place there as well now. Actually after the delivery I was whistling and singing most of the afternoon. My, o my, this is a fantastic place to work.

Now could someone please solve the conflict so our community can go home?



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Blogger tooske50 said...

lees steeds je verslag en verbaas me hoe t daar toegaat en heb bewondering dat je kan leven onder die humor siert je jij en je **KIPPEN**.......maar n kindje dat op de wereld komt is t grootste wonder dat er is fluiten en zang is terecht!!! t zijn die dingen die t dragelijk maken....werels zit vreemd in elkaar..............hoop dat t komt zo je wenst!!:-))

7:55 PM  

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