Bahai beach

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Bahai Beach 31

Bahai Beach 31

Villa Chook

December 16

‘I strolled and found to my delight 11 eggs. One was actually hatching. It was a big surprise to me, as I had not noticed them before. But also I realized my chooks where in this magnificent wooden house with fireplaces and grass fields indoor. Overhead several parrots and….’
Wait I must have been dreaming. The little hut they have can hardly qualify as a villa and eggs are waiting for warmer days. A quick headcount and yes all present but alas no eggs. Seasonal breeding seems to be big in these parts of the world.

Cold showers on the other hand are popular. Our Captain of the Play-mobile brigade was some how delayed fro a departure from the camp. So we drove up to their base. That is a big word for 3 tents and a wooden structure with torn plastic sheeting several kilometers up hill near the chateau (gravity based distribution system). After some vague responses from the gendarmes and gentle prodding we found out the reason for the delay of the departure was the Captain’s bathing pattern. So then he finally finished and my o my did he smell fresh. We were on the move…
Until…At the gate the play-mobile brigade had to redistribute their 4 guns. Two for Bahai, two for Oure Cassoni…
Time to move?
No move as in batches of 2 there were the prayers of the soldiers. Two at a time so the others could guard the humanitarians. That giggly crowd was now wagering bets what would be the next reason for delay of departure. Lo and behold the bursting out of laughter when one of the Play-mobiles got tangled up in his turban.

The reason they are called Play-mobiles is because of their bright red coats, their casket helmets, the lacking of guns and their color full turbans. Turbans are found in a myriad of styles in the camp. And an essential item given the sand, wind, sun and now cold. Dr Ponce has a very fly way of wearing his dark green, Tim has a Saudi style wear (and the only black one in miles), and myself I like the Mogul style.

Mohammed Dria reported to me yesterday that the reason a bed was empty was because the lady who was admitted into it had died after childbirth. In 2006 there have been two maternal deaths from the camp and two from woman living in the district. Most likely there were more but two managed to come to the hospital. One of the reasons is that birth takes place in the home by traditional birth attendants with limited formal training, lack of materials and limited experience. Losing a woman in a natural process, as childbirth remains hard to accept and is always a tragedy. Always it needs to be remembered that until 2005 there was no functional hospital in the region. The nearest working hospital was at 70 kilometers away. Then there is the plethora of reasons; malnutrition of mother, female genital mutilation, limited antenatal services, traditional customs, multiple births, extreme young age mothers (15 or less) or older age (45 and more) and several other reasons. This case merits an investigation as to what went wrong.

In the camp I have become smitten with a black and white little goat. She is hopping around near to the hospital still suckling at her mother’s teat but as soon as she is old enough she may be promoted to guardian of the chook farm.

Other news from the camp:
The Goran population who are most likely from Chad and therefore by international definition (bla bla) not refugees but internally displaced people have by and large moved to the wadi. There they have shelter of the trees and it is slightly less cold. These Goran are herdsmen of camel and very few of them are registered in the camp so they do not receive petrol, food, blankets or any of the items distributed to the ‘real’ refugees. The distinction between the two groups is heart felt. Due to the dire circumstances in these regions and the insecurity their position is about as bad as the Zaghawa’s. Not enough rains for many years, banditry to steal their camels and goats, proxy war. It is just that they are not from the right side of the border to receive aid.

On a bigger scale in the rest of Chad due to the fighting going on around Guereda, Abeche and other places more South tens of thousands of Chadians are displaced. It will be a test case for the solidarity of the Chadian Government, UNHCR and the international aid community.
The Chadian Government as because their interest is to protect their citizens as well as host refugees. UNHCR as because being an IDP does not mean you cannot die of malnutrition. And the already scaled down aid community to deal with this ‘new’ group of people which is rapidly growing.

All through this a red threat or thread; the violence needs to stop. Chad is now making incursions in to Central African Republic and Sudan chasing rebels to their base. Sudanese supported rebels are fighting in Chad and Central African Republic. I cannot remember where I read that war between countries is history but all ingredients for a locking of horns between several countries is present.

And the French; the French are actively supporting CAR’s army by aerial bombardments (planes), helicopters and ground troops. To a lesser extent they are involved in Chad as well. Instead of by reflex always pointing to American Imperialism for once the French should look in to the mirror. Thousands are on the run because of the aerial bombardments in CAR.

Christmas is around the corner. A festival celebrating peace. Let the world stop ignoring ugly politics and come out against this unfolding nightmare.



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