Bahai beach

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bahai Beach 38

Bahai Beach 38


23 January 2007

‘On your right you may see a braiding donkey and rapidly after on your left a 4 year old helping his 9 year old sister preparing bricks. Bricks that will then be baked in the sun and together with mom will be constructed into a wall. This will act to keep out the merciless wind and sand. Less and less we rely on communal latrines and we actively promote the construction of family latrines. At your left the impact of the fore mentioned wind. This used to be a wooden construction with plastic sheeting. This construction has a function as a pre school. But now all that remains are the wooden poles. The plastic sheets are blowing in the wind. I cannot elaborate enough how harsh the circumstances are for the refugees in Oure Cassoni camp. In the summer it is up to 50 degrees and there is no dearth of water. Water in Lake Carriari may run out as the lake dries up like it did last summer. In the winter the desert climate is cold beyond belief and then around January the storm season (houboub) sets in to pound on the tents and housing in the camp. After three years not all tents are as crisp as they used to be. They beauty of resilience however prevails over the camp. Comparing to the three years ago major progress has been made. No more living under the trees without latrines, health structures, clean water or schools. Now there are schools, there is 350.000 liter water available per day for the camp, there are health post and a health centre and the shitting fields of old have been replaced by proper latrines. There has been a huge improvement in the overall health status of the camp. There are few cases of malnutrition, the number of children dying before reaching their second year of life has reduced and out breaks of communicable disease have reduced as well.’

Doubling as a tour guide duo: beauty (Ashis) and the brains (Joseph) meandered our way through the camp to give the visitors of USAID an honest view and explanation of the camp.

Mathias our Environmental Health Manager had a show stopper in the form of a demonstration of water testing. Ooh’s and Aah’s multifold when he showed the difference between the water from the lake and the water after intense treatment in reverse flow filtration, chlorination and aluminium sulphate deflocking. Not only does it sound impressive it looks impressive. On the top of a hillock there is a water reservoir and with a gravity flow based system and underground piping the camp can be supplied with water.

Alphan, our education manager demonstrated the pre-schools, primary school and talked about our new pride; secondary schooling. We are among the first in Chad to implement this in a refugee setting. Time and time again in meetings youth leaders and zone leaders come up with the lack of opportunity for their children to progress beyond primary school. This is a good opportunity and who knows when the first refugees will be ready to enter University. Although it is a sad thought that people have gone through large parts of their educational years inside a windy, isolated and desolate refugee camp it is the reality of the refugee.

These cats of ours are too cute. Sunday they spent the entire morning sitting in my dustbin basking in the sunlight, purring while observing my flock of chicken. They – the chicken that is – seem to be taking over the entire terrain again. In the morning they come out of their fenced housing and come to pick a worm or insect here and there. I wonder if my songs will start impressing them again. I have tried bargaining, seducing, pleading, begging but still no eggs. It is said they required a rooster. Well I have supplied. They required a stove in their house, installed and all. Now I am happily awaiting eggs. Still dreams exist of becoming the biggest chicken farmer of at least Bahai.

Yesterday in the camp a lady presented with a big belly. A hundred and seven centimeter circumference. She was pregnant of twins and was about 42 weeks. The babies were due to be delivered therefore. In the camp she came at 09.00 o’clock in the morning and the whole day the progression of her labor was slow. At the end of the day we took her to Bahai hospital where she was given a perfusion with medication and we tried to make the contractions more firm and coordinated. In the morning (we had to leave the hospital, leaving a nurse in charge) I was awoken at six. The babies had not come yet. So we had to scramble to make sure she could be evacuated to Abeche for an emergency caesarean. She has just left on the airplane.

More news to follow….

At 18.00 we heard that the mother is fine and that she has two healthy baby boys.



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