Bahai beach

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bahai Beach 69

Bahai Beach 69

Eggs & Kut Kuts

June 9, 2007

Surprise, surprise! It seems my chooks have noticed my nearing departure and in a ploy to keep me here they are working on my conscience. Fourteen eggs have been produced in two days. They know that when I leave there will be a rush at their house and they will end up in the cooking pot. I have therefore applied for passports and visa so our chook emporium can happily expand in the Netherlands. My parents have a nice garden and I am sure they will feel at home there. And the weather is much less extreme there as well.

For those of you who wonder; kut kut is Zaghawa for chicklet.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday an information campaign was held for the women in the camp. Three days in three different zones community health workers, traditional birth attendants, midwives and doctors addressed the brightly dressed crowds varying from 150-450 women and 30-150 children. The focus was on antenatal and postnatal check ups and births in the health center. With a question and answer game about 40 t-shirts were given to those who answered most questions correct. I was the lucky one to be praising the women on their changes in health seeking behavior. Only 4 months ago the vast majority of deliveries took place in the home and now about 90% take place in the health center. Such a wave of warmth hit me after and during each presentation. To be called Papa of the camp or having 450 woman applauding every second sentence you speak is unique and something I will not forget. Our goal was to increase the knowledge of the women of our services. Looking at the numbers (>2200 attending women in 12 sessions) and the enthusiasm we must have done well. At the last meeting a very senior traditional birth attendant, not working for us took the megaphone and explained that now the services in the health center are so good she can retire in peace. Crashing waves of applause followed her spirited words.

All day long in the mean time artillery fire could be heard (about 16 shots) on the Sudanese side of the border. In one case the smoke could be seen. It remains surrealistic. Kids keep on playing, meetings continue, business as usual.

Part of the business is to hand over the responsibility of decisions to the refugees themselves. In our case it means to the elected health committee. For two months they have been meeting and last week their first formal decision, a choice between two candidates for the post of pharmacist. Let it bet he beginning of a string of decisions for the benefit of the community.

Yesterday I was trying to assure the transportation of my books and heavy items by truck to N’Djamena by truck. By air we are allowed to carry only 15 kilo so you can imagine that big bags needed to be sent en route. I ended up vexed because Marc told me the truck had already left early in the morning. I stumped out of the dinner and was about to start cursing when I met Alphan, our education manager. As we have the right to take quite a lot of luggage to and from the project I told him to punish IRC I would take 1 bag with 50 kilo of sand, as well as a bag of 50 liter of water. Like this I could recreate my sleeping condition in the Netherlands as it has been here. Sleeping on sand. One gets used to it after all. Both Alphan and I ended up crying with laughter and he set out to find me some prime sand that day. Tim has been asked to find me the water. Samples from bladders, the lake and random other places will be appreciated.

As it is a day not laughed is a day not lived!



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