Traveling to Eastern Chad

by | May 28, 2019

We get on a huge plane at LAX and fly to Paris, where we get on a large plane and fly to N’Djamena, where we get on a medium propeller plane and fly to Abeche, where we get on a small propeller plane and fly to Guereda. From there, it’s all SUVs on bumpy dirt roads.

Refugee Camp Kounoungou, Chad. Photo: Gabriel Stauring/iACT

These refugee camps we visit are in one of the most remote regions of the world. I guess by “remote” I mean far from where I live, Redondo Beach, California. There is sand here in eastern Chad, but no beach. It will be around 110 degrees every day. A friend at the Abeche airport told me, “It’s getting cooler! It was so hot just last week.” Here’s where I would insert a crooked mouth emoji if I were typing on my phone.

Luckily, we are staying in rooms that are air-conditioned. I don’t understand or remember how I was able to withstand sleeping in huts in the heat when I started coming out here in 2005. I have been drinking water nonstop. Nonetheless, I’m always thirsty. We bring our own food. It would be wonderful to try food prepared here locally, but we just can’t risk getting sick. We are here for very few days, and we have a large list of tasks we need to accomplish. Being sick for a day or two would really set our work back.

For this trip, I have nuts, dried fruit, bags of tuna, crackers, bags of beans, and some chips. I eat less than half of the calories I usually eat back home, and I appreciate the opportunity to observe my relationship with food, especially since I’m visiting families that worry about whether or not they will have a next meal.

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