A Day to Rest
By Gabriel Stauring
It’s Sunday, and we could not get a ride to the refugee camps. Actually, we could not get an armed escort, and the powers that be do not allow cars to go on their own. When I first came to eastern Chad in 2005, we arrived in Abeche, the biggest town in this area, we rented a car, hired a driver, and took off across the desert. We did that for the first three years, but then it became more dangerous out here than it already was.
So Sunday is a pause day. I know that it’s good for our bodies and minds, and it allows me to reflect back over the last six days, which feel like one long, emotional, and exhausting day.
If you read my previous blogs, you might be surprised to know that we laugh a lot out here. My team laughs about all the many obstacles we face to get done what we need to get done, and I think we just laugh from being tired and to let out stress. The refugees also laugh. My biggest hit for making them laugh is when I ask how often they eat meat. Almost without exception, the mothers would start with a smile, as they first heard the obviously ridiculous question, and the smile would turn into a soft chuckle, and from that to a full laugh. They would say, “Meat? How can I get meat?” Most of them said that, if lucky, maybe once every month or two, but some could not remember the last time.