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i-ACT20 Day 5: Out to the East


We Keep Going

By Sara-Christine Dallain

Our morning of travel to Iriba in eastern Chad was filled with both newness and the usual excitement that comes with heading out of the capital. On our first flight to the large town of Abeche, we were served a juice box, crackers, and peanuts! What a treat. We have never been offered snacks before. Humanitarian air service in Chad has stepped up their game. However, they’ve also started charging for flights. So I guess my berry flavored juice box was not free.

At the desolate Abeche airport, where we take a connecting flight to the north, the procedure was the same. Get off the plane. Get on a small bus that drives you an absurdly short distance to the airport building. Show passport and travel permits. Then check in. Identify baggage. Stand in the waiting room. Keep an eye on baggage that is sitting outside. Get back on the small bus. Drive the short distance to another, smaller airplane. Identify baggage and make sure its loaded. Get on the plane. I was happy to see the same folks from previous trips were still the ones handling our baggage, checking us in, and verifying our travel permits. It’s always wonderful to see familiar faces and be greeted with warmth.

Next we hopped on a pretty small plane. Gabriel, Rachael, and I sat in the front row. I could have given the pilot a shoulder massage.