Waiting…waiting…waiting. It seems like 90% of the time we have spent since arriving in Chad has been spent waiting. In the first 24 hours in N’Djamena our waiting time was split between the American Embassy, with whom we needed to register our presence in Chad, and the UNHCR, which was the designated agency to procure for us our office Permission to Circulate within the country. At the UNHCR, the person in charge of obtaining our Permission to Circulate met our request with a look that said something like, “you can’t possibly expect me to get this done for you this week, can you???” She explained that there were many people in line before us, that everyone but her was on vacation and that she was soon to be taking her lunch break. She had absolutely no intention of getting to our papers that day. As we wandered around the UNHCR compound we met a young worker with whom Rachel had communicated over the past couple of months about a box of our JWW potholders, which we had shipped to Iridimi from LA but which were “MIA.” We mentioned our Permission to Circulate, and somehow I think he helped push the paper work along. After 9 hours, our Permission papers were ready. Such a feat! Keep in mind, we already had VISAS issued by Chad in the US; why would we come to Chad if not to circulate in the country?
The next morning (this AM for us) we awoke at 5:15 AM and waited 3 hours until our UN plane was ready to leave for Abeche. Now, we have been Abeche ALL day, basically secluded in the UN complex, waiting first to get yet another set of Permission papers and then waiting for tomorrow morning’s flight to Iriba.
We also had to wait for water to be delivered to be able to go to the bathroom.
And, we waited for the temperature to cool down from what felt to me like 150 degrees.
And, while we were waiting for it, we were just informed that there is a curfew due to some violence in a refugee camp a few hours drive from here.
So, we are about to be driven to this very odd room in which we will be spending the night – it is not in the UN compound, as all of the rooms were full.
It is all very surreal and I feel very, very far away from home.