Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas in N'Djamena?

Christmas Eve in N’Djamena. This is our fourth day here. Jim, Ryan and myself are sitting side by side in an internet cafe. In the days since we’ve arrived, we’ve interviewed representatives of the Chadian government, leaders of the Sudanese Liberation Movement (SLM), and an American med student who’s traveled out here to get a better understanding of what the situation out here is. Our hotel is just down the street from Le Carnivore, an outdoor nightclub and restaurant right out of Connery-era Bond. On our first night there we ran into the American ambassador to Chad, Marc Wahl and a few of his associates from the embassy.. The next night I went there by myself as Jim and Ryan slept, met a bunch of Red Cross folks and ended up going dancing with them at a place down the block. The music music was good, as was the dancing that was done by everyone but me. I’m hoping to schedule an interview with the Red Cross folks.

Here’s an important thing to know about Chad: great steaks! Now, a note to all of you who have been so kind as to donate to this excursion: we’re not living high on the hog, steak is no more expensive than any other dish here. Turns out that Chad is a big exporter of beef, and it’s no wonder because whatever they’re feeding the cows here makes them taste oh so very good.

On the downside, we’re having trouble getting out of N’Djamena. We were scheduled to be on a UNHCR flight out to Abeche tomorrow, but we were just informed that it’s been cancelled. Why? Christmas! So now it seems like Christmas will be spent here in N’Djamena, unless we can get on a supposed commercial flight in the morning. Another option which has been presented to us is taking the bus. But this “bus” is essentially a VW van with people overflowing out the windows. Not to mention a two day drive. We’ve also had a few technical issues with sound and video, but we’re managing to adapt and overcome. That said, our editor and associate producer, Brian Cho, will have his work cut out for him when we get back.

Now we’re going to go forage for food on the desolate street that is Charles DeGaulle Road on a Sunday afternoon, and head back to interview ol Ceasar from Texas about how the hell he wound up in N’Djamena.

More soon.


Anonymous said...

glad to hear you're well. happy hols.
more updates please
xxx kiki m

Rick said...

At least they didn't cancel Christmas.

Stay safe, and keep us up to date!