Friday, December 22, 2006

Life in Chad

We've arrived in Chad, and have begun the filming process. Chad is proving by turns to be fantastic, frustrating, and baffling. I did find it profoundly amusing listening to Elvis' Blue Christmas on the Ethiopian Air flight to N'Djamena, which is proving to be strangely prophetic.

Indications here are that the bulk of the rebelliion has subsided, and I wonder about that in connection with recent diplomatic events, about which I will write about later. The interplay of power politics among European countries, the US, China and India is something to behold, and a subject that I will be mulling over for some time to come.

In any case, it appears that the worst of the violence may be over, but situations anywhere can be subject to rapid change, so we will be keeping an eye out.

Security is an issue here - it is quite unwise to wander around at night without some security, although we haven't heard a lot ofgunshots. Last night we went to a restraunt about two blocks away. As the security guard was getting ready to escort us, he grabbed his nightstick. The more interesting part is that he also grabbed his knife and concealed it before leaving with us. On the other hand, guns here aren't nearly as common as they were in Ethiopia.

As far as interviews go, we interviewed the Minister of Communications, who gave a perspective on the recent restriction of the press. Additionally, we have talked with journalists (from a wire service), school principals (a Turk running a private school), and aid workers. We have transport out to the east arranged provisionally.

Past that, however, we are finding Chad to be heinously expensive, which is interesting given the relative lack of prosperity one sees. The cost of interpreters, fixers, even a very austere hotel, and food, have all been quite steep. It appears that the support campaign will have to continue if we want to limit our personal losses to only a few grand each.

3 comments:

Victoria said...

Jason, mi amore, I am happy to read that you arrived safely in Chad and that everything seems to be going well. I will be thinking about you at Christmas. I guess your present will have to wait till the next time you come to New York...
XO,
v

Owen said...

'Sudan 'accepts UN Darfur force'

It's great to hear that you have made a good start with filming. Your interviewees seem like an interesting bunch already. You mentioned that you would comment on the latest developments in the UNSC -- for instance see the link below. I would be interested to hear the reaction local to you.
Good luck!
Owen

(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6204489.stm

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