|This lake is not in Alabama|
|Lake Chad--full of islands, at least on this side.|
|Herve's chosen pose with our driver, Ali Adam, photo-bombing.|
|The Assessment Team!|
|Lake Chad from behind where we were staying. You're not|
supposed to be out after dark, so don't worry: we were just behind our
The point of this trip was to assess the situation around Lake Chad, where there has been a large influx of displaced people, fleeing the islands of the Lake because of Boko Haram violence in the area. People are living in makeshift houses with some small support from various NGOs. Many of them are also suffering from recent rainy season flooding, which has destroyed some of the crops in the area. IAS would like to do some projects there (and possibly Neverthirst too), so Herve and I went up to check it out. (Now, when you’re reading this, I’m worried that you’re pronouncing his name like ‘Hurve,’ rhyming with ‘curve.’ But it’s actually pronounced ‘Er-vay’. It’s French, guys. Come on. And no, I’m not going to put that accent on the last letter because it takes too long, and I don’t feel like it.)
|Sometimes camels ride in cars.|
Some photos from the various travels:
|Riding camels makes people happy!|
Or maybe being photographed by drive-by foreigners...
|Run, run little donkey and you can catch up!|
|Love this father and son outing. :)|
|I'd like to thank Herve for this photo of me taking a photo of the car.|
|Had to let some of the air out of the tires in an attempt to|
wiggle free, but it didn't work and he let out too much, so we
had to change a tire when we finally got out.
|Villagers and kind passerby stop to help push.|
|Posing for Herve.|
While digging under the car with both hands, reminiscent of a dog in a flower garden, I managed to burn the top of my arm on the “something” part of the car that apparently gets really hot when stuck in the sand. Don’t worry: I’m not going to include any gross photos of bubbling skin, but here is a photo of my arm covered in toothpaste. “Why?” you ask. Because Herve says that’s what you do for a burn. He grabbed his from the top of his bag and squirted it all over my arm before I could protest. Not sure it made much of a difference, but the last scab just fell off yesterday and now I have only a shiny pink patch of new skin.
Somehow, after dodging camels and potholes and scraping through the sand, we made it to Bol. We spent the next two days in meetings and searching for fish to eat (Herve’s request—he ate it for breakfast one morning too). We popped over to Bagasola for a bit too and saw gazelles and monkeys on the way. I was hoping for elephants (Herve saw some back in February in the area), but I knew it was a long shot, as rainy season means animals don’t have to go near humans to find water.
|Lake fish. This one was my favorite.|
I think that is because of the chili powder.
Anything is good with that stuff.
|I have eaten more fish in this desert country that I have in|
my entire life, and twice I lived by the beach.
But these Chadians love their river fish--
or in this case, their lake fish.
|I uploaded the wrong photo where you can't really see|
the gazelle antlers, but it took me several hours to get these photos up,
so just look up gazelle antlers on the internet, lazy person.
We had some good meetings with other NGOs and UN agencies in the area. We also made sure to take some time to talk to the local population, including government officials and health practioners. My favorite time was speaking with local IDP (internally displaced people) communities. I took notes in three languages and learned a couple of words in local tribal languages. People love when you make the effort to learn something in their language. There was screaming and laughter, so good
times are possible even without a bikini and a jet ski.
times are possible even without a bikini and a jet ski.
|Talking to IDPs, mostly in Arabic. Translating the numbers|
into French for Herve, who speaks decent Arabic,
but gets confused with the chiffres.
|Some of my notes. If you can't tell which is|
Arabic and which is English or French,
that's normal. My writing is always terrible in every language.
|The health center worker plus me. Thankfully the hijab is|
hiding most of the car hair.
Herve and I spent our evenings being eaten alive by mosquitos and watching French dubbed movies on his computer until his battery died. We occasionally had moments of electricity during the day, but nothing during the night. We watched a movie entitled “Le Prince de New York,” which is the one where Eddie Murphy is an African prince looking for a bride. I have never seen it in English, though I know it is a famous movie. And I can’t remember the English title. I do remember that Herve and I had a long conversation about how the female lead in the movie had a pretty face, but was way too skinny to be truly beautiful. “Amanda,” he said to me, “if you gain some weight, you could marry a Chadian man. We like to know that we are holding a woman when we have our wife in our arms.” So…I guess I better eat all of these gummy “sedans” that Leif brought me—Sveriges mest köpta bil! (Go find a Swede to translate.)
|One of the evil spiders lurking in my room.|
Fortunately, we had no electricity so I wasn't trying
to turn on the light. Herve killed him. Perks of traveling
with a man.
In conclusion, I was writing this in between writing the Needs Assessment and editing the proposal and discussing various aspects of the trip with Herve. Everything is done now but the question remains: will the internet be strong enough to post this?
Please enjoy the following photos that prove to you that occasionally my life is pretty entertaining:
|Camel parking lot in Bol.|
|Flooding in village. Malaria is a huge problem right now.|
|Cool kid who rode up and insisted I take his photo.|
I think it should be published.
|Fortunately, Herve captured this whole moment on camera too.|
|Chad and America--international community.|
People mostly like us here.
|Selfie with the driller's daughter and niece.|
|My new friend, Paluma, a Kanembu IDP from the islands.|
|Firewood for sale.|
|This migrant village was moving to a new location.|
We passed by them on the road and Herve bought some of the mats
they have rolled up on their heads.
|Testing the water quality from some locally drilled bore holes,|
no need for IAS machines, the terrain here is much easier to drill.
Sometimes the water is salty if not drilled well.
This water tasted fine to me--not salty at all.
|Again, Herve photographing me photographing others.|
But I like these little girls' smiles. :)
|A funky new kind of hand pump, designed by an American man|
who lived here for years, but caught some disease
and went back to America and died.
Legacy still strong in Chad, though!
|I'm going to make this photo large because I love it.|
I love how excited all these serious-looking men are to see their photo.
And I love that guy sleeping in the background.
|Yeah. That's about right-Amanda talking to a bunch of men.|
|Herve to capture this important moment.|
|The final really important moment captured by Herve:|
me picking the burrs out of my skirt after a bathroom break.
In the desert, if the only tree around has burrs, you still
squat behind it to pee because desperate times...
J'ai fini! Enfin!