Lives of the Saints – International hardship duty in Chad.

Bredjing, a refugee camp in eastern Chad, close to the border with the Darfur region of Sudan. Twelve camps in the region house a quarter of a million Sudanese who have fled to the area and are now caught between warring armies. Photograph by Christoph Bangert.

The New Yorker has a lengthy article about aid workers in Chad.  @aidworkersntwk Twittered this a few hours ago.  I worked with Yvan in Chad in the early days of 2004.  Like others in my line of work I arrived alone at 3am with a backpack and a hotel reservation to set-up operations before our advance team arrived a week later.  Ah, fond memories of brutal heat, great food and lots of sand.  But are we really saints?  When I have time I’ll read it in full.  From the article:

1. THE WAR SEASON

Everything is fine, until the moment when it is not. And when that moment comes it can be very quick and very bad.

This is what Aiméry Mbounkap tells me on a Saturday afternoon in November of 2007. Mbounkap works as a site planner for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He is a robustly built man of about thirty, an architect by training and saturnine by disposition. We are sitting in the common room of a U.N.H.C.R. field office situated on the eastern frontier of the African nation of Chad, thirty-five miles from the Darfur border. Along that border, the U.N.H.C.R. oversees the operation of twelve refugee camps with a population of nearly two hundred and fifty thousand Sudanese who have fled to Chad to escape death, mayhem, and ethnic cleansing.

Read on…

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