Saturday, December 17, 2011

N'Djamena

So far I've been disappointed with the lack of street food. Ya, there are bananas, and I have seen the odd other fruit or a baguette walk by, but the most common other thing I've seen are trays of fried locusts. Big ones. With lemons. I am not going to try them. We're still not totally organized or sorted yet. Maybe we never will be. It may be impossible to do so in a place such as this. But we haven't starved to death, eating nice bread and we are purifying water from our bathroom with a purifier James brought. I don't feel like I'm actively contributing a whole lot other than moral support most of the time to be honest but it's an important role too. We just seem to be trying to balance a lot of different things at the same time so staying focused and not giving are going to be key. It's weird being in the fifth wheel role.
I also honestly doubt I will get many photos of Chad, certainly not any to put up on the blog while I'm doing text. It's just too anti-photo around here. People see a camera and they freak out and the police, security, etc are always suspicious. We are filming secretly without using something obvious for film and even that generates more attention than we want. We do have a video camera here and the first time we brought it out to film our lunch with Jiddy and his friends with their permission it started a big argument with other people at the little eatery, even though we'd told them they wouldn't be filmed. So something as obvious as a camera is not something you want to bring out and play with really. We did find out that Jiddy is somehow affiliated with the police as he has a police ID card. It's probably a good thing, but we are generally afraid of the police more than anyone else too.
Have I mentioned the flies? Lots of those. Lots of little lizards running around everywhere too. And mosquitoes also. I haven't missed them and am now back to starting my mornings with the mass slaughter of revenge killings. My blood comes at a very high price. Malaria is definitely a problem out here so we are taking Doxycycline for prevention. Another unmissed aspect of travelling that I'm back to again is hand-washing the laundry. I was smart enough this time to go with really light-weight clothes so it would be easier, but I have never liked the process.
I have finally seen some traffic lights. They are just little ones on the side, not above the intersection and look really out of place as well as useless as nobody seemed to be paying any attention. If I was going to have a city scavenger hunt here I'd make that one of the items. Find a traffic light. And a building taller than 2 storeys. That'd keep people busy for a while....
We ended up sorting out the battery issue fully, more or less, before moving on to the next thing. We still haven't started on location yet. It's possible to buy stuff here to set up solar power systems, but the system is different from what James wants, which is a bit messed up because he has already brought out half of what he needs. For example the battery we have now is a wet battery (We had an accident and James dropped a bottle of electrolyte/acid which broke over our legs and one of Jiddy's friends didn't realize what it was so started cleaning it up with his bare hands. Fortunately it wasn't too strong and we were in front of our hotel so it didn't burn our skin too long.) with the wrong terminals so he'll have to rig it up somehow. It'll brobably end up being a fire hazard and burn down half the city or blow up like home made fireworks.... So it's all good and remains interesting.
On Friday we moved over to our new residence, where we should've been from the start. It's the SIL compound. It is a missionary compound primarily (Protestant) and unless you have some sort of religious connection you can't really get in here anymore. There are missionary families living in here permanently and others come to work. James is also a new director of a Chad based NGO called ENVODEV which is now not religious oriented but way back when was a religious organization and so still has some contacts like this. Cool for us, but it also means we get to change hats, name drop a bit, try to behave and pretend we're doing holy work ;) We change what we're doing as we have to. The amusing thing is that Jiddy and his friends that accompany us daily are obviously Muslim. So when Jiddy tried to drive into the compound in his pickup with our stuff, he got some very funny looks from security and we didn't think they'd be allowed in. I guess there is still some religious suspicions or something going on. The populace is apparently about 50/50 and it's not too hard to tell them apart from the style of dress and language. The good news for us is that because it is a special type of compound that you really have to earn your way into, we are now staying in basically an apartment, with our own living room, kitchen, etc for less than $20/day total! It's a very very nice deal. We are reserved in here for the next 2 weeks.
I think we've also finally turned a corner with Jiddy as he seems to be more welcoming of us and relaxed and when we went to his home today to film his family we were able to openly film the entire thing. He still shows up to meet us very late, but I guess we'll have to chock that up to African time... So now I'm staying in a nice compound, have a local driver (who doesn't know where anywhere is, but whatever, you can't blame a guy when there are no street signs and he doesn't normally work with foreigners) and generally feel awesome.
Ammon

2 Comments:

At 4:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaahhh you should've tried the locusts with lemon! I would actually like to try that. Cool write-ups!

Sky

 
At 4:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems weird to me about the concern with cameras. I wonder why? Did you ever find out what major issues with them were?

Sky

 

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