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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The New Batch

Today the new South African police guys arrived. I am looking forward to working with them. Hopefully we will make a good team. South Africans look after each other over here. Posted by Picasa

Persuasion

Here a UNHCR worker is trying to explain to these Chadian refugees why it is better to be relocated. In this location they are only a thousand metres from the border. Posted by Picasa

UNHCR Arrives

As we left this UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) convoy arrived. They are busy trying to relocate the refugees in Gaillu. Today they only had 14 families that would allow the UNHCR to relocate them. The rest were afraid of the unknown. Posted by Picasa

Protection at the Ready

While we were at Gaillu the protection force platoon was at the ready nearby. Posted by Picasa

CAM

Here you can see what CAM stands for. Posted by Picasa

Children of Gaillu

When I took the photo of their school these children watched intently. It is critical for the success of this country that its children receives a proper education. Posted by Picasa

School in Gaillu

This is what the school looks like. We spoke to the teacher who also happens to be the person responsible for registering all new refugees from Chad. About a month ago 150 new refugees arrived out of Chad. The children looked reasonably happy. Gaillu is one of the safer villages in the area. Posted by Picasa

Clinic in Gaillu

This is the clinic in Gaillu. The vehicle belongs to CAM, a France-based NGO that specialises in providing Medical and sanitary relief. Posted by Picasa

Gaillu Patrol

Today we went to Gaillu, about a kilometre from the Chad border. In this photo you can see the lead vehicle in our patrol. Posted by Picasa

Organic Egyptian Drink

Sherif and his friend, Ashraf, last night introduced me to this very good hot drink which they say is not tea. I think its closest relative is probably tea and this is brought on more by the fact that it comes served in tea bags. It really is quite good and we found ourselves talking about all things as well as Islam until late. Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 29, 2006

Ready for Another Day

In the foreground one can see the vehicles used by CIVPOL. The new South Africans were supposed to arrive already, but we are still waiting. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Lizard Guild

Unlike me, these guys enjoy the sun. Posted by Picasa

Hello There

I took this photo today. Posted by Picasa

Rain Clouds

The rainy season is approaching. This time is earmarked as a period of very little mobility in Darfur. Posted by Picasa

Emergency

I took this photo as two vehicles left our base on Saturday to find an Mi 8 helicopter that had to make an emergency landing about 15- to 20 km from our base. In the end everybody was safe. Thankfully we are blessed with very good pilots. Posted by Picasa

The Sheriff of El Geneina

The guy in this photo is a very good friend I have made. His name is Sherif and he is an Egyptian CIVPOL officer. Unlike myself he spends every day inside IDP camps. Good luck with your typing lessons there, Sherif. Posted by Picasa

First Loss

The man on the left in this photo is Capt Mkhize. He was stationed at Masterei base about 65 km South South-West of here. On Friday he was involved in an ambush, but escaped unscathed although two men were wounded and one killed. Last night Masterei base itself was attacked. Numerous RPG 7's were fired into the base. Five soldiers were wounded and Capt Mkhize was wounded in the leg. He is currently in El Fashier. Remember that he is a Military Observer and as such we do not carry arms. I wish him a speedy recovery and good luck to everybody else trying to bring peace to Darfur. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Darfur Poetry (Written by a Darfurian)

Darfur is a Casualty

Worry nights about poor babies
whose life on the ground resources
Still waiting for the cloud raining
cleans starvation conflict boiling
The youth instead of standing by
They left Darfur to North Sky

Music of Darfur drums noising
not only for singing and dancing
neither for harvest nor collecting
only for chairs politicians are fighting
also for diet many people are suffering
The youth instead of standing by
They left Darfur for North Sky

Darfur is a great mother of men
she paid for now and then
but nature of life is often
loses hand of generous thieving smile
wonderful world beautiful people exile!
and the robust case which is alive
When do we build responsible life?
The youth instead of standing by
They left Darfur to North Sky

Anonymous

(This poem was written by somebody I have come to know in this area. He does not want me to post his name since he is afraid.)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Welcome Shade

Taken yesterday on our way back from Saraf Omra. Posted by Picasa

Water Colours

We passed this water hole on our way back from Saraf Omra. Posted by Picasa

Loneliness

I took this photo while on the move through the window of our vehicle. You can see rain clouds starting up in the distance. When we reached our base it started raining. Posted by Picasa

Wild Camels

We saw many wild camels yesterday. I could have gotten some brilliant photos, but we could not stop since we were trying to reach our base before nightfall. Posted by Picasa

Wadi

One of the wadis we had to cross with the truck yesterday. Posted by Picasa

The Reason

This submarine-yellow truck is the whole reason for the patrol. We escorted it back to our base. Thankfully it did not get stuck in any of the wadis we had to cross. It does belong to an NGO. Posted by Picasa

Flowers

The base at saraf Omra even has a flower garden! The soldier walking towards the camera is a Gambian soldier. In the distance you can see an Mi 8 Hip helicopter. These Russian choppers are our main method of transportation. Posted by Picasa

Lunch at Saraf Omra

When we arrived at Saraf Omra we had lunch there. Here is from left to right, Maj Theuri, Mr Qanadt (interpreter) and me. The food was better than at our base and I would have gladly been transferred here. Posted by Picasa