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Friday, January 26, 2007

Movie Night
















Last night we had an outdoor movie night at our house. We prepared snacks and watched Taladega Nights as well as Platoon. It was good to have a break in routine. On screen in the photo you can see a scene out of the documentary by Hilary Anderson entitled "The New Killing Fields". It was screened on BBC and is an hour long. For anybody interested in knowing what is happening in Darfur this documentary is a must-see. If the file size was smaller I would have published it somewhere by now, but an internet search should yield positive results.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sudan Watch

If you were to look at my links list you would find a link to Sudan Watch. Since I arrived in Darfur in March 2006 this blog has been one of my main references for information concerning Darfur. Sudan Watch is not only a source of news about the big stories, but also the smaller stories that helps me put a picture together for my work. This makes it one of the more unique websites out there. I will be leaving Darfur in body in approximately 65 days and I would recommend Sudan Watch as one of the better sources of information for incoming observers. Well done and thank you.

Sector Commander
















Lt Col Gary Lloyd visited us. He is the current acting sector commander of Sector 6, Darfur. Sector 6 is the South African Sector. It seems like we will be returning home on 30 March and not 21 February. Col Lloyd will be going home even later than us, which is long if one considers that he arrived here before us as well. Tough if your newborn son's birthday is on 15 March and you were not there to see his birth. Recently the colonel was involved in mediation between warring factions in sector 6. Rod Nordland of Newsweek did an article on it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

South African Gifts
















A couple of days ago Brian arrived from South Africa and can be seen here joining his convoy to Mellit. In his left hand he is carrying the Christmas gift given by the SANDF to all South Africans deployed. It consists out of a camping chair and small cooler bag. Via the grapevine it has come to my attention that the South Africans who are to replace us as our mission ends are already mobilising in Pretoria. What that means is that the rumoured date of 21 February may still be the date when we return to South Africa and not 18 March.

Sunrise in El Fashir
















With all the dust in the air a few mornings ago I witnessed quite a dramatic sunrise. The dust filters out most of the sunlight and visually all you are left with is this great big orange ball hanging low in the sky.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Burnt Out Shop
















This is the aftermath of the unrest of 06 December when this shop outside Zamzam base was burnt out. Go to my previous post of 07 December to be reminded of the incident.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Swedish UN Member
















A Swedish police officer, now working for the UN, on parade this morning as the UN Light Support Package was handed over to the AU.

Hybrid Force
















This is what the new UN/AU hybrid force will look like with both UN and AU insignia. For now anyway.

Newsworthy
















A photographer grabs a photo at the handing over ceremony of the UN Light Support Package to the AU earlier today. This package includes night sight equipment, GPS's, sleeping bags and so forth. AMIS already has many of these items, but thus far I have had the impression that few know how to use equipment like GPS's. I hope training in the use of the new equipment is part of the package or it will mean nothing for the people of Darfur.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bill Richardson Arrives in Darfur
















Bill Richardson, the current governor of New Mexico, USA, steps off his plane this morning. Shortly after disembarking he was introduced to the local leaders and then drove off into the sunrise.

Meeting the Locals
















William Blaine "Bill" Richardson, the man billed as the next US president meets the local leaders here in El Fashier after landing earlier this morning.

Boys at Play
















Boys will be boys, even in Darfur. Taken last night near our house.

Monday, January 08, 2007

UN Chief of Staff















On the left is Colonel van Staden. He is the new UN chief of staff appointed for the incoming UN elements to form part of the hybrid force consisting out of UN and AU personnel. I am also seeing many more UN personnel around AMIS HQ.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Quadding the Sinai
















I am back and stress free (for a while at least). This is a photo of me doing a quad ride near Sharm El Sheik on the South Coast of the Sinai Peninsula a few days ago. The job of a Military Observer is not all bad. Still, I cannot wait to go home in 70 days.

Dahab Camels
















During my leave to Egypt I spent four days in Dahab on the Sinai East Coast. What a great experience; I cannot wait to go back.

Alexandria Beach
















I spent my time in Alexandria mostly indoors since it was very cold. This is a view of the beach and one of its distinguishing features, very high buildings.