Welcome to my world...
I've now been in Darfur for three months, and have finally managed to set up this blog. My good intentions of daily journal entries were destroyed immediately as I spent my first few weeks rushing from meeting to meeting, pouring over mountains of reports and websites, and yet going home late every night with a distinct feeling of not having grasped a single coherent thought about life in Sudan.
It’s exhausting to be here, physically and mentally. Even sleep is no release when you find it (and most of the time the heat doesn’t allow it anyway). With its frantic Lariam-induced dreams of missed airplanes, expired visas and urgent telephone calls, it doesn’t really offer much more respite than another long night hunched over the dimly-lit laptop (or, alternatively, over a bottle of dodgy Cameroonian whiskey with equally dodgy fellow aid workers).
After a week, I was ready to panic about all the things I still didn’t know or understand. Three months on, I am calmer. Not that I suddenly get it – I’ve just realised that no one else here seems to have much of a clue as to what is going on either.
Not that you would guess from talking to people of course. I have quickly learned to become very sceptical of anyone who sounds too confident or opinionated…most of the time, they are the ones who have spent the least time outside of their air conditioned offices (except for the time they spend talking themselves up to other aid workers at the all-important inter-agency meetings of course).
Tags: Sudan, Darfur, NGO, aid worker, airplane, visa, Lariam, whiskey