The sandstorm whirls through the city and we pull all the windows and shutters closed. Huddled over my blinking computer, I take a moment to let my dazed mind enjoy the brilliant dust particles that float silently through the hot humid room - but it barely takes an instant until a new avalanche of thoughts and to dos comes rushing through my head and yanks my attention back to the keyboard.
I type at a speed that nearly makes me dizzy, my fingers desperately contorting themselves to catch up with a mind that has made a habit of speed-reading ahead.
When the throbbing headache finally becomes too much, I call my friend in West Darfur for a quick break. In the similar desire to detach, she has taken the day off.
(Well, she has also taken the day off because she has no email. And, if the latest rumours are to be believed, will not have a regular phone line again until November. I'm glad to know there is enough Sudanese oil money to build a bowling alley in the Afra Center, but that no one in the government thinks it is important for West Darfur to communicate with the outside world.)
Another Friday in Darfur, and still nothing to do. In the absence of a Friday man, my friend is devouring a tattered copy of War and Peace. She has reached page 1049.
We are a weird bunch, the aid workers. Always in motion and still so confused. Passionate one second, detached the next; charming and full of smiles today, self-destructive and gloomy tomorrow. When I talk about the displaced and distressed people I work with, I sometimes wonder if I am describing IDPs or my own colleagues.
Time to head back out to the field I think...
Tags: Sudan, Darfur, aid worker, sandstorm, dizzy, email, War and Peace, displaced