Today I got a lovely email from Michael, an operations manager at Random House (a big publishing company) who says:
"I've been following the events in Darfur for some time now and came across your blog. It's great to get a first hand view of life as an aid worker so thank you for providing such a well written account for others to read.
I noticed that you and your friends were bemoaning the lack of new reading material. Is it possible for books to be sent to you, or maybe I should say, for books that have been sent to you to be delivered. Since I work for a publishing company which greatly appreciates the work done by aid organisations, and since I have a particular interest in Darfur and the plight of it's people, I would be quite happy to send you a selection of books. Just need to know that you would actually get them."
Given the dearth of good books here in Darfur, I was understandly pleased and also quite touched by this sweet offer. Unfortunately, I'm also at a bit of a loss as to how to accept it: not only am I trying to be anonymous here, I should also point out that there is no standard postal system in Sudan (as in the kind with street names and numbers).
Even in the capital, Khartoum, none of the houses have numbers and none of the streets have names. Someone has usefully decided to number some of the streets - only they have only used odd numbers (and even then they don't use all of them in their correct numerical order). So really, the only way to get mail in Sudan seems to be by PO boxes (and no, there is no Mailboxes Etc in Darfur).
So if anyone has any bright ideas of how Michael could send us some books (CDs? DVDs?) electronically please do let me know (I've never actually read an e-book and have no clue how long it takes to download/whether it can be burned onto a CD to hand out to others who don't have internet access/etc.) Can you even send DVD files by email? Now that would make me a pretty big hit over here, let me tell you...
In the meantime, my thanks to Michael for the kind offer - even if it might not work it has brightened my day to know that not everything in the world is evil and depressing. But more on that tomorrow...
Tags: Sudan, Darfur, aid worker, books, Random House, post, Khartoum, DVD, CD