Wednesday, July 13, 2005

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...

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At , Blogger K.M. said...

Are you trying to remain anonymous from readers, or from the aid organization you are working with - or both?

If it is only readers, then perhaps he could send the books to your organization and they could deliver them to you (obviously, I know nothing about the logistics of such operations, so I probably have no idea what I am talking about.)

Or perhaps there is some way to deliver electronic copies of books to you, which you could then print out (again, I know nothing of your situation, so that too might be entirely impossible.)

There has to be various ways to get deliveries to Sudan - unfortunately, I have no idea what they are.

At , Blogger sleepless in sudan said...

I'm afraid the anonymity goes both ways - my organisation would almost certainly get into big trouble with the government if they were found to condone one of their staff members' speaking out about the situation in Darfur as frankly as this.

Michael has suggested sending the books to an embassy in the capital, so I'll have to think about that one for a little...

In the meantime, I hope people will feel just as generous towards the victims of this conflict as they do towards aid workers, and support the relief efforts in Darfur on their behalf - see my links pages for information on organisations working in Sudan!

At , Blogger Ethan Zuckerman said...

One possibility as far as books is concerned is sending you .pdf or text files via email... or pointing you to downloadable ones on the web, like Cory Doctorow's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom"

Movies are a little harder... I'm guessing your connectivity isn't good enough to make that a real option right now.

The idea of using someone in Khartoum - either at your embassy or someone else - who you trust not to reveal your identity might be what you need to actually get people sending you physical books and DVDs...

At , Blogger sleepless in sudan said...

A friend has suggested a brilliant solution: send them to a local (and desperately book-hungry) university! Here's the address:

Ahfad University for Women
P.O. Box 167

The literarily-deprived population of Sudan thanks you ...

At , Blogger Adidas Coupons said...

The best friend in Life is Books and DVD's and they help us to know and grow better in future


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