A head clearing rant…

In Tchad on January 13, 2011 at 5:01 am

Just a little complaining to clear my palette.

I’ve been in Chad a week now.  Professionally, the trip has been fine, if uninspiring, as I haven’t been able to go to the field offices to see the beneficiaries.  Personally, the trip has been a drag.

The Chadian 50th anniversary independence celebrations went off without any disruptions.  All the heads of state of the region have come and gone.  But I still can’t really go out, I’ve been advised by more than one knowledgeable and reasonable person that I shouldn’t walk around town, I’ll almost certainly be mugged.

If you’ve been noticing my twitter feed, I got a little unwanted souvenir from Chad, my stomach’s been turning, which I had expected, but it still isn’t fun.  I laid low for a couple of days.  Since they were Chadian holidays there wasn’t anyone expected to work, and I had worked through the weekend, so I didn’t feel too bad holing up in my hotel room.

One thing that my work depends on is a stable, reliable internet connection.  We all rely on it – sending emails is the primary form of communication when you are 6 hours apart from HQ and home.  Fortunately, my NGO loaned me a blackberry, which has been great for clearing my inbox, but even that hasn’t worked perfectly.  I learned the difference between “EDGE” and “edge” for example… if you have the former, the email works, with the latter, it doesn’t.

The worst internet connection has been the hotel – they use a system where you have to continually get new password and usernames from the front desk, each is good for 2 hours of internet connectivity.  They use “Wibi Telecom”.  It’s free, thank god, because the service kicks me off almost every 2 minutes, and I have to sit there and refresh constantly.  I try to get as much offline work done as possible, but when you need the internet and it’s not there, you hit a wall.  Forget Skype after hours, forget downloading attachments.

So, I can’t really go out and meet with regular people, when I’m in I can’t communicate virtually with anyone that easily – so I end up talking and texting with my wife a lot, which is awesome, but she’s got her hands full and we can only talk for so long.

Enough complaining, time to see the better side of things, look for the positive in Chad.  I have one week left as of today.  I need to make the most of the home stretch.


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