Saturday, March 31, 2007
I was awaken at 2 am, I pulled the lever, arose from the car bed at
2:15. I added a few more paragraphs to my journal. All things considered,
I felt rather vibrant. I did feel a slight stiffness. But overall I
was surprisingly energized. And I still felt contented, even a little
excitement. I still believe that God was doing something on a grand
scale. I couldn’t wait to see what it was.
It was a heavenly morning; quite, occasionally animals could be heard
in the distance. There was an ever so slight cool in the air, just enough
to gently invigorate the skin. The sky was a darkish blue with silver
splashes across the heavens. There was a full moon with a ring around
it. Gratitude began to well up within me. I’m a blessed man, I
thought to myself, to be here in this country, on this Continent of
my ancestors and for which I have fought so hard to liberate and revive
its once greatness. And to be on this monumental mission was a blessing
that comes to relatively few in a lifetime. More than I could express,
I was grateful. At 2:45 am, I made entries in my journal on visiting
the refugees. Everybody was asleep, so I walked up and down the solitary
highway, pausing to stretch occasionally.
Mohammad had a blanket. He slept about 20 yards away. The others slept
on the ground. Incredibly, I thought to myself, how sound they sleep
even on the naked earth.
I returned to my car bed, feeling guilty for my luxury while others
had it so hard. Around 5:30 am, day was breaking and the brothers, at
least Ibrahim and Yahya, had begun to show signs of life.
We started to flag occasional travelers. They would stop but couldn’t
help. One traveler wanted to give us his spare, but it wouldn’t
fit. I marveled at the hospitality. They would not pass a waving road
sider, standing by a broken vehicle.
At 7:30 am, a car stopped, beckoned us over. The driver wanted to take
us to N’djamena. Yahya and I got into the small Toyota. If it
had been a horse and buggy, we would have been grateful. This was an
interesting man. He was dressed in a beige traditional Chadian garb.
He was a man of sizeable bulk, with hanging jowls and keen eyes. His
English was very good. He worked for a Canadian oil company. He used
to work for Exxon. He is a geologist by profession. He works in N’djamena.
His family is in (I forgot the name of the town), about 50 miles away.
He commutes on the weekends. Now he was headed home. He saw we were
in distress, so he turned around to help us. (“Thank God,”
Our conversation turned in the direction of oil, the economy and politics.
He said Exxon had struck a deal years ago as they were exploring for
oil. 14% of the profits would go to the government.
Whatever happens in the future, Chad would still get its 14%. This was
supposed to mean Exxon was taking a risk. I know nothing of oil, but
it is hard for me to believe that Exxon or any other corporations that
have been in business as long as Exxon doesn’t know whether or
not they are going to succeed. So much for Exxon, or the oil companies’
risk taking. Exxon gets 86% and the government gets 14%. I asked, “Can’t
they break the contract?” Knowing the answer before I asked it.
“They better not.
Those are the things that make for war. All foreign countries will do
anything to protect their ‘vital interest’ or ‘their
way of life.’ Even though it is derived from exploiting other
people’s resources.” He went on to say, “There is
a clause in the contract that is supposed to favor the government. The
lease expires after 30 years. But by that time the oil companies would
have exhausted the oil reserves. Then they move on to other pickings.”
We rode in silence. I surveyed the rough, endless landmass. So much
to be developed! I thought of the bumpy roads, primitive villages and
towns, the horrors of the refugee camps, the constant military caravans,
and pondered the folly cruelty, barbarism and obscene expenditures of
vast resources for war and human greed. I asked myself, “Does
humanity deserve to live? Who is the blame for this appalling state
Now we had reached N’djamena. The dusty city was buzzing. We passed
the President’s house, or I should say, his palace. And the house
of his son close by. It seemed everywhere there was garbage. They had
not developed a disposal system. France and all the exploiting colonizing
countries ought to be made to pay whatever the cost until Africa has
been modernized. It was enough to sicken you, when I remembered how
they built their own countries from the riches of Africa.
We arrived at the Chinese hotel or motel across from the Novotel Hotel
where we had stayed upon our arrival. They had one huge room with two
small bedrooms for $240. We decided not to take it. An old friend of
Yahya’s met us at the hotel. An Indian businessman. He was very
friendly. He had a young assistant with him. They became our guide and
chauffer. We checked out the Meridian Hotel. It was in-your-face French,
which would have been all right, but it was too expensive. $220 per
night. As we turned to leave, the receptionist said that we could get
it for $180, if we represented a corporation. (It seems that the rich
are always getting breaks. Or it appears everybody wants to help those
who already have, or may need no help.)
We located the Sahel Hotel. You would have to know it was there in order
to find it. It is located on a side, dirt street between two (2) main
streets. The President’s mother lives in the area. Groups of people,
sat on the ground or on their rugs and as usual, gab, gobbled and sold
The hotel was small. Everything about it was small. The room was about
10x10. There were a small TV and refrigerator, two small tables, one
for a nightstand and the other for a desk. There was a toilet, faced
bowl and shower. There was a regular size bed, an old wooden closet,
fans in the ceiling and window. So it was cool and comfortable, and,
most importantly, it was clean. It cost $100 per night. Overly priced
I thought, but that’s the way things are in this country. Everything
It had a quite garden, with shrubbery and trees, surrounded by the rooms
and a swimming pool. It was rustic and relaxing. We decided to stay.
Afterward, we went to secure our seats on Air France. It was settled;
we would depart on Tuesday, April 3rd. Then we decided to do some shopping
in the marketplace. But first we had to get our money changed. I picked
up gifts for loved one and returned to the hotel. We went to dinner
at the Novotel Hotel, which had become my favorite eating-place in N’djamena.
I had a long telephone call to my wife, church and community. I dictated
a statement to the press, assuring everybody I was well and gave the
date of my return.
In the evening, Mohammad came by my room, again on behalf of Darfurians.
He wanted to express gratitude to me. Also he had a gift. There was
a map of Chad carved from wood, which sat on a small stand. It was simple
but powerful. I responded by saying I appreciate the hospitality and
I will always treasure the gift.
Later, we sat by the pool with Indian friends, the Brooklynite with
his baby, Yahya and Mohammad. It was a beautiful, quite, cool evening.
Such is life, a few hours before we were standing on the highway trying
to get help after sleeping all night in a car and on the ground. Now
here we were relaxing by a pool surrounded by flowers, grass and trees
and jasmine fragrance.
After we had spent hours discussing politics, Africa and the world,
I returned to my room. It was good to be sleeping in a bed. During my
prayers, I fell off to a sound sleep.
Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday Night Community
Forums. All Forums are held at the House of the Lord Church from 7pm
to 9pm. ALL FORUMS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED FOR THE MONTH OF JULY AND AUGUST.
Join Operation Life Line if you need assistance or know someone who
needs assistance with their mortgages as it relates to foreclosures,
predatory lending and/or subprime lending.
Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum Focus on Africa the 2nd Saturday
from 2pm to 4pm.
On Saturday, August 2, 2008, all are invited to Join Rev. Dr. Herbert
Daughtry in Prospect Park at the Music Pagoda (The Nethermead) from
11am to 5 pm, where he will be celebrating 50 years of practicing a
holistic ministry and providing activist service to the Community. Entertain
will be provided by Randy Weston, the Anointed Voices, The Cohen Brothers,
Min. Lawrence Craig, Bishop Nathaniel Townsley & the Gospel Jubilee.
There will be words of encouragement from the activist community, the
religious community, the political arena and many, many others. The
event is free. Bring your own food to cook out. Rain date will be at
the House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, downtown Brooklyn,
NY, same day same time.
Our Annual Freedom Walk will take place on Saturday, August 16, 2008
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House
of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @
HYPERLINK "http://www.holnj.org" www.holnj.org.
NEED QUALITY CHILD CARE? – Call the Alonzo A. Daughtry Memorial
Daycare Center Located at 333 Second Street, (Between 4th & 5th
Avenues) downtown Brooklyn, NY @ (718) 499-2066. Immediate openings
in a state of the arts center.