Journal of the People’s Pastor

“Writing The History I’ve Lived, Living The History I Write!”


Darfur Diary: Part X – My Journey To Chad, Central Africa
More Red Tape and More Red Tape (Part B)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 (Continued…)

We returned to the hotel. I asked Yahya, should we start packing? “No, wait till the Governor calls,” he said. Then I began to have doubt if the call would ever come. It wouldn’t surprise me if tomorrow we were back at the governor’s office. By 2:30 pm, no word from the governor. Somehow, I wasn’t surprised. Maybe I’m becoming Africanized. I did get a chance to talk to the Norwegian we had met earlier. He turned out to be a nice man. He is a scholar. He has studied in and about Africa for 30 years. His government decided to enlist him in the work in Sudan, which included peace negotiation. He has worked at it for 9 years. He knows all the players and was present at all the peace negotiations. He said he had tried to tell US and Britain that the Abusha Agreement, the capital of Nigeria, would not work. But they pressured one of the leaders to sign, adding more evidence that the leader was pressured to sign the Agreement. He hoped the peace process could start in earnest, but the US is necessary. He knows Congressman Payne. He mentioned a Ted Dagne, an authority on the area and is in touch with all the players. He is at the Library of Congress, Congressional Research Center.

I asked him about slavery in the south. He wasn’t absolutely certain and the research done by the Commission appointed by President Bush, Sr. wasn’t definitive on the subject. They did say there was kidnapping and pawning. A practice whereby an impoverish family give their children to wealthy families to raise as their own. And should the blood parents accumulate enough money they can buy their children back. "What is in despicable," he said, "are the abuses."

I returned to my room. It was hot and sticky. During the most scorching part of the day 12 noon to 3 pm, the generator is turned off. It comes back on at 6 pm, at which time it is turned on by the City. Now, imagine being in this desert city of mud, dirt, dust, stone and brick, in a room without lights, refrigeration, A/C and water, for the hottest part of the day, and you will have a hint at what we endured in Abecha. Even with all of the amenities, there are still conditions that borders on the primitive. The bed was lumpy and hard as a brick. Everything from wall to floor was dirty and dusty. The shower was a spigot, which dripped cold water some time. The toilet had modern fixtures but they were very old and worked occasionally. The face bowl was equally old and also inconsistent in its obligations. I reckoned it was not intended that anyone would want to spend long hours in the room. The activities, such as they were, were in the small courtyard. However, it was a busy place. There always were people coming and going. There were high-level meetings. It was rumored that President Deby would be joining the meetings. And so we waited.

Well, at 5:30 pm, I approached Yahya. He said the governor would send an escort to get us out of the city. It never happened. I was beginning to have doubts that we would ever get what was necessary to get to the refugee camp. We discussed our options. Yahya said he would call people who had the ear of the government to inform them he could create an international incident. If he didn’t hear, he would call the US Ambassador and the UN. I posed another option. I would call the United States and tell people I refuse to leave until I’d visited the refugee camp. I am prepared to stay as long as it takes, even staying in the bush. Initially Yahya rejected the idea. Then slowly saw the potential for international attention. We left the subject agreeing we would revisit it in the morning.

Later, as I walked the dusty streets in the cool of the evening outside the hotel, I came to the conclusion; we should wait until 3 pm tomorrow to hear from the governor. We should not call him. If we don’t hear, we should move with our plan of having Yahya make his calls. Then I would call home. But, as I thought more about it, we should do both, simultaneously, Yahya makes his calls and I make mine.

It occurred to me the US Ambassador couldn’t do anything. He couldn’t make the Chadian government let us visit the refugee camp neither could the UN. So, the pressure has to come from elsewhere. I thought that I could argue, after we had been provided visas by the Chadian government, they refused to grant us opportunity to visit the refugee camp and an opportunity to call more attention to the Darfurian crises. The price I would have to pay would be a few days inconvenience. So, I began to prepare myself for a longer stay in Chad. In my mind I had settled it. I was mentally and spiritually ready to stay beyond Easter, which was Sunday, March 23rd.

Oh, earlier, I had offered my negotiating skills to the rebels. They politely refused. But they said if they couldn’t resolve matters themselves they would ask for my assistance. Yahya was asked to help mediate. I began to wonder if that was another reason God was keeping us here. The Government is only a pawn in God’s plan. “Resistance,” I had said to Yahya, “Is often a road toward achieving our highest objective.”

I retired to my room at 8 pm. It had been a disappointing day. I fell asleep trying to keep the faith that everything would work out fine and that everything was still in God’s hand.

Upcoming Events

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.

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 Thursday, July 24, 2008, @ 7 pm, Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry will give a “Report to the Community,” on his trip to Uganda, which will take place from July 8 – 15th. On this trip, Rev. Daughtry will meet with Darfurian leadership and assist in achieving unity among the leaders in Darfur. Come out and hear the Report. This forum is sponsored by the National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry Concerned About Darfur (NRLAA) located at the House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Dinner will be served starting at 6 pm.

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