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Working in Chad - a day in the life

Have you ever wondered what it is like to work in Chad? This is a diary entry from Ros O’Sullivan, who is Concern’s Emergency Response Co-ordinator for Chad. It is a good example of a typical day.


Got up, showered and had breakfast – another busy day ahead.

8:00 –10:00am:

Met with four site managers for daily update – discussed planning for the up and coming registration process. It is so important for the international community to know the accurate numbers of camp residents, so that we can bring help to those in most need.

10:00 – 10:15am:

Spoke to the site manager at Koloma to ensure that the recent distribution of shelter materials to 105 new households was carried out.

10:15 – 12:30pm:

Met with 10 village representatives to discuss current needs. The one positive thing about the groupings in the sites is that because people fled their villages together, the village structures are intact so the village elders can still represent the rest of the community. Discussed the impact of the recent distribution of shelter materials and blankets and whether there were still gaps.

12:30 – 2:00pm:

Carried out spot checks with the site manager to ensure that families are using the materials they have received.

2:00 – 2:30pm:

Quick lunch with the team. 

2:30 – 4:00pm:

Held yet more interviews for additional support staff for the four camps in all six needed. They will be drawn from the camps themselves; we have received a large number of applications – there were some good candidates so hopefully we can recruit some of these quickly. We still need more people on board.

4:00 – 4:45pm:

Check the planning for winter blanket delivery with our logistician – checked delivery dates again. Need to make sure that the storage area is fully constructed and it is secure by the date they arrive. Trucks are needed to transport the blankets, but truck prices have been going up recently. Need to look at this in more depth to ensure we have funds to cope with these changes.

4:45 – 5:30pm:

Called head office to discuss funding needs for the remainder of 2007 and 2008.

5:30 – 6:00pm:

Update information for meeting tomorrow with other aid organisations who we’re working with.

6:00 – 7.30pm:

Planning for the fuel efficient stove building and training programme – these stoves use locally available materials, ie clay and donkey dung. By using these, the population are cutting down on the amount of time (and potential danger) involved for women gathering firewood, the principal source of fuel. Less firewood is also good for the environment. There are still some reports of periodic attacks outside the sites when women have been collecting fuel. We want people to feel as secure as possible in their new and strange surroundings.


Dinner, and a chance to reflect on the day.


Rang home – it seems very far away. The rains are almost over here in Chad and we are grateful for that. It makes so many basic activities impossible like transport of supplies. It looks like rain again and gets me thinking – the provision of shelter materials has made a big difference, however there is still much work to be done with the cold weather due at the end of the year. There is so much to do, but knowing our work is making a real difference to people who have lost everything makes it all worthwhile.