Among Darfur Rebels and Refugees: A Road Diary (Day 4)

Among Darfur Rebels and Refugees: A Road Diary (Day 4)

Editor's Note: In March, Kurt Pelda, Africa Bureau Chief of the Swiss daily the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, traveled to eastern Chad on the border with the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur. Over 200,000 Sudanese refugees live in eastern Chad, having fled the violence in Darfur. The region likewise serves as staging grounds for the Darfur rebels fighting against the Sudanese government. During his three weeks traveling in the region, Pelda kept a diary, which provides a portrait of the Darfur conflict that is perhaps unrivaled in its detail and nuance. In daily installments through the beginning of August, World Politics Review presents this important document for the first time in English, concluding with an epilogue penned by Pelda exclusively for WPR. Read past entries.

Day 4: Please Don't Call the Rebels!
Nerve-wracking Delays

2 March

As his own car broke down yesterday, Abdulkader picks me up in a different one: an ancient, lovingly cared for Peugeot 504. This model is barely to be found any more in Europe, but it is still popular in the countries of the Sahel and also to some extent in East Africa. Whatever is regarded in the industrialized countries as no longer usable or no longer sufficiently chic finds its way to sub-Saharan Africa and often continues to provide years of reliable service: airplanes, trucks, buses, cars, computers, cell phones, used clothing and much more. Abdulkader asks me for a loan, so he can get his car fixed. He has borrowed the Peugeot from another taxi driver. I give him the money. It seems that Abdulkader will still have time to pay me back. As expected, my papers are not ready at one o'clock. I will have to hold out in N'Djamena until tomorrow, even though I have been anxious to get on the road already for days now.

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