achatfromchad

blog from chad

The First 24 Hours

SURREAL with a capital S!!!!!

 

France seen from the TGV!

France seen from the TGV!

 

7am Tuesday 15 January¬†we awoke to a white world in Provence and slipped and slid our way to Avignon in Susie and Gray’s capable hands. 30 hours later, thanks to TGVs and Air France we find ourselves in Carlo’s new office in a portacabin in a dusty suburb of N’Djamena, Chad! It is no ordinary portacabin though as it has aircon, computer connections, a fax and a phone! This is one of the posher offices on site as others are ‘container’ offices. I am totally staggered that a company of 250 employees can run efficiently from such a location but such is the ingenuity of these Chadian Africans it seems. They recently had their offices expropriated by the Government so this is a temporary location for this Chadian civil engineering company. Hello, no disguising we are back in Africa!

It’s 36 degrees as I write and a dry, warm breeze is blowing dust around outside. Employees in smart, brightly coloured jellabas float from office to office or should I say from container to container! About 25% are women immaculately dressed in elegant long dresses in bold African colours and most with elaborate head-dresses. We’ve met them ALL, the men and the women but their names are mainly a blur. Was Mohammed Human Resources or Accounts? In which department did we meet Moustafa, Ousame, Rahim?!! See my problem? The only ones I have remembered are those who stood out for one obscure reason or another:

NINA the attractive electro mechanic with manicured finger nails and bejewelled outfit …. not what I expected for a mechanic!! AND she speaks English.

LUCIEN, the Administrative & Financial Director (the titles are all VERY impressive!) and brother of the big boss. Lucien recently returned from the UK and insisted he show us a photo of his son at an Arsenal v Southampton football match! We waited while he fired up his computer.

This is going to be one HUGELY varied experience. On top of it I have been immersed in more french in 24 hours than I have in Provence in the past year. I’m likely to return with a Chadian accent!

Oh before I end I should mention that we are currently staying, not in our 3 bedroom house but in the Meridian Hotel on the banks of the Shari River. Our house is still being painted!! We’ve seen it and it does exist. All the furniture is sitting outside under a tree!! More about this in the next episode of a Chat from Chad……! (thank goodness for explanation marks as everything here is so different that I think they must have been invented for Chad!)

The portacabin office!

The portacabin office!

First day at the office

First day at the office

Double click on any photo to view them properly!
 

 

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