I arrived safely back in D’jamena on December 31, 2015, and took my first shower since December 15. I was filthy…to put it mildly. Chad is absolutely extraordinary and otherworldly, and I have over 3,000 photos to prove it!
I was happy to finally be clean and wearing clean clothes, and be back online, and very much looked forward to sleeping inside, and in a bed. But it was with a very heavy heart that I had said goodbye a few hours before to Habdullay (crouched before me — he’s a giant — who somehow prepared amazing food in the middle of nowhere with nothing), Togoi (next to me, our fearless leader whom I adore so, so much, and can impersonate impeccably), and Yussouf (who was like the little brother of our team, who kept our cars running and me laughing). Missing from the photo is Anna (she took the picture), our Italian interpreter and now my friend, who helped us all communicate, translating between French, Italian, English, Arabic, Chadian Arabic, and Tubu, all of which I now speak fluently (not…and I have also largely managed to forget English). We five spent 17 days together LITERALLY 24 HOURS A DAY, except for “pee pee stop.” And I couldn’t have enjoyed them or Chad more.
I returned to NYC late January 2, 2016. What a great end to one year and start to the next! Happy new year, and wishing everyone the best!