First Adventure in Chad: an Interview with Rachael Rapinoe
We’ve arrived to Kou Kou, and this being Chad, the journey had some confusion, bumps, laughter, and excitement along the way. Since this was Rachael Rapinoe’s first travel within Chad, I thought I’d ask her some questions about her experience!
Sara-Christine: So, Rachael, we’ve arrived in Kou Kou where we’ll be visiting camp Goz Amir. Since today was your first time traveling within Chad, I wanted to get some of your impressions – first, what did you think of the travel?
Rachael Rapinoe: The whole thing was quite confusing. I was definitely relying heavily on Gabriel to navigate the way. When we landed in Goz Beida, looking around, I did not know it was an airport! From Goz Beida we took a helicopter to Kou Kou. This was my first time riding a helicopter, and it was completely unexpected so I thought that was pretty exciting.
SC: Flying over Chad, what did you think of the geography? Was it what you expected?
RR: Yeah, I knew it was going to be pretty flat and dessert-like. During the flight, I was looking out the window the whole time trying to find some wildlife below. I did see some camels and I think I saw herds of cows and goats, not sure what exactly what they were.
SC: I know you haven’t had much of a chance yet, but driving in to Kou Kou village, was the village what you imagined?
RR: Well I didn’t see much, but my first impression was that this way of life is really difficult, and it really shows the resiliency of the people here… that they’ve been able to make a life out here in these conditions, on this land. Really I’m just excited to see more, get a better idea, and to get to meet the people in Goz Amir tomorrow.
SC: What was your most memorable part of the day?
RR: The helicopter ride itself was amazing, but I’d have to say it was the massive wasp like bug that was flying around the inside of the helicopter after the door was closed! All the other passengers were trying to kill it with their hands or whatever they had in their hands, while I was sweating profusely, laughing hysterically, wearing massive ear phones and just trying not to get hit by the bug. It was so funny.
SC: What do you think about the UNHCR compound?
RR: It’s bigger than I expected. I didn’t expect to have this many housing units. Everybody is really nice and hospitable.
SC: Great, thanks Rachael!
Tomorrow morning Gabriel, Rachael and I are off to Goz Amir to start our Little Ripples work!
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