Chad: Chez Moi
Where do field workers live when they're on assignment with MSF / Doctors Without Borders? Liza is in Am Timan, Chad, and in today's blog post, she invites us in...
My place is pretty. First, there’s my tukul, which is named ‘Mafia’, and – let’s admit it- that rocks (why I would feel proud of living in a place named after groups of corrupted gangsters, no idea, but it’s cool anyway) (secondary thought: do groups of uncorrupted gangsters exist?). Inside it’s comfy, a king-sized bed with a mosquito net, a nice green rug, a desk, a cupboard and a small table.
Image shows a round hut built of mud bricks with a grass roof
Photo: Liza Courtois / MSF
Then there’s the shared part: a house-like building with a living room, a kitchen, a safe-room (with enough supplies to keep us alive for a while if needed, not likely we’ll use it though) and a room with a big mess that once had ambitions of being a storage room.
And then, there’s the bathroom. The bathroom. THE bathroom. Here‘s a picture:

Image shows scary bathroom with green tint and the words 'Stranger Things' at the bottom of the photo

Photo: Liza Courtois / MSF
Oh, alright, I added some modifications. Ok, for real now:

Image shows the same bathroom without the green tint or text.

Photo: Liza Courtois / MSF
Buuuuut, do you see the little white spots near the light? Well, those are mosquitoes, darling.
(I really wish we were in a society that ate mosquitoes. We’d have made up some much more useful tools to get rid of them if the stomach demanded it.)
There is another bathroom but it’s even more terrifying and I refuse to go. NO.
My place is charming, there are lots of friends! Teeny tiny frogs that look so cute you’d want to eat them (French humour right there, people), cats running and pooping everywhere (EVERYWHERE). Apparently there was a snake once, but it bit someone and paid with its life. There are LOTS of mosquitoes only too happy to have company, grass-hoppers as big as my palm who jump high enough to land on the head of a middle-sized 6-year-old (very happy I’m not a middle-sized 6-year-old). They are always jumping everywhere for no reason whatsoever.
My place is neat, really and AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Just writing this post, sitting comfortably at my desk there’s a HUGE thing that came at me from my ceiling, flying with a noise like a truck. I got up screaming, before doing a demonstration of tecktonik dancing (by the way, does that still exist?) while trying to get rid of the beast stuck in my long hair (screaming again: ”it’s on me, it’s on me” when I was alone anyway). Then I ran away. A big heroic moment. One minute full of brrr and arkarkark and shaking my body everywhere later, I came back to my tukul, armed with a powerful insecticide. I think I found the beast, and also two scorpion-like thingies and a giant cricket. I murdered all of them (sorry, specist friends) with a rageful force, and too bad if the fumes from that stuff are toxic.
I’m now super paranoid so I took refuge under my mosquito net, my only haven of peace in this hostile environment. Nature won, I’m leaving it my tukul at night, only keeping the bed for myself. It’s a little annoying because night starts at 6pm. Oh, well.
During the hot season it’s supposed to be 50 degrees Celsius here, and then the heat kills all those wonderful creatures, I’ve never been so eager for the temperature to rise to 50 degrees.
Oh, almost forgot. The thing that came at me. It flies, it crawls, it weighs nothing so you can’t ever know if it’s on you or not. It’s called an acid bug. Its pee is very acid and burns
the skin and creates nice blisters that last up to three weeks. So no, I don’t think my reaction was disproportionate when it flew IN MY FACE.
So, there you go, my place is so nice. If you come for a visit, I’m sure my room-mates will welcome you with joy.
But seriously though, I really like my tukul. And it’s way more comfortable than what I expected. So yay!