The environment is pretty austere with limited skilled labor, significant shipping issues, and developing infrastructure. It’s an odd combination of a poor economy yet extremely expensive goods. In my short time working on West Africa projects, I've heard a lot of people talk about their post as the most difficult, so I won't say that about N'Djamena. It certainly has many challenges though: class disparity, high crime, limited housing, no Starbucks. I hear it's very rare for people to extend their two year tour here despite the Service Needs Differential option for additional pay.
I've jumped into the project as quickly as possible given my transfer efforts. With my attention spread between multiple projects previously, I'll have the luxury of focusing on one project and digging much further into the details. That is, I'll have that luxury eventually - for now, I'm still helping one of my previous projects while some of its staff are out.
In the meantime, I’m starting to learn the layout of the city. So far I’ve seen three motorcycles (called ‘motos’ here) with a live goat straddling the gas tank, looking like it was driving. The driving rules of the road are…curious. I think there’s a pattern but I haven’t figured it out yet, which is fine since our car won’t arrive for months. I played tennis last week one evening and drank about a liter and a half of water during the 90 minutes - actually it didn’t feel crazy hot at first, but I was pretty overheated by the end. More acclimation to come…
(This post written while listening to the hum of our air conditioner.)