Friday, July 24, 2015

Tourism opportunities

It's been almost fourth months since my last update, sorry.  We've made a lot of progress on the project, primarily via several thousand cubic meters of concrete, which has kept us very busy. I've been learning a lot about embassy systems and that - in addition to our concrete progress (no pun intended) - has been a lot of fun and very interesting.

While there've been some other relevant articles lately like this hearing on embassy construction, the closest have been on developments in N'Djamena (June 15, June 29, July 11) as well as surrounding areas (July 20, July 21, July 22). Given these regional events have led to hundreds of deaths and a so-called asymmetrical terrorist environment, most of us ex-pats in N'Djamena are scratching our heads at this July 21 Conde Nast Traveler article titled 'Why Now Is the Time to Visit Chad.'

Now, I'm all for exploring new places, but I finished the article dumbfounded and laughing, wondering if there's another city named N'Djamena. The article is full of possibilities, like it mentions, “There could be a wedding happening and the locals want you to participate.” It _is_ true: there are many weddings in N’Djamena, typically on Fridays when group ceremonies lead to processions of cars and motos beeping their horns and people shouting on the way to a party – definitely sounds like good fun. Equally common are funeral processions, which typically lay the deceased in the back of an open bed truck with their bare feet out the end and mourners lining each side; it could be that "the locals" want you to participate in those as well. The Chadians I know are EXTREMELY nice people, I just don't put good odds on anyone inviting strangers to join them anytime soon. I’m also not sure how to align the embassy staff’s movement restrictions with the article’s suggested roaming about the city, but I’m probably overthinking it.  To be fair, the article does warn that you might not bathe for eight days straight, and it also adds the disclaimer, “This is for extremely adventurous people.”

At a minimum, I think I have to respectfully disagree with the promoter's comment, "The worst thing that can happen to a client on our tour is wandering around a market by themselves in N’Djamena and getting their wallet stolen."

Anyway, from the Department of Random Distractions, here's a photo of someone moving their stuff in N'Djamena.
No helmet required!

(This post written while listening to Changing by The Airborne Toxic Event.)


  1. Hello! I just stumbled across your blog a few days ago. I am very interested in the possibility of trying to join the Foreign Service. I've noticed in my online research, though, that most Construction Foreign Service members are mid to later in their careers. Would you say this is a fair and true statement?
    As someone who is still relatively new in their career (3 yrs as an Architect with DOD, 3 yrs private industry), do you have recommendations to gear my career toward helping me be a better candidate as a Foreign Service Specialist? Any help/guidance is appreciated. Thanks!

  2. Hi! Yes, FSCEs (and I think all Specialist tracks) are intended to bring some industry experience to the table. The vacancy announcement states a B.S. plus 5 years or M.S. plus 4 years, though, so you already have enough experience depending on your private industry...industry.

    People come into this program with a variety of experience and backgrounds. The job requires at least _some_ understanding of pretty much every aspect of construction: contracting, human resources, taxation, finances, commissioning, and technical knowledge in every discipline. They don't expect you to know it all coming in, of course - it's more important to have some exposure and be willing to figure things out.

    Hope this helps a little at least - if you have more questions please keep asking!

  3. Thanks for your response! I guess I will just keep trying and really push to get my license so I'm a more desirable candidate. Any other hints or tips you care to share are always appreciated!