I have lived outside of the United States for more than a 1/3d of my life, in Europe, South America, Asia, and now Africa and never really thought much about a specific community before this week. When I was in Brazil I tried to become a Brazilian. In Senegal I had great Senegalese friends who invited me out to the village I still consider some to be good friends. Europe was easy to make friends and there was tons to do. However, here in Chad there isn't as much to do and there doesn't seem to be as close of relations between Westerners and locals. The Chadians I work with a great, but are clear to keep professional and personal lives separate.
So it seems I am forced to turn inwards to the international community of NGO workers and this is an odd bunch. Perhaps I didn’t notice it as much in other places because there was more to do and a greater variety of people with which I could interact. Or maybe the people that come to Chad are just a little off. I am grateful for the friends I have made and the ones that provide a service and do stuff besides just complaining that there is nothing to do. One friend hosts a yoga class at his house a couple times a week. Another group of expats teach tennis on the clay courts at Cite Lamy.
I should find something that I can offer to the community to make this a better place. I already spend most of my days working on humanitarian assistance projects (developing ideas, shaping them to meet the donors requirements, legal reviews, project management, public relations, training, etc...) and that helps the local community, but I wonder what I can do to help this other community of western NGO workers... I’ll have to keep thinking.