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What to Expect When You’re Teaching in Chad

Behind the scenes, the Little Ripples team is pushing forward with full steam. We currently have a top notch team of childhood development and preschool experts and are building a pool of volunteer Expert Teacher Advisors (ETAs). Perhaps the most rewarding (and demanding) aspect of becoming an ETA is the opportunity to travel to Chad once a year to train and observe the refugee teachers.

Working in a refugee camp in Chad is not for the faint of heart; there will definitely be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging and frustrating situations. Here are some notes on what a training trip may look like for ETAs:

Traveling and Accommodations:
Fly from USA to Paris, France then another 6 hours to N’Djamena, Chad (capital city) (return route to USA is the same). There could be a 1-2 night stay in a hotel in N’Djamena on both ends of the trip. In N’Djamena we normally have UNHCR drivers to take us around (airport, UNHCR offices, etc.).
Travel to and from Koukou (the town where Camp Goz Amer is nearby) is a 2 hour flight in a smaller plane (~30 person capacity). In Koukou we may stay ~8-10 nights at the UNHCR compound where each person will get an individual room with a full bathroom. There is hot running water, toilets, electricity, and decent internet connection available at the compound. There is also a lounge room with television, microwave, and hot water available for use.

Daytime schedule at Goz Amer: Each morning we head to the camp around 8am, and depending on the conditions of the road it can be a bumpy .5 to 1.5hr drive. We head back to the compound around 4pm so there is more than enough time to get back before sunset.

Safety: When driving between the UNHCR compound and the camp we travel with armed security detail along with the other UNHCR and NGO workers heading to the camp for the day. At the camp we are normally with our UNHCR and NGO partners as well as some refugee friends and leaders. In Goz Amer there has not been violence or conflict for many years and conditions are relatively safe.

Food and water: For most of the trip, we bring our own food (trail mix, granola bars, tuna in a bag, soup/pasta in a bag, etc.) to avoid any chances of getting sick from locally prepared foods. When we spend a day at the camp we always bring a few granola bars or bags of trail mix to hold us through the day. Through the whole trip, we will also purchase bottled water from the market, as the tap water is not safe to drink or brush your teeth with.

Physical conditions: Chad has a desert climate: dry, hot and dusty. There is air conditioning at the UNHCR compounds, but during the days in the camps it can get to be over 100F. Walking through the camps can be tiring, as it is on a sandy terrain and we will often be carrying equipment.
The most important thing I came away with from my first recent trip to Chad was that even with the most planning and preparation, there will be unforeseen hiccups. I give these notes so that those who are interested in joining the ETA Board can get an idea of some things to expect; what is harder for me to convey in words is the undeniable fulfillment and reward that comes with participation in this amazing venture!

For more information contact Jennifer Tang, Little Ripples Project Coordinator, at jennifer@iactivism.org

Download ETA Job Description



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Jennifer became passionate about international development and humanitarian work when studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and leading youth performing arts workshops in one of the surrounding townships. After graduating from UCLA with a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Sciences, she taught adolescent reproductive health to high school students in South and East Los Angeles. She has also worked as a Research Associate at the UCLA Center for Health Services and Society, where she was able to foster an understanding of the community engagement and community resilience approaches, and hopes to incorporate these strategies in her work with Little Ripples. jennifer@iactivism.org


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