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Alex_bike_picture After the evacuation, we're back in Chad. I'm the first to fly in, Saturday night, and I grab onto my friend who picks me up at the airport and I don't let him go. He says it's like a dream. I literally reach down and scratch myself a handful of Chadian dirt.

We're allowed back because there is relative peace in the capital, N'Djamena, although fighting continues in the east. I'm not sure I know what peace is or isn't. My timing is horribly off - for days I can't sleep at night, so one night after staring at the ceiling for three hours I head to the office. I see headlights coming from behind, and I think to outrun them, but me and my motorcycle on a sandy road are no match for a truck, seven men, and guns. They grab my keys, demand my identity papers, ask me what I'm doing. I've learned to fight: they have no right to stop me, just look at my diplomatic license plate. We go back and forth. I'm let go, rattled.

I wonder what role we, IFC and the World Bank, play in war and peace in this country.

In some ways we helped bring on this almost inevitable fighting by financing an oil project that lay dormant for years. Raising oil from the ground has brought money, but also reasons for even families to turn against one another. I think of Angola - whose war raged for nearly thirty years, fueled by oil and diamonds. We may be witnessing yet another playing out of the resource curse.

On the other hand, I am here because we are soldiering forward a new experiment: the World Bank has agreements with the government for how resources will be used. I work on a project that builds the private sector, encourages businesses to plan and invest, and creates economic links throughout the country. I've come to see that people will make war in their own land if the situation is desperate enough. Perhaps these ties will help hold the country, and Chadians will be less willing to risk a future they have a stake in for the promise of money and power wrapped in a bloody and uncertain tomorrow.

Chad is a violent place. Two of my staff have endured separate attacks in the past month and are now at home recovering. We visit one, eight of us piling into his living room. He serves us palm-sized glasses of tea, and we look at the five knife wounds on his body. Another friend spends many weekends at funerals. One day I hold his daughter, two years old and limp in my arms, fighting malaria. She recovers, but many don't.

I'm not sure I know what peace is or isn't. I know that France, the US, China, Sudan...the list goes on, all have their fingers in Chad and that peace in this country is linked to their maneuverings. I know peace is hard to hold onto when living in poverty, while the stench of money floats in the air. I know it is hard to live in a state of near war, people say they are used to it here, and in some ways I am too, but I don't want to be. This is not a life that can go on.


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