Fête du Travail 2019 – Labour Day 2019

Today, 1st May, is a public holiday here in Chad as it’s Labour Day.  I am sat here in my house at Guinebor, early afternoon, reflecting on the fun (but VERY hot) few hours I just spent with my Chadian hospital colleagues.  All organisations are invited to celebrate Labour Day by marching in the streets of N’Djamena and into a stadium in front of dignitaries.  For security reasons in previous years, I’ve never done the march on Labour Day, but today I did!

As a hospital we all wore the same t-shirt with the hospital name and logo on the front and ‘1er mai 2019 fête du travail’ on the back.  We each had one of two fabrics to make a skirt or trousers from.  It was great to see how different people had come up with different designs and we all looked great marching alongside each other!

At 7am this morning, I drove into N’Djamena with a short-term doctor from the UK and six members of staff.  We parked up at the pre-arranged place and met other members of staff there.  We took a few photos as we waited for the staff who had started the march earlier to get to where we were, near the stadium.
Photo while we wee waiting for the others

Altogether, there were 45 members of Guinebor Hospital staff marching behind our banner, which was a great turn out.  It was a fun atmosphere!   As we joined the rest of the hospital staff, loads of people were trying to get in their organisations into correct order, which caused some amusement (to me).  Guinebor Hospital had been assigned to march in third place, behind a couple of other hospitals.  I think that’s where we ended up, but I’m not totally sure.  

Getting organised behind our banner
Lined up and ready to go!

After a few starts and stops on the road leading to the stadium, we eventually made it inside.  A guy on a loud speaker introduced us ‘et voici l’hôpital de Guinebor II’ (and here is Guinebor II Hospital).  We marched past the dignitaries who were sat on satin-covered chairs in a tiered pavilion with shade-cover.  Then we stood underneath some canopies as we watched everyone else file in.  There must have been at least 50 organisations altogether, so that took a while.

Watching the other organisations march in

By this point, it was starting to get hot.  But we had to listen to a few speeches first before we could head to a restaurant to eat a sandwich and drink a coke altogether.

Enjoying a sit-down with a coke, waiting for our sandwiches

Such a fun morning celebrating our work at the hospital with my work colleagues!