24 hours in a Plane and Hopelessness in Transit

After months of preparation and me doing the best packing job of my life we finally landed in Chad after 24 hours in transit. Traveling from LA to Paris to Chad has been a fascinating and wild ride. I didn’t sleep for the first 19 hours because I was so full of anticipation and excitement and having so many interesting conversations with people from all over the world their perspective on the situation and about our adventure. Everyone was very supportive and enrolled and always issuing the ever present reminder to be careful of the pitfalls that can happen in the wild, wild, east of Chad.

While the all perspectives were quite varied. I had three conversations with people who have either lived in Chad or spent significant time here working in Humanitarian endeavors that all gave me exact same bottom line assessment of the situation in Chad…. its hopeless. “Hopeless?”, I said in all three conversations. “Yes, hopeless” they reaffirmed. This was coming form people who loved the people of Chad and had invested much time and energy into assisting in the situation. And I have to admit, when you hear their first person descriptions and the immense complexity of the ongoing genocide, mass illness, a 70% unemployment rate, rebel wars, a total lack of economic infrastructure, the local politics mixed with a geopolitical quagmire, on top of corporate profiteering and greed. I have to admit, I began to feel a little discouraged. However, as we were on final decent into Chad, I was reflecting on what I had learned. Its then that I realized that the challenges are great and overwhelming when you think of them in totality, but then I remembered that we don’t have to fix it all at once. It is going to take time, attention, and a global effort to assist our fellow citizens to rise out of the crisis and to be able to stand on their own and in their own way.

Then as we stepped out of the plane onto the tarmac and I was immediately struck by the refreshing cool of the African night air. I looked around to see a mixture of smiling Chadian faces and the stern rigid stares of the armed soldiers against the backdrop of the N’Djamena International airport. When I realize that it is not the immensity of challenges that is interesting, but rather how will the challenges define me? Define me as a Citizen of Humanity acting in the service of other Global Citizens who are in need of all of our support? Regardless of the immensity of the crisis, humanity has faced larger challenges before and history has shown us that divided there is little we can do, but united there is little that cannot be done. Because its as Deepak Chopra so eloquently put it, when he said, “People are doing the best they can with what they understand. SO it really a problem of awareness.” Awareness of the negative, the crisis, the horror, but also of hope, the courage and the difference that each one of us can make if we step outside ourselves to assist another in need. So we begin tomorrow to bring the story of how we will try our best to “Be the change” and see if we can’t raise the level of awareness to Global Citizens everywhere about the Crisis and the Opportunity that exists in Chad and the Sudan. Hopefully, how we can all do a small part to create big difference and change the world for the better.

I so am grateful for this opportunity to work with the SGN team, meet the Citizens of Africa and to all the committed people who made this trip happen. I can already say this has been life changing experience and I just got here……. which is pretty exciting.

In Peace & Abundance,
Joshua

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6 Responses to “24 hours in a Plane and Hopelessness in Transit”
  1. Mimi Schiff says:

    Dear KT,
    Your writing brings to life all that you emotionally and visually experience. Thank you for your eloquence. I look forward to joining you on yet another trip. Please keep safe, all my prayers.
    Mimi Schiff

  2. teresa says:

    Hi Joshua, Jeremiah, KTJ & Gabe,
    Thanks for doing the legwork on this journey and sharing your thoughts and your daily experiences with us. We do appreciate the personal sacrifices you make in order to make a difference for those in need and Gabe, we don’t get tired of you thanking the SGN team that takes care of all the work back home because we know they also will be sleep deprived and working hard to give you all the support you need to make this all happen. Each i-ACT trip has made a difference in raising more awareness about the situation in Darfur and how it has affected the innocents that have to leave their home and take refuge in the camps in Eastern Chad. We know there is hope and even if it is one little step at a time, it takes you one step closer to the goal. i-ACT/Camp Darfur seem to be collecting a wealth of humanitarians and upstandanders along the way.
    Jeremiah, hope everything got settled at the hotel. Your request for the return flight is confirmed.
    KTJ, your description about the green tree tops reminded me about your veggie meal, did you get that confirmed?
    Teresa

  3. connie says:

    Joshua,
    The inmensity of the problem there in the region can be overwhelming,but we must not let numbers be an obstacle This is something that I have always admired of Gabe(by the way he’s my brother) and I am sure he has his highs and lows,but he is determined to do the best and most he can,and by doing so has inspired me and others(look at you, YOU ARE IN AFRICA!). . I am so glad you guys are there,it is great to have different perspectives from all of you and make this a well rounded experience for us . Looking forward to this journey with you.
    Amor y Paz,Connie.

  4. Rachel says:

    Hi Joshua,

    We do hear time and time again that “Africa is hopeless.” How can we say that? How can we give up on so many beautiful people? Let’s NEVER give up hope. Hope is something nobody can take away from us and the people of Darfur our counting on their HOPE to return home safely. I loved what you said — “…united there is little that cannot be done.” I want to believe and hope in that. Thank you for your insight and I look forward to following your journey.

    Rachel (Torrance, CA)

  5. Anne Wright says:

    This was really inspirational. Thank you!

  6. Brett Kwiatkowski says:

    Hi Josh,
    Thank you for raising awareness and sharing your journey with all of us. I don’t believe in “hopelessness” and believe your infectious positive attitude will be a start to the change.I look forward to following your journey. Please let me know of any ways that I can assist or help! Be safe and know that you are in my prayers.

    Brett

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