Can’t think of a title… so here’s the journal for Day 3

G’s Journal for Day 3
Guereda

I’m having a hard time getting started on writing tonight. Many times, if not usually, I let it flow when I’m very tired to exhausted. Right now I’m there, but it’s not flowing. I read the comments from all of you, responding to KTJ’s and my journal entries. They really moved me. The support I feel from you is only matched by the warm appreciation I receive from our friends in the camps.

Adam smiling Check out Adam in today’s videos. He is bright; he is passionate; he is resilient; he is stuck in a refugee camp with all of his family; and, he is still aware that he is one of the lucky ones, compared to the people suffering inside of Darfur. When he heard about all of you caring about him, he wept; damn, again the time and fatigue get me sentimental and making me join Adam in his reaction to feeling community around him, even if far away. I don’t like reading these entries in the morning or any time after I write them, because I sound so… well, soft is the only word that comes right now (and my internal mental-thesaurus has gone to sleep).

Believe me, I get down and have doubts, but they won’t stop me tomorrow morning. After spending time with Adam, Fatina, Yakoub, and all the little ones in Kounoungou the last three days, how could I let myself get in the way of myself?

A note, I met Adam through Gretchen Wallace, Brian Steidle’s sister; or should I say Brian is Gretchen’s brother, which out here is more appropriate, cause she’s the star in Adam’s eyes. Gretchen told me about Adam, who came out on the documentary she helped produce, “The Devil Came on Horseback,” so I just had to look for him. Gretchen is determined to assist Adam with his dream for a place to grow in the camp. I feel indebted to her for introducing me to someone that has definitely had an immediate impact on me.

Well, I still have to finish editing today’s videos, since I’m shooting up two. Then they get compressed, and then they somehow get slingshot to a satellite and back down, where Yuen-Lin and Carolyn get to catch it and make it available for you to watch today.

It’s just about 2am right now, and there has been no excitement tonight. No gunshots. I can only hear a generator going strong. I really wish I had a sugar-free red bull for tomorrow’s visit to Camp Mile. It’s the very first camp I ever visited, back in 2005. Wow, 2005. We’re in 2008. What excuse is there for allowing the thousands and thousands of innocent civilians, jut like the ones you see in these videos, to have died because of who they are.

Hey, do the actions. Have more people sign the petition, and let’s all get together and go to DC to deliver it in person.

Paz,
g

ps. I will do all to get to answer the comments this morning before leaving for the camps; if I don’t, I will for sure get to them ASAP. They were just amazing! Thank you for the wings, in absence from red bull, to all of you: Rachel, Gayle, Lisa, Tiffany, Amy, Marv, Connie, Ashley, Cory, Stace, and Alex.

Nima, Adam daughterchildren and bricks

Gabriel co-founded Stop Genocide Now in 2005, which gave birth to i-ACT in 2009.

He became involved in the situation in Darfur out of a sense of personal responsibility. He believes the power of community and compassion, combined with personal empowerment, can bring about meaningful change.

Comments

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Comments

27 Responses to “Can’t think of a title… so here’s the journal for Day 3”
  1. Rachel says:

    Hi guys,

    Adam’s story really touched my heart. His family is so beautiful. Thanks for taking hope to them and for helping them hang on a little longer.

    As I watched Adam open his soul to us, my own soul aches and I find myself speechless for words. His eyes tell the story… His emotions show us the reality… His family shows us his love… And his willingness to build a better community shows his determination to keep his hope alive. I wish I was that strong. HE is a great man…

    As I watch the videos I can also see that things are beyond desperation. I noticed that Jacob’s family looks, for lack of a better word, healthier than Adam’s. Their clothing is also very different… Can you tell us a little bit about that?

    Rachel

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Greetings Rachel!

      Being with Adam was inspiring and emotional! I felt really good after spending the morning with his family and listening to his hope in the international community. We really are the only ones pushing for more than status quo out here. Abdulah, one of the drivers from UNHCR who we have gotten to know over the past few days made a similar comment about Adam’s weight. To tell you the truth, we didn’t really ask. It is very likely that Adam might be sick, but if I remember correctly from When the Devil Came on Horseback, he was very thin then as well. In terms of clothing – it probably comes down to choice. Last time we met Yakoub he was not wearing the traditional Muslim dress, but pants and a shirt. The women and children in both families dressed very similar. It probably doesn’t come out in the video, but many of the clothes are torn and stained, but their beautiful faces shine through! Please continue to ask us questions – once back at UNHCR, with the downloading, editing and reorganizing the memories of the day, sometimes its hard to think about what people back home are interested in!

    • connie says:

      Rachel, when I was there this summer Jacob took us to a little restaurant he owned, it was built with the mud bricks they make and basically was a small room with a big carpet and a couple of open fire pitts. I know you are wondering A RESTAURANT! Well this particular camp has many African UNHCR employees, and Jacob serves them lunch. You can tell that some of the refugees are better off (very few!) than others. I think that since Jacob is one of the more educated he has a certain advantage, and has come up with clever ways of making a little money.

      Amor y Paz, Connie

  2. YL says:

    Hi dear G and KTJ,

    You are doing a fantastic job out there – the footage has never felt so right and the journals have been excellent. I admire what you have been doing and hope that I can be as good a representative both of the people here, and the people there all at once.

    KTJ, you know, last year I spent so much time doing what you do, showing the kids their picture on the camcorder and the still camera. I really enjoyed that.. it was an instant ice breaker. Everyone coming and holding your hand, that happened too, and it’s one of those things that really clears the mind of all falsehood. Watching all this just makes the feelings overflow.

    Watching Macy Gray’s message to Adam, and watching Adam and his family watch her, moved me immensely. Seeing the look on his child’s face, the look on his own face, the way he spoke as Macy spoke – words cannot express. I had the same feeling the last time when we showed the video and pictures to the overflowing “auditorium” of people at Farchana – remember that time G?

    There is so much more to do. Watching these few minutes of video each day brings everything back into focus. What’s important, what’s not. What needs to be done.

    Stay strong and keep at it, guys, you’re doing great and we’re all-out with you.

    YL

    • Katie-Jay says:

      YL!

      Our true brother and teammate! Its really hard to figure out what to do when you meet people – what questions to ask – I keep thinking to myself – damn it, again with the yes/no or number question! I usually just smile and do a lot of playing. Today I got the chance to speak with several women about their experiences and life in the camps. The rapes and the whole firewood stories came out – powerful words and I feel like I just can’t read the whole situation. G has been through this all before and sometimes I look over at him and he just looks so concentrated and I try to find a question, but I am so mesmerized by the situation and the power of the women…its tough, but I feel strongly supported both here and from you all back home!

  3. connie says:

    Hi Guys,
    This was a very emotional video,I can only imagine how intense it was for you.
    Today,Adam is my hero!
    Again and again the refugees demonstrate their love for family and friends.
    Adam’s cry for help cannot go unheard,all of us have to do more,and this ties into Josh’s journal,let’s keep pushing,one e-mail or phone call can multiply quickly!!!!!!!!!
    Amor y Paz,Connie
    Monterrey,Mexico.

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Hola Connie!

      Thanks so much for your support for us while we are on the journey you were on not too long ago! Yes, it was a very emotional day for everyone, including Adam as you saw yourself. Its really hard to say goodbye for now when I feel like I just arrived!

  4. Meron says:

    Hey Gabriel!!!

    I’m just catching up with this now. Watched all three days at once (damn! I missed the 1st 2 words of the day). Gabriel, just want to say that I’m happy you are ‘soft’ and not afraid to show it or write about it, in spite of being a little embarrassed by it. You are one the sweetest, strongest most amazing people I know. You are my hero and the hero for so many others. I wrote something similar on today BEFORE I checked in with SGN. Watching Adam react to Macy’s video brought me to tears. A very moving and emotional experience. Thank you : )

    Keep up the good fight my friend.

    XoX
    Meron

    • Gabriel …. I don’t know what to do about Miss Meron!!!

      You set up a thread on Ned, post the videos and STILL it takes her 3 days to find it!!!

      (but we do love the little chocolate coated Canadian up to the sky!!)

      The video is gorgeous, you are the best, sweetest and kindest bloke since my Dad (who will always be #1 but you are a very close second) and we all adore you.

      XoXoXo (ha! to Canada)

      Gayle :)

    • Gabriel says:

      Meron in Canada!

      Hello my friend. I’m sure someone out there will sell you the words from the first two days. Thank you for your kind words and for always being so supportive. You are always involved in something that is helping others; you have a great heart. I see that Australia and Canada have some issues :)

  5. Kathleen Scott says:

    Gabriel,
    Your work is connecting the hearts of many to the people of Darfur.

    Please know that viewed from here you are a WARRIOR fighting the good fight- not soft at all- tough + HUGE HEARTED. Resistance, exhaustion, and the doubts that creep in during the night are the ENEMY you overcome just by being there! I can’t think of anyone else I would trust more to be with my daughter on this journey.

    You are winning through your example even when it doesn’t seem like it,
    Love,
    Kathleen AKA KTJ’s Mom

    • Gabriel says:

      Kathleen:

      Thank you. You have been so supportive from the minute KTJ joined our team. So, we got a two-for-one with KTJ! I’m looking forward to seeing you again soon in CA.

  6. teresa says:

    I started my day rushing as usual trying to get early to the office but I decided I would first watch today’s video rather than wait til I get back home probably quite late. Boy, that really slowed my pace down… listening to Adam and watching his emotional display and plea for help from the International community was so touching and just seemed like another wake up call. Yes, we need to continue to create awareness and push this issue with the press for broader coverage and with government to ACT!
    Teresa

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Greetings Teresa!

      Sometimes we need something outside of ourselves to slow us down. Many times we are caught up in a pace that just isn’t possible to exist for very long. Out here in the camps, I am finding that the women and children, who hold everything together, are longing for more to do, more connection to one another, and more activities to make their lives feel significant and meaningful. I can’t even count the days I have spent in my life running around wasting time on insignificant errands, when in the end, it is the relationships and the people who are the fabric of our lives. Thank you for taking the time to watch the video before you headed out for your day.

  7. Pam B says:

    Dear Friends,

    I agree with everyone posting to you above! This was such an emotional experience listening to Adam today. It felt like you all were in the room here with me, which I know is your intent. Today is Martin Luther Kind Day, so all our schools are closed, but I am sending today’s message and the video link to all our STF teachers today with a note specifically intended for them. I know that as teachers they will feel a very special and very deep connection to Adam.

    I worry about writing too much more today, because I can see you have so many to responses to tend to.

    We are with you,
    Pam

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Greetings Pam!

      Thank you and the STF for all your support. MLK Jr. Day represents the courage and determination we nee to hold true in our hearts and spirit as we begin yet another year of fighting to bring peace and justice to Darfur. MLK stuck with the civil rights movement for his entire life, and it is meeting people like Adam and Yakoub who motivate me to make the same commitment.

    • Gabriel says:

      Pam B:

      As we were riding in our Toyota out to the camps, KTJ and I talked about it being MLK day. I felt that it was so appropriate to be out here on this day. Thank you for passing on information about Adam to STF teachers. So many people will connect with Adam. From everything that went on during those hours that we spent with him, one of the things that moved me the most was to watch him, when he would get emotional, look for his young boy and want to hold him close. I understood that action.

  8. Zahara says:

    Hola Gabe & KTJ,

    Fue muy emosionante ver este video. Gracias a Adam que se puede comuniar en ingles pudimos entender, sentir sus emociones….porque muchas veces en la traduccion se pierde lo que los refugiados quieren decirnos pero Adam nos toco el corazon. Espero que asi como esta comunidad esta ayudando a parar el GENOCIDIO se unan a nosotros lo que tienen el poder de hacer algo ya.
    Abrazos
    Zahara

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Hola Zahara!

      Gabriel has to translate all your entries, I try to read them first and figure out what you said, but in the end straight translation always makes more sense :) The third day and our last day in Kounoungo was a very emotional one for everyone, including myself. But Gabriel was right when he told Yakoub, its not goodbye its see you later! Hope all is well in you home!

    • Gabriel says:

      Hola mi Zahas:

      Muchos abrazos a ti. Pienso mucho en mi familia cuando ando en los campamentos. Con Adam, al verlo con su familia y como cargaba a sus chiquitos, me ponia triste y feliz al mismo tiempo. Los extrano.

  9. Irais says:

    Hola Gabe!

    Este video fue muy touching! las palabras de Adam estoy segura que tocara el corazon de muchas personas para que juntos podamos a ser algo, para poder ayudar alos refugiados.

    • Gabriel says:

      Hola Ira:

      Que tal todo? Me acuerdo de ti cuando me toca hablar directamente a la camara, acordandome de como no te gusta dar los “speeches.” Pero nimodo! Gracias por tu nota.

  10. Mimi S. says:

    Hi Papi!
    Today’s video was just WOW! I can’t wait for tommorows! I also really liked the messages that Macy left for the refugees. Maybe that will bring more hope to the refugees.
    Mimi

  11. Maureen aka Tiffany's mom says:

    G – you tenacity makes me smile even when you’re down and out – you still are changing the world…there and here also by your commitment…take care of yourself and know it’s not easy doing what most don’t have the courage to do…or be….Maureen

    • Gabriel says:

      Hi Maureen:

      Thank you for sending your note of support. We will keep up doing what we can, and having your daughter on the team has meant that we can do so much more.

  12. Meron says:

    Hey again Gabriel!

    I see our little friend from down under has popped up on the borads. Just want to clear something up here. The ONLY reason it took me 3 days to finally catch up to you was because I was doing some ‘good stuff’ of my own. Presenting Peace Tiles and sharing about SOLID at the 2008 Change Conference in Victoria over the weekend. It pales in comparison, you standing there on the front lines giving a voice to the voiceless and carrying a message of hope, but I’m doing what I can for the moment. And I am cheering you on from the sidelines when I can. Also working on getting your banner up on our website, hope we can make it happen, we’ve been having trouble with the site lately. Keep on keeping on my friend. Luv ‘ya lots : )

    Be well,
    Meron

    PS: So, who do I have to bribe to get the 1st two days’ word-of-the-day … Yuen-Lin? Carolyn? Connie? I know Ms. Gayle won’t give ’em to me :P

    XoX (ha! to Australia)

  13. Ryan Gail says:

    HI KTJ,

    My name is Ryan Gail and I am a seventh grader at Crossler Middle School in Salem,Oregon. It looks like you have meeten some very interesting people and I hope that your visits will inform people across America about what is going on in that area. Please ask some of kids that you see about some of the things they like to do for fun. Also, give them hope that there are people that know about what is going and they are doing what they can to help.

    From, Ryan Gail

    P.S., Our school is doing a fundraiser to help Mercy Corps.

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