Jim says “Hi” to his wife Elizabeth

G’s Journal—day 5

Today was travel day! I’m trying to sound excited, but I most definitely much prefer to have visiting friends in camps day than having to run and wait to move from one town to the next and then to the next. You know, today it was not all bad. The waiting was minimal, especially relative to Chad, and the flights were even enjoyable.

Jim, a pilot we met on our jump up north to Guereda, was again flying the plane south to Abeche, where it would be a short touchdown, and then on to Goz Beida. On the first leg of the trip, I had to make my way up to the seat right behind Jim, since other seats, all of the 8 others, were taken. It’s a tight squeeze in those planes, with their non-existent hallways. You have to just about jump over the seats to get through.

On landing, we had our friend Yousef waiting for us. He found us a good car, or so I hoped, since I did not get a chance to check it out, and had loaded our extra luggage we had left in Abeche. He also got us lots of water and, very importantly, bought a football (soccer ball). We did not have any time at all to go out of the small (but huge for Eastern Chad standards) Abeche airport. We were hoping to find Jeremiah and Josh there, but they were delayed in N’djamena because permits to be gotten.

Jim, when he heard me ask for permission to video-record during the flight, said, “Hey, would you like to ride next to me upfront?” Big-smile on my face, I said, “yes!” of course, and I went up as the unofficial and “don’t touch anything” co-pilot. I got to wear the headphones, so I heard the conversations between tower and planes and even between planes. I understood very little of what they were saying, even though they were speaking in English.

There are amazing views, crossing the Chadian desert north to south: long and wide dry river beds, which fill up and become impassable during the rainy season; all shades of browns with lines that make beautiful patterns; and the, in me, euphoria causing vast expanses of everything but nothing touched by man.

It was really cool to talk with Jim. He lived in Ethiopia with his wife and children. His son is a pilot, and his daughter has been working in all these different parts of the world. I told him that exploration must run in his family’s blood.

Well, to make a long story short and to tell you the only reason I wanted to write this journal entry, Jim wants to say “hi” to his wonderful wife Elizabeth (“with a z”). So there. Thanks for the ride, Jim!

Paz,
g

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.

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10 Responses to “Jim says “Hi” to his wife Elizabeth”
  1. Zahara says:

    Hola Mi chavo,

    Quiero plalticarte lo que Gabo dijo al ver este video.
    Mi Papi manejo el avion, wao papi? y al estar viendo las fotos de los ninos y escuchando la musica, me di cuenta que se la sabe toda (cuantas veces la ha escuchado?)hay que decirle a Greg que tiene un fan en casita.
    Besos
    Zahara & Gabo

  2. Lisa says:

    Hi, Gabriel!

    Isn’t it nice to sometimes get that unexpected nicer-than-usual day of travel and “. . . you’re clear to land. Roger that.” Such great views Jim allowed you from the copilot seat! It must feel good to have a familiar face of a trusted friend like Yousef greet you when you land. In between field trips, does i-ACT stay in communication with him and other drivers/translators you use? Are they initially recommended by UNHCR staff?

    Too bad J & J got delayed by the pesky permit paper shuffle. Although I caught the nice journals they’ve posted, is there any biographical info on Joshua and Jeremiah we overlooked? Where did you connect with them as part of i-ACT? I did notice the official addition of Niny, Cory, and Tiffany as active team members — thanks to them and all the rest of Team i-ACT providing such great base support while you’re traveling. Please give our congratulations to Stacey on her addition of the youngest new i-ACT member! She’ll have to swap video photos with the other new moms in the camps. :D :D

    Y’all produced another amazing video! The still photo shots you’ve interspersed in the videos are a nice touch. I really like the text overlay, putting names with faces. Guess you’ll have to refer to “little” Leila, etc., or add last names, when you get to multiple friends with the same first name! Greg Lawson’s background music is awesome for these videos! Also, if some of the footage you’re including is from the camp “film crew apprentices,” it’s worked well. They must be so thrilled to help with the photography in any way you can enable them. Take care.

    Out,

    Lisa
    San Antonio

  3. mimi schiff says:

    Dear Gabriel,

    What a wonderful video, yes we do all have to get together and end it now. Thank you for being the true eyes and ears.
    Good wishes to you and the team. You are all inspiring !
    Mimi Schiff

    • Gabriel says:

      Hello Mimi Schiff:

      Thanks for being so supportive. I’m sometimes working on the video well into the night and morning that I’m not sure if it all makes sense to others. I’m glad you’ve liked them.

  4. Well there is my big belly laugh for the day ….. “unofficial, don’t-touch-anything” co-pilot!!

    LOVE IT!!!!

    I spent about an hour last night (Oz time) searching for a neat and tidy little map of Chad that had N’Djamena, Abeche, Guereda and Goz Beida ALL listed for the “Crisis in Sudan 2008” thread at http://www.ned.com/ – so everyone could actually see the distances you guys travelled. It was a big and very long day for you guys.

    You are all doing GREAT – and we are all with you in spirit.

    G. xxxx

    PS: No issues between Canada and Australia …. other than much laughter :)

    • Gabriel says:

      My Aussie, Gayle!

      I could have landed that plane if I wanted to! I’m not sure anyone would have walked out of it, but we would have made some kind of landing with me on the controls.

  5. Tiffany Wheeler says:

    Co-Pilot huh? Hmm everyday your adventure makes me more inspired and anxious. There is a small side of me that likes to fly planes :) I know what that feeling in the front seat is like. I can’t imagine what its like to look over the Chad desert. . .

    • Gabriel says:

      Hey Tiffany:

      Yes, I do remember you saying that you’re working on pilot’s license, right? Jim is a retired airline pilot, and he did this same kind of work many years ago and now is back at it. It’ll be great to fly with you sometime!

  6. Medhat Hanna says:

    AHHH!! i got to talk to u today on the phone!! i am the guy who was talking to u from ms preyras rooom, who participted in making the video in arabic that will be shown to the refugees and i dl like to say a couple of thing that i didnt get to say on the phone. Number one is that it is really quite comforting to know that someone like you and the aid workers are going through all the trouble and working day and night to make ur dream and the dreams of many come true; for one to say they want to help is one thing and for another to take action and constatntly help is another. I really admire what you are doing and i just wanted to let you know that, and that no matter wat kind of obstacales face u, i know ull over come them, because you are doing a great act and iam sure god will blesss and the dreams of many will become reality through hard working people like u.. =]… i wish u the best of luck.. and may god bless all ur work and efforts and keep u and all the darfurians safe…
    -Medhat
    Best regards, to you and all the darfurians

    • Gabriel says:

      Hi Medhat:

      It was great talking with you and the other students at your school. You guys are the inspiration, since you are young but decide to jump in and work on something that is far from easy and requires true dedication. I’ll see you at Pali sometime soon, and thanks for your offer to help us with Arabic translation!

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