Laughing and Futbol on the Sand

G’s Journal—day 7

I become attached to specific people I meet in the camps pretty easily, and I wonder if they feel the same. I like to think they do!

Today we went back to Djabal Camp, and it already felt familiar. I knew that I would, with no problem, again find Oumer and want to play futbol with him, even though it would be wise to quite while ahead and leave the area a winner. KTJ, Ali, Mohamed, and I beat Oumer and about 19 of his friends in a “friendly” game of futbol yesterday. It is so funny how, on the field, both KTJ and I are so competitive! We went all out to beat the other team. Ali was the perfect teammate. I only picked him because he was the closest to me, so I got lucky! He gives it all for his team, sliding and bumping his way to get the ball. That game was yesterday, but I just can’t help talking about futbol. It is such an addiction to play on the sand. Back home that means at the beach; out here it means in the middle of a refugee camp. On the field, it makes no difference!

I got to see Adef again today. He did not come out on yesterday’s video, but I did write about him in my journal; he’s the one that lost his four-year-old son to diarrhea while escaping Darfur. There is something about him that makes me feel comfortable and at home. He’s someone that could easily be a “regular” friend, a no cameras present friend, you know? We showed him and his family pictures from the day before, and they laughed a laugh that came from very deep inside of them. The whole family is really good at laughing. The twins start it off with some giggling that quickly becomes uncontrollable belly laughs. Guisma has to join, many times not knowing what her brothers are finding funny. The mom and dad are also great at laughing. The small baby is always to attach to the breast to bother with anything else. There is one exception to all of this. Their young boy is a serious little man. His look is one of disapproval and even annoyance regarding everything related to our visit.

Later on, we do find Oumer. More accurate to say would be, Oumer found us. It was a good day, and it had to end with futbol, of course. I should have quit while ahead. This time, Oumer and only seven of his friends beat the four of us plus Joshua. It was a good game; we gave them a good fight. The shot that beat us was just too good to stop. I’ll be back though, so Oumer better be ready.

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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8 Responses to “Laughing and Futbol on the Sand”
  1. Hey Babe!!

    Meron and I dumped our stuff in Katie-J’s thread … the “chalk one” …. see you tomorrow, G. xxx

  2. Mom says:

    KATIE -JAY Y GABRIEL me da gusto que JEREMIAH Y JOSHUA se encuentren con ustedes y toda la buena gente de DARFUR hoy en el TEMPLO pedi a DIOS por todos USTEDES tan emocinada con tristeza por las PERSONAS que diariamente pasan sus VIDAS en un diario trajinar pauperrimo como son las que nos muestras teniendo que pasar la desdicha de muertes prematuras en muchas familias sin encontrar solucion para evitarlo continuaremos insistiendo para un movimiento justo socialmente para que el progreso llegue pronto y vivan dignamente YUEN LIN siendo UNO DE LOS HEROES sin mencionarse LO APRECIAMOS ALTAMENTE y agradeciendo a nuestro DIOS PADRE por su GRANDIOSO GRUPO me despido con un saludo de AMOR y PAZ para USTEDES y OJALA encuntren AFILIADOS con AYUDA INMEDIATA.
    consuelo, GABRIEL tu querida mama.
    PD.Gabito te saluda mucho.

    • Gabriel says:

      Hola Moms:

      Estoy totalmente de acuerdo contigo, Yuen-Lin es uno de los heroes. Es un heroe que lo hace todo calladito y sin buscar absolutamente nada en cambio. Gracias por tu nota, mom y nos vemos pronto.

  3. Tiffany Wheeler says:

    Hey G I was wondering how early you head into the camps. I am assuming they are early risers, but didn’t know when you were able to enter. My next question was they travel into certain camps based on where they came from in Darfur Right? Which camp is closets? Does this mean that some camps have quite a few people that lived in the villages together back in Darfur? Are there “high schoolers” in the camps? I know there is no education for them so was curious as to what a 16 or 17 yr old would do in a day there, do most leave? Are they having babies, settling down? I feel like the kids are always pretty young or parents so was just curious about that age group. Love the footage and journals

    Much love,
    Tiffany

    • Gabriel says:

      Hey Tiffany!

      The earliest we have headed out to the camps this year is 8am. Editing, handling pictures, and writing usually takes us late in to the night. The closest camp to the Darfur border is Oure Cassoni, which is just about on the border. Yes, many camps have people from the same villages. In Farchana, the community that we hang out with is all from the same village, and they were neighbors back home also. There is definitely not the corresponding percentage of adolescents in the camps, from my impressions. Young men tent to go back to Darfur, either as fighters or to find a way to bring goods to the family. The young women do start getting married away and pregnant. These teenagers are starving for education and would much rather be in a classroom than fighting and having babies.

  4. Lisa says:

    Gabe, its so remarkable to us that there’s so much laughter and smiling among these Darfurians who’ve been so traumatized. I’m glad you’re able to share some lighter moments with them in the camps.

    A few questions we’ve had on our minds:

    Is is it difficult for the families to store the food rations they’re allotted monthly without threat of theft?

    Are the perpetrators of incidents involving violence and rape within the camps often from within the refugee population or locals from am adjacent town? Also, has their interior camp security declined in the past year?

    Are idle children within the camps contributing much to the crime? What kind of paid jobs are available to men, women, and children? Do you know the percentage who work for wages?

    Are “slave raiders” invading the camps or is that atrocity still outside the confines of the camps?

    Have you seen any of evidence of the increased numbers of UNAMID personnel in the areas you’re traveling? How aware are the refugees of such “promised” forces?

    We got lots more “Meet Leila” flyers and SGN/i-ACT info flyers distributed at libraries, restaurants (including McDonalds), and three college campuses this week. Keep the excellent resources coming. Maybe you can get them all loaded under one link in a sidebar of your home page, now that you have a growing number of different ones available.

    Paz,

    Lisa
    San Antonio

    • Gabriel says:

      Hello Lisa:

      There are very few paying jobs in the camps, too few to even make a difference. There is crime in the camps, and I’m sure that some of it must exist because of young men having nothing to do and nothing to hope for, the same way it happens in the US. We have not seen UNAMID here in Chad. They are talking about an EU force coming in very soon.

  5. Hey, Exelente post !!! segui asi que esta muy bueno !!! Y arriba el futbol !

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