Just a bit sad

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed tonight. I have been trying to think about what to write and how to write it for some hours now. Guisma - Adef's daughter.JPGI guess I will just let my fingers type and see what comes of it. Tomorrow, we leave after six amazing days in this refugee camp. Six days that have given me the chance to understand and know more than a dozen children intimately; more intimately than any of my previous visits. Each one has shared with me their story, and shown me their home. As I spent more time with them, especially the girls, their personalities began to replace their initial shy smiles. They loosened up, laughed more, skipped, danced, and cracked jokes in broken English.

I feel so connected to them and it makes me really, really sad to say goodbye to them. I know that Yuen-Lin has created the CommKit, and we registered several today and Bouba will return soon to register more. I will be able to send them messages soon. I know that I will be back in the future to see visit them in person. But it is really hard to say goodbye to such a community.

women walking from afar.JPGToday was also sad because I relized that even in a refugee camp, disparity can be so severe.  While following one young girl to her house after school, we walked through narrow paths littered with animal feces, plastic, straw, and other garbage rather than the sand that guided us to Adef’s. Her house was so sad. Mostly sticks, with a torn tent, no bed or handing clothes like many of the others. This twelve year old lived just with her grandmother and when not in school, she took care of most all the chores: water, cooking, cleaning, firewood. Firewood? She leaves at 6am and returns around 5pm, carrying all she can.

Many of the girls we worked with were excited to show us their humble dwellings and for us to meet their families. This particular refugee looked upon us with very sad eyes as she pointed to her home, cooking area, and resting place, all within only a few steps.

tent 1We moved on quickly to the next little compound, which had an earthen oven, several tukul dwellings, a blackboard, and large, open area to store firewood and dried grass. The disparity affected me greatly. Even though I know fundamentally that this difference exists everywhere. The grandmother looked so fragile, and they literally had one mat, and a few plastic bins for storage. Other than that, nothing. At all.

There is not much sense or cohesion to this blog post and I apologize. After rereading it, I notice that I used the word sad probably too much. But as I said, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. I haven’t processed the day long enough to write something poetic or more visual.

Just a bit sad.

ktj

Katie-Jay keeps i-ACT running on several levels. Much of her work entails coordinating partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implementing the campaigns developed by Gabriel and seeing through the details. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States.

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Category: Day 9: April 1 · Tags: ,

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6 Responses to “Just a bit sad”
  1. Gayle Rogers says:

    Hey Sweetheart!

    You’re too close to this day to realise that feeling & expressing sadness – in it’s own
    right and without inhibition – is remarkably poetic.

    Be kind to yourself.

    love & hugs,

    Gayle xxx

  2. Isaac Murphy says:

    Hey KTJ,

    Feeling you….

    Not much to say I guess, just that I’m following and feel so proud to be your cousin. I believe in you.

    Love,

    Isaac

  3. carole says:

    oh, katie, you account of this last day brought me to tears. you guys never cease to amaze and surprise me with your empathy, love and dedication.

    please know that i am with you as you journey home.

    love to all,
    carole

    • Katie-Jay says:

      It was a hard day indeed. After re-reading the transcript from the video yesterday for a Day 10 Action, I almost started crying once again. This i-ACT has brought me so much closer to the lives of so many.

      thank you for all your support. As more news comes from Darfur about food, water, and disease, it would be great if we could post periodic medical summaries from you to the i-ACT/SGN community!

      peace sister,
      ktj

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