Buried under Passion

I am feeling a bit down today.

We were up early in Guereda this morning, even though we had a little extra time to sleep in. We packed our bags, worked in the field office a bit and headed to the air strip. We didn’t have a security escort so we took big empty cargo trucks, probably because they won’t be targeted for banditry. It was a bumpy ride. Looking out of the back, with the thick plastic sheeting rolled up all the way, we said good bye to the desert.

Once in Abeche we wrapped up a few last minute details, and got on the computer. I have actually looked through my entire email box and cleaned up most of it. This is a task I usually can’t bring myself to do for weeks after I return from the camps. I should feel relieved or some sense of accomplishment or satisfaction for getting this task done, but I don’t.

Instead, I feel numb. I feel sad.  The emails and the websites and the list of things to do are so far from where I am mentally. I don’t quite know where I am.  I have spent almost three months of the last year and half in refugee camps here in Chad. With amazingly beautiful people. And the rest of the time, back in the States I get to travel around and share their stories, their reality and their hopes for the future. I get to dream up advocacy campaigns and push them into the public arena. I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. But I still feel so sad.

I want to curl up and cry. I want to look away, run away, be away. I thought all these months that I was a strong person, but now everything is catching up.

Adam said something that really struck me yesterday. When asked why he wanted the people of Darfur to learn about the world at his library, he intertwined his fingers and said, “We are all human beings.”

I think for sometime I have tried to bury myself below my passion and dedication to change the world. The people of Darfur have changed so much about me and taught me so much about myself. They have brought my own humanity to the surface. I guess in the end, we are simply all human.

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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9 Responses to “Buried under Passion”
  1. Robert Hadley says:

    Well said by Adam…something that General Dallaire stated as well. The big question of how we get others to understand and accept the humanity of others they will likely never know or meet is the biggest challenge. Don’t lose heart or hope…too much rides on the work you are all doing. We simply can’t expect you to keep taking on the burden…more upstanders need to step forward to help move the ball further down the path to peace.

    Today the world is focused on the untimely death of two icons…how so many feel soo moved by a man almost none of them knew is truly stunning. If we can see the humanity in them…we can see it in others!

    Safe travels!
    Rpb

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Thank you Rob. Hope your own World Refugee Day events and genocide awareness program was a success here in Southern California. Everyday you teach you are creating upstanders to help us in our work!

      peace, ktj

  2. Cory says:

    Ktj, you are amazing! It’s so strange that something so simple as “We are all human” can hit us so hard. My heart was immediately overwhelmed when I read that…and I can’t understand why..because it should be such a “duh” idea :)…unfortunately we often fail to recognize it or take it for granted.

    Please keep up the positive work for humanity. You give us all hope and inspiration.

    Peace,
    Cory

    • Katie-Jay says:

      CP – thanks for being part of our team. I can’t even find words to express my gratitude. I know this year has been a tough one for you, but please know that the people of Darfur are so grateful for your energy.

      best, ktj

  3. marv steinberg says:

    Adam will have his Library/Classroom and then some. At our prayer vigil last night, I read parts of your blog and email, and immediately there were plans for what we “must do” to raise that money. Bless you and Gabriel for what you do and for bringing the people of Darfur to us!

  4. Nell Okie says:

    Thinking of you KTJ, with admiration, gratitude and love, Nell

  5. Lisa Goldner says:

    KTJ,

    Your jounal entries (and team mates’ testimony) show your spirit-filled energy is never extinguished even after days of exhausting agendas and emotional goodbyes. Your selflessness and perseverance are amazing!

    When feeling overwhelmed, remember you have so many personal images of all those you’ve touched to help buoy you up. Like Fatne’s hug expressed, they know you care deeply, and have not forgotten them. You help them maintain hope, and they are grateful for your efforts.

    May your passion continue to drive you, but please get some well-earned rest when you can. Take care.

    Peace,

    Lisa

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Thank you Lisa. I try to stay focused during the hard times when I feel overwhelmed and thinking of communities and families like yours really keeps me going. Thank you for all your effort and love

      hugs to you!
      ktj

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