Made it to Abeche!
As always, it’s quite an adventure just to make it even close to a camp. It is now June 14th here. We left Los Angeles on June 10th. We are closer to our first camp, but still a flight and a short drive away–two more days.
It is really good to be traveling with our teammates, Eric and Ian. Katie-Jay and I have been out here multiple times, so it is great to experience things with our new guys, as they live this for the first time.
Eric already got to experience his first sleepless night out here, testing and re-testing some of the equipment and going through some frustrations with that. As a reward for that, he got a long day of travel and waiting, with very little food, until we made it to Abeche, where he could finally crash.
He and I are now sitting here in a little lounge at the UNHCR guesthouse, with our trusty satellite modem (a Bgan) connecting us to the rest of the world.
June 20th is World Refugee Day. It is a day that unavoidably brings with it many mixed feelings. It is a day to celebrate. The people in the camps are
grateful to have found a temporary home and so much assistance coming from all over the world. I could not even imagine how many more people would have died without the monumental job performed by UNHCR and its partner aid organizations, bringing shelter, food, water, medicine, and more to an unforgiving part of the world.
World Refugee Day should also be a time to reflect on the root causes of so many people being forced to live away from their homeland and to think of the solutions that might bring them back home. It should be a day of action, as action is the very best way to honor and celebrate the sorrows and triumphs of humanity connecting with humanity in the toughest of times.
Today, I looked at some video from our last trip to camp Djabal. I saw Raouda, a thin but resilient 12 year old girl. She lives with her grandma, and the two of them are surviving, and they are living. Raouda goes to school every day, but she also takes care of grandma, collecting firewood, cooking, fetching water, and cleaning. It is not an easy life and probably one that none of us writing or reading this post would ever want our own kids to experience. We want more for our children.
Whose child is Raouda? Is she one of “ours?”