I have been saying this quite often, where it has become something of a mantra for this trip. In Tchad (as you see Chad written out here), you have to roll with it. Things seldom go the way you would like them to or even the way you expect, even if you don’t like what you expect! The simple becomes complex, whether it be at the pre-paid hotel in the capital, where they try to charge you again (three times!); or at the airport, where the plane gets to the runway and then stops and returns, leaving you stuck one extra day where you don’t want to be; or in the east, where electricity and water flow only on and off — and on and off, so you have to be ready.
Our projects also can get stuck in the deep sands of eastern Chad. It’s difficult to get precise information that would help us implement, and even with the information, every task becomes monumental as you move forward.
During our expeditions, the i-ACT team has gotten sick, extremely thirsty, tired, hungry, stranded, ignored, and even shot at. We roll with it.
Our “rolling with it,” though, is far from passive. It is inspired by the “rolling with the punches” that boxers do, where they absorb punches without getting hurt, as they assess their situation and then come back with punches of their own, which seem to be powered by the rolling.
Muhammad Ali was a master at this. In the second stage of his career, his legs were not the same as when he was young. The young Ali could float like a butterfly then sting like a bee. The older Ali had to conserve energy and deplete the energy of the opponent at the same time. The extreme case of this was when he fought a mountain of a man, George Foreman. I am sure that George could bring down an elephant with one good punch, and Ali knew this. Nonetheless,Ali invited George to punch away at him, as he lay on the ropes — round after round, for almost eight rounds. If you look closely at this fight, Ali is not getting hit full on. He is rolling with the punches, swinging his body from one side to another, as the punches come in and hit on his shoulders and arms. Some do connect, but Ali was lucky to have one hell of a chin. After many rounds of George using Ali as a punching bag and Ali saying, “Is that all you got?” over and over again, Foreman wore out. Ali came off the ropes and, with an amazing combination to Foreman’s head, brought the mountain down.
Our team rolls with it because we love our “sweet science.” With my remarkable group of teammates, we believe in doing and do not allow ourselves to get stuck on the can’ts, don’ts, or shouldn’ts. We believe in acting for the people we meet as if they were family, which they are. We take what Tchad throws at us, and we roll with it and then come back swinging even harder. Is that all you got?