Day 11: Nov 31, 2005

i-ACT: Day Eleven


Commenting back
Hello again. I cut short answering some of your questions yesterday because of the always present electricity issue, but we’re back! I hope we are also seeing some of the answers to your questions through the videos. I am making an effort to go out and ask the questions you’ve been asking and recording what you would like to see.

Hey Jav,
You asked if the children that were out doing the handstands were out on recess. They were actually on breakfast break. They go to school early, at 7:30; then, at 10:00 they are released to go home for breakfast. They have continued this schedule from the way they used to do it back in Darfur, Sudan. The refugees do organize. Each camp has a group of leaders, all men, and they take part in meetings with the camp managers and the local authorities. Women are part of different committees that have been set up by the NGO’s, and they also have a say on some of the decisions that affect their lives. As far as I’ve been able to learn in the camps we have visited, there is not a structured judicial system. Women committees help to deal with conflict at home, including domestic violence, but I do not believe there is any real follow up, on a legal sense, to that type of crime. An aid worker told me that they talk with the men, the abusers, and they just kind of play along, saying that yes, they understand and will not do it again. I asked a woman gendarme, the camp security run by the Chadian government, how they dealt with crime, and she did not really give an answer, or did not want to give one. I’ll try some more in some of our upcoming visits.

Hi Sarah from MSMC!
You are so right, children are children. They do live the present and enjoy life, laughing and playing. But, as you can hear from the recent interview with my young English speaking Darfurian, they have experienced things they should not have experienced, and they live far from where they want to be.

Hello Rinee and Sonia,
Sra. Sonia, gracias por hacer el esfuerzo de ver nuestros videos e interesarse por lo que esta pasando, aunque sea en Ingles. Creo que las imagenes dicen mucho, sin tener que entender las palabras. Pero, para platicarle un poco de lo que dice la gente de Darfur, todos quieren regresar a su casa en Sudan. Son tan fuertes, sobre todo las mujeres. Me recuerdan much a mi mama, quien quedo viuda cuando yo y mis hermanos y hermanos eramos todos chiquitos. Viviamos en Monterrey, Mexico. Ella tuvo que trabajar tanto para que nosotros tuvieramos una vida sana y buena. No se cuanto tuvo que sufrir para que nosotros no sufrieramos. Por lo que ella hizo, yo tuve una infancia ideal, de lo mas feliz. Yo en verdad creo que muchos de los chiquitos y chiquitas de Darfur siguen riendo por la fuerza de sus madres. El poder de la mujer es increible.

Dear Mayank,
Great question. Being that the collection of wood is the biggest daily problem, why not find other ways of cooking, such as solar power? The UNHCR and its partners have been really looking at the different options, but I have not heard of one that will solve the problem of lack of firewood and the dangers women and girls subject themselves to while collecting it. The one idea I mentioned before, the save 80 stove, which is supposed to use 80 percent less wood, but we are told that it actually only saves up to 60, is one idea they have tested. We went out to look for some of the families that were the test cases for these stoves. The two that we found were not using the stoves. It would take a very radical change in their ways of life for them to adapt to a new way of cooking, and I assume that the solar stove would also have that type of impact. If it takes longer to cook a meal, then they have to change their daily schedules, and women are so busy! This is a huge issue, and I’ll go into it more in the future. We’ll also cover it more in the videos. Thanks!

Hello Patty W.!
I’m sorry that tech difficulties kept you from posting before, but I got the message this time. I’m sorry that some times it takes me a while to respond, but we have a few tech challenges out here ourselves J Thank you for your kind thoughts. We are definitely passing on the good will and wishes on to the people we meet. They all give their sincere thanks. It is so touching to see how much they appreciate us coming to their homes and talking with them. It makes me a bit sad because I do not have the power that they probably think I have, or maybe they just hope I have. Well, it makes me more than a bit sad. The accumulation of experience, emotions, thoughts get to me once in a while, which is OK. Well, thanks for thinking of us and the people of Darfur.

Hello Allyson Bruns,
Bruns is a good last name! I also cannot get enough of children signing. You can hear their songs anyplace they are gathered in groups. Today we saw them at a Child Friendly Space, and it made me so happy to see them enjoying that moment. The right now is very important. Thanks Allyson, and please stay watching and getting others involved.

Hey Moms,
Gracias. That’s a good message you sent me, and I also hope our leaders are listening. Un abrazo, Mom.

7 replies on “i-ACT: Day Eleven”

Dear Gabriel,

I’m not able to watch the videos, becuase i’m in class and our computers aren’t working , but I have been keeping up with your blogs. I’m happy that you are able to go and make a difference. Keep up the good work.

Ms Peyera’s Class

Gabriel and Chris!
Hello from MSMC!
I was finally able to upload the videos that I could not before. It was a much speedier proccess!
I am in awe. The footage is incredible. My heart goes out to the thousands of children at each camp. They are so full of love and life it brings tears to my eyes.
I am in charge of donation drives at the college and am wondering if I set up a drive for school supplies for the children in the camps, would it be beneficial? Is there any way we could get the supplies there?
Or is there anything else we can do here, would raising money be a better idea? I just want to do so much more for the children, they deserve so much more. Thank you so much for this footage, I am praying that it opens up a lot more minds and hearts…
Be Well,
Shelley (MSMC-Pam’s Class)


It kills me to think that once the children are done with 6th grade, that’s it. I have teenagers and I just can’t imagine them having nothing to do. What were their schools like in Darfur? Did they continue school after 6th grade? The young adult you interviewed today was so impressive. Did he learn English at school? I imagine he is so sad he can’t continue going to school.

Let’s get these children home!

Dear Gabe and Chris,

I join everyone else who have thanked you for all you are doing.

Understandably so, some of us back home might be feeling a bit frustrated because the “results” we want to achieve in the campaign to stop the genocide are not coming quick enough; not enough media attention; not enough action from our legislators; not enough community involvement; and no families heading back home to Darfur. Our desire to end the suffering of the children, women and men we so anxiously see through the amazing images you send us is painfully passionate.

However, I would like to suggest that this is much bigger than a campaign. This is now a part of our lives. This is who we are. You have transformed many of us by taking us with you across the world, and offering us the gift of entering into relationship with the beautiful people of Darfur. Our love, care and support for their wellbeing will be never-ending.

I can envision the day when Gabe and Chris travel back to Sudan to send us images of our sisters and brothers living back home in Darfur!


Just want to say… Great comment Javier!!! I agree with everything you say. This has definitely become part of my life. I think about their well bieng every day and pray for their safe return to Darfur.

Gabe and Chris, Keep up the good work


Yo Gabriel is me agian. Jut written to say I saw your new film on my teachers computer. When you are at that school with children doing head stands and dancing. Seems like everything has been goin fine hope it stays that way. I’ll keep posting.

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