Day 1: Dec 21, 2006

From N’djamena, Chad

Hello friends and familia:

It was pitch dark and a bit cool, as we came off of the Air France plane and walked down the steps to go in to the N’djamena airport. Africa has a distinct feeling to it, and I’m just not sure how to explain it. I bet that anyone that’s been here knows what I’m talking about. It feels familiar, connecting to something deep in me, but also alien, with sounds, smells, and sights that are all so new.

I’m a bit tired from the last few days of preparation for this trip, combined with the work on our I Stand With Darfur campaign, which had me in DC ten days ago protesting at the Sudanese Embassy.

Ali, the aid worker we met on Day 6 of last year’s i-ACT, met us at the airport. It felt so good to see his friendly face. He’s going to be of so much help, and he’s also just great to have around. He is Chadian and knows a lot about his country. From working in refugee camps for a long time, he also knows a lot about the life of the displaced people of Darfur. Ali will be our interpreter and our guide. He is free to do this right now because his agency was force to pull out of Guereda due to the insecurity. There is fighting all around that area, so the two camps that are served from that town, Mile and Kounoungo, have been left without most services. I still would like to find a way to get there, since our good friend, and new member of the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force, Ahmat lives and Kounoungo. I have a care packet for him from the STF members in California.

Before I leave to go find out about registering with local police, which we have to do before leaving to Abeche, a little about the tech side of things:

I’m now typing away on this brand new i-book Yuen Lin, our tech guru, prepared for us, and I’m sitting in a very comfortable hotel room. It’s been a good morning. I tested the satellite modem, which is connected to this laptop right now, and it worked just fine. I was able to call Yuen Lin from the phone that connects to it; I was able to check and send e-mail; and YL was able to remotely play with this computer. Very cool stuff!

Carolyn is the one that set up this website and blog, and she, like YL, is pretty amazing also. They get some help from other volunteers, but they are the backbone that makes what we did last year and what we’ll do these next days possible.

OK everyone, we’ll be in touch. Let’s not forget to act.


8 replies on “From N’djamena, Chad”

Hi Gabe and Stacey,
Good to hear from you and looking forward to the experiences you will be sharing with us in the next days. Although the situation for Darfurians has not improved since a year ago you were there Gabe, it does seem that in this past year Darfur has been more in the press and more and more people all over the world are learning about the atrocities that continue. You both have definitely been part of raising that awareness and that is the gift you offer your “family” in Darfur this Christmas. We will miss you but we will be following your journey throughout and will be supporting your efforts. Take care!

Hi Gabriel,

It’s good to hear from both of you and to know that you made it there safe. I’m also happy to know that Ali is with you guys. He is like an old friend from your last trip.

As always, your writings makes me feel like I’m there with you…I am in spirit

I’m really excited to see your first video.

Take care and a big hug to Stace.

Rachel V.

Hi Gabriel,
I was in Pam Bruns class last year as we took the first i-act jouney with you. I am looking forward to following you though this one too. My prayers, thoughts and wishes are with you and Stacey as you do God’s work. i have been following the situation in Darfur and things are not looking better at all. I hope that more people are moved and more actions are taken on behalf of you work. Be Blessed :)

Replies from Gabriel:

Hey Tere!

Yes, I agree. There has been more press and more awareness about Darfur over the last year. We now just have to turn that in to immediate action. Here are three points that my good friend John Morlino keeps reminding me and other that we should all be yelling at the tops of our lungs:

1. Genocide is not negotiable.
2. The innocent civilians of Darfur must have immediate protection from an effective international peacekeeping force, with or without the consent of the perpetrators, the Government of Sudan.
3. Our own government and President Bush must not turn the other way as a genocide rages on, in exchange for intelligence or any other diplomatic considerations.

Tere, thanks for always being so supportive. You and Charles have always been there. I know that you both worry about me out here, but I’ll be keeping my head down!

Hola Rach!

Yeah, so many memories from the first i-ACT! Ali is very much like an old friend, like family. It feels so right to have him be a part of the team. He’s a perfect fit for Stace and I. He has a great sense of humor, and we can count on him for anything.

Say hi to David, David E., and Michael. David’s letter, which I read on the plane over here. Wow, your 18 year old son can write some inspiring stuff. I have to work hard to live up to his expectations! :)

Hi Marilyn:
Thanks for looking in on us. I hope you stay around and you participate in the 14 actions, which is what this is all about, action!

I remember you so well! You kept me company during last year’s i-ACT. You are so right. The crisis in Darfur is far from getting better. It might seem overwhelming, but we have to demand what we really want, immediate protection of civilians; we have to focus on doing.

Teresa and Rachel, I am honored to be on this journey with a whole “
family” of people working to protect the people of Darfur. It really
feels right being here for i- Act 2 at this time. So thankful I met
Gabriel and the whole Stauring family that windy Camp Darfur night
last April. Big hug, Stace

Marilyn, Thank you for your following the journey and look forward to
your thoughts! Stacey

Shelley, I am so grateful for your prayers. It is so wonderful to hear
that you followed Gabriel’s trip last year and that you are still so
invested in the people of Darfur. Blessings to you too, stacey

Dear Esther:

You’ve been one of my partners in this from when I first started. I
was telling Stace today about how I could always count on you to be
ready for actions, no matter how crazy they seem at times. You are
all heart, brains, and energy. Thanks!



So good to hear from you and about all the wonderful and powerful actions you are all taking! It is so inspiring and the very reason we are here. Gabriel’s first trip produced not only this incredible team effort between you, him and Human Rights Student Task Force but a friendship with Ahmat! I, too, hope we’ll find him on our journey.

Pam O,

Thank you so much for your encouragement and prayers.Hopefully we’ll return one day to document the peaceful lives of the people in this region and the power of so many dedicated people’s efforts.


Ann has been amazing in her support and understanding of the value of citizen reporting. She has worked very hard get us out to the camps asap at a very complicated time here in Chad. She is clearly dedicated to her work in a chaotic time but somehow manages to keep a light on within and an eye out for the ” little guy” reporters. Salute to your hopes for a call to action NOW!

So glad to hear from you, Jan! We both appreciate your support and kind words, it really helps remind us that this work does have an effect on people. It is so much about the children because they are the future of this world.They belong to all of us!


You are such an inspiration to me! You work so tirelessly to protect the people of Darfur and it is people like you back home that inspired me at the very beginning. You are an example that clearly shows we do not need to travel anywhere besides into our own hearts to make a difference. Stacey Cynthia, will keep an eye out and ear open for children’s specific needs. I’ve only been involved in this for eight months. They’ve been a very full eight months but I keep going back to the ” regular people” that have been at it a lot longer ( which is scary in itself because it reflects the duration of this genocide) and who built the bridge of information and outrage that led me to Africa. I’m proud to join the ranks of “regular people” who have led the way, Stacey Lou Ann, Could feel the ” Philadelphia” in you with your comments! I, too, am from Philly and recognize the passion of my ” homeland.” Just another reminder that we are always connected to our “home” no matter where in the world we live and that everyone has a right to live there safely. Will look into most current answers to all of your questions on this trip. One thing we are doing is bringing video taped messages of solidarity from everyday people in the US to the refugees. We’ll share these messages to let them know that THEY ARE NOT FORGOTTEN! This project is especially close to my heart and one of the main reasons I felt I must come. Perhaps when we return we could organize a Camp Darfur in Philadelphia and collect messages from people from our city.Then…. when our united efforts as a collective force of people unwilling to stand idly by helps bring a time of peace to Darfur, we can bring these messages back to remind the survivors that they were NEVER forgotten despite appearances to the contrary. Your dedication and heartfelt words are inspiring!

Phyllis H,

What beautiful news! Your message brings hope that Darfur activism is working and the world is waking up. So glad that The Venice High is a part of that awakening. Keep up the incredible work, I was in Germany during Camp Darfur’s visit but saw some footage and was awe struck by the young man’s approach to teaching others about the food and nutrition problems here. I told Gabriel we could learn a thing a two from him and that we must use his ideas in our future Camp Darfur kitchen tent.


Thanks for following the trip. Bloggers For Darfur…wow! We need you guys and glad to know you are out there.Keep in touch, Stacey

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