We are still waiting to get on a plane to Abeche and out to the camps. It’s been a busy day with the press briefing and conference with the UN High Commissioner, Guterres. Gabriel and I were there with Reuters and Al Jazeera, among other well know publications. I was very proud to be there representing everyday people. Ann, at UNHCR was again very helpful and really saw the value of the work we are doing. She, too, sees how many people can be reached by this type of citizen journalism. We have no one to answer to except the refugees and our only responsibility is to report the truth as we experience it on behalf of the refugees. I really believe that this work is not only as important but maybe more so in the efforts to tell this story. Always back to people connecting to people…
There is a lot of talk about moving the refugees away from the camps near the border and into new camps further into Chad for security reasons. Gabriel is worried for the refugees because so many told him they do not want to move even further away from their homeland. I keep thinking about how we as people are often a reflection of the land we live on because we are fed by it both literally and figuratively. I think about how no matter what our experiences or betrayals, our homeland is always a part of who we are at heart. I keep being drawn back to my years of work and friendship with those effected by homelessness in the States and working with those effected by Katrina. I realize that this journey and work, which felt so new and different to me just eight months ago, is really an extension of that work on a global scale. It’s all about the right, ability and opportunity to live peacefully and safely in one’s home. Over and over again it seems that life has put me in the path of those who ” just want to go home.” My instinct earlier today was to say,” yes, move the camps if it will keep the civilians safe!” but I realize from Gabriel’s experience last year that the refugees I am so desperate to meet, ” just want to go home.” And eventually they must because living as a perpetual refugee cannot be the answer for any human being or for the world at large.
So, we are ready to walk across the desert if we can’t get on a plane soon and I’m only half kidding. It occurs to me the moment I write that, that so many of the Darfurian people HAVE walked across the desert in order to save their lives and protect their families. My clever quip suddenly seems not so funny at all and I am even more aware of how much we need to get to Abeche to be with the people we came to represent. This trip is all about them and it’s been very difficult having so little control over when we can out go there. I never thought I’d be so anxious to get on a plane as I do NOT like to fly at all! Maybe that is something else that I will learn on this trip from the brave people we will visit….In the face of fear, embrace both courage and life…. one moment at a time.