Day 11 from Gabriel

Hello friends, familia:

It has been a pretty exhausting day. It was three hours on the road, with a stop in between that was far from being a rest stop. I had thought that visiting this camp and looking for a wonderful family I had met a year ago was going to be maybe even pleasant. I did not get to see the family, but I did see their neighbor, an old friend that remembered me as “the husband of Zahara,” from me telling him more than a year ago the name of my wife. He told us the happy news: Nourasham, the mother in the family I met, had given birth to a baby girl; she was pregnant when I met her. He also told us very sad news. Nourasham’s husband had been killed, as he was defending his sister in law from a rape by a soldier. I think of Nourasham’s boys, Muhamad and Jasim, and I wonder how the loss of their father, a trauma upon a trauma, might have affected them. I think of little beautiful Hadia, the little girl that was proud to show me that she could count up to five, and wonder if she can feel safe in such a world that does not stop hurting her. I think of the less than one year old baby girl, and I wonder what kind of life awaits her, as she starts her first year in a refugee camp and her father being murdered. I do know that Nourasham is strong and will fight for her children. It is what mothers do.

Paz,
Gabriel

Gabriel co-founded Stop Genocide Now in 2005, which gave birth to i-ACT in 2009.

He became involved in the situation in Darfur out of a sense of personal responsibility. He believes the power of community and compassion, combined with personal empowerment, can bring about meaningful change.

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Category: Day 11: Dec 31, 2006 · Tags:

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30 Responses to “Day 11 from Gabriel”
  1. Phyllis H says:

    Hello, Gabriel and Stacey! Happy New Year’s Eve to you and all the people of Darfur. Perhaps 2007 will bring good news from the Government of Sudan. You both are doing MUCH to help publicize the human faces of the suffering of Darfur; never doubt it!

    The Jan 2007 issue of National Geographic features a four-page article by John Dau, “A Survivor’s Story.” He is now 34 years old and studies at Syracuse U in New York, but he was one of the “lost boys of Sudan” who came to the U.S. in 2001. He has established his own fund to build the Duk Lost Boys Clinic in southern Sudan.

    Much publicity is being printed, read, posted, blogged on Darfur and Sudan, and your two voices are part of that growing roar of recognition. Thank you for your stories of hope and despair, courage and atrocity. Seems there can’t be one without the other.

    Stay safe, have a wonderful journey home. Phyllis

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear Gabriel and Stacey,

    I’ve been trying to post a comment for days. I don’t know why this system hasn’t wanted to work for me. I tried it from a different computer and it still didn’t work. I hope it works this time. I hope you don’t think that we haven’t been following your journey because we truly feel that we are with you. Last night I was with several people in Corona, California and I was showing them your videos. We tried posting a comment, but it didn’t work… :(

    We are all so touched by the images that you are sending home to us and we do feel part of the Darfur family.

    Thank you for sharing so many beautiful faces with us. As Phyllys mentions in her blog, “perhaps 2007 will bring good news…” We are praying that it does.

    Rachel V

  3. Stacey's Mom says:

    Gabriel… so glad you had the good
    news about Nourasham and her baby
    and so sad about her husband.

    When someone remembers you and
    Zahara’s name from a year ago.. you
    know your work there is important!!

    Hope tomorrow brings you face to face with Nourasham for a reunion
    and so she knows you, we, remember

    You and Stacey take care of each
    other… be well!

    With love and solidarity…
    Stacey’s Mom

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey Dad,
    First of all happy New Year’s Eve. It is also great that you found where Nourasham is living but to bad she wasn’t there. It is also very sad of what happened to her husband, but that is why your there. To help stop this and to bring action. I shure also hope that Stacey is also doing well.
    Your daughter
    Mimi

  5. Anonymous says:

    Stacy y mi hijo Gabriel,

    Todavia algo tirste, imaginate ahora lo de la dieta, adelgasamos? Onzas es la comida Herdez de la 99 jalapenitos y deliciosos. Y ustedes privandose de una Buena comida, pero enferman! Solo dios y tu paleta por alla la dejo Andy. Son muchos? Lavo los trastes. Haste a un lado, le dise a su mamita y yo acabo rapido y facil. Pero Angelito ahorita * se trata de la cosina que he visto. Tardaron? Nomas en poner las estacas y con la arena me admira que esten saludables ohala y asi continuen. Hoy rece el rosario y los encomende a ustedes y a la gente de Darfur. Aunque ya no allaba puerta. Esto dijo el angelito. Quitamos todo esto. Reconicio a la chavala? Pedi que manden ayuda alli en la iglesia a el Catholic Relief Services, pues la necesidad que nos muestran. Todavia estoy aqui? Con esto y mas poquito y segun esto un gran paquete imiserablito. Bueno que disculpe el Angel y ustedes que regresen bien. Le pedimos a Dios, Los enfermos sin antencion y todo eso. La deplorable consequencia que sufren no se comprende. Hay Corazon en el humano? No en todos los hombres. Esto viene ya desde hace muchos anos. Africa asi a sido, ya desde antiguamente fue la respuesta de una senora, hay excusa? Lei en el libro de la Liturgia pagina 216 “Vale mucho a los ojos del senor la vida de sus vieles”, y tambien “El senor nos bendiga nos guarde de todo mal y nos lleve a la vida eterna”. Mucho los quiere…

    Mami

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Gabriel ~ have been with you all in spirit on this journey and send to both of you my thoughts and wishes for your safety and progress in your efforts. Thank you for being the connection between all of us and the people of Darfur and for showing them that they are not forgotten by us. May the new year bring them closer to the peace that the world so desperately needs.
    Travel well and safely,
    Patty W

  7. christina rodriguez says:

    hi there again..it’s me christina rodriguez
    just admiring what you’re doing..again
    and to wish you a happy new year
    i would think being far away from your family is hard enough but being far away from them during the new year is harder..
    so i send my best wishes!
    good luck!

  8. Meron says:

    Dearest Gabriel,

    I’ve faithfully been following you and Stacey on your journey. It has been a very emotional ride, indeed. Today was the worst for me. I felt myself fold in when one of the men said “we men, they kill us, it’s not a problem … women and babies, it’s a very shame.” I wanted to scream WHAT MAKES THAT OKAY? How does gender of the victim make it not a problem? None of this is okay! This needs to stop and stop NOW!!!

    Thank you both for your courage and compassion to take this journey and inviting us all along. On this eve of a dawning of a new year, my hope and wish will be that 2007 brings with it peace and healing for Darfur.

    Be well and be safe my friends,

    Meron

  9. connie says:

    Gabe and Stace,the cuorage of the man who tried to protect his sister inlaw and was murdered tells it all,he was comitted to what is just and human and paid with his life.People everywhere no matter their condition want what is RIGHT,this comittement to his familiy let it not go in vain and be our fuel to fight for what is RIGHT.I hope his children and wife have the will, and his courage to go ahead with their life and one day find the opurtinity to live where they belong and grow to be productive,and in this way,honoring their father and husband.Amor y Paz,Connie

  10. teresa says:

    Hi Gabe and Stacey,
    Today’s video was one of the most moving videos for me. To hear the refugees of Darfur putting all their hope in the US and saying that their lives are “in the hands of America”, and America still stands by. Yes, the US has the power to make a difference, but what are we waiting for?
    My wish for 2007 is that people all over the world become more compassionate as that can only open the doors to good things.
    I have been emailing friends and acquaintances and telling them about the situation in Darfur and directing them to this website and it’s been disheartening to see the lack of response. But I know that if we can connect to even one person, that person can help make a difference. We can witness that with Stacey.
    Happy New Year to you both! We will continue this journey and see you home soon.

  11. Mimi says:

    Dear Gabriel,
    How jarring and emotional to hear that the people await the help of America. I believe that the powers that be in America are not thinking with their hearts or at all. The truth is out there, Bashir and Bush are together in the fight against “terrorism”. Why should the powers that be even look at the terrrorist they are working with.
    It pains me to hear the stories of the people. It also gives me hope to see you with them and them knowing that there are people who care and want to help them . May your year and STacey’s year be filled with health and all the love the world has to offer.
    Mimi Schiff

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hola, Gabriel!

    We were so touched by your efforts to reconnect with Nourasham and her family. How tragic her husband died in his courageous efforts to defend his sister-in-law. We hope you can communicate your condolences to her directly before you depart. Her family reflects the horrific losses this genocide has left, but also, hope, in the birth of her baby, and the family
    ‘s ability to continue to uphold their spiritual convictions in celebrations of their faith, like today’s. We will keep them and all Darfuri families in our prayers as we close this new year’s eve with The Feast of the Holy Family. We must all draw strength from such oberservances of faith. Tomorrow, at our mass celebrating World Day of Prayer for Peace, we’ll light candles for you and Stacy, your brave support team, Ali and Joseph, all the refugees, and other Darfurians suffering for so long.

    You’ve traveled so far, reached out with compassion, and shared so much of what needs to be told . . . thank you for this.

    Paz de Cristo,

    Lisa

  13. Marilyn says:

    Gabriel, I wrote another post about your video reports yesterday on my blog. I have some really wonderful, caring blog-friends and readers…but my Darfur posts typically don’t get many comments. I wish I could say this time was different, but so far only a few. As Teresa said, it’s disheartening to see the lack of response. Maybe people are watching the videos (also linked in my sidebar via a banner) and just not commenting. This video was a bit wrenching to watch. On the one hand, it was so remarkable to have that man remember you and your wife’s name! But it was heartbreaking to hear of the death of Nourasham’s husband. And also heartbreaking to hear the stories of those men who’ve just arrived in the camp. My heart sank when I heard that man say that they feel they’re in America’s hands–I so wish a statement like that could make my heart soar instead. Do you have plans for your next steps when you return Stateside? Please tell us what we can do to help you when you return. Be safe.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Dear Gabe and Stacey
    I heard this quote one time that said that the past is like another country. Well, Darfur must be like another planet, because the things that happen there seem beyond this world. How could this be happening and everyone just be going about their everyday lives here? I still call the Pres and my reps to remind them what’s going on, and they seem much more empathetic. Although, without knowing all the details I feel like thay haven’t done much of anything yet. I swear they must be crazy!!!!!!! Keep up what you’re doing. I can’t think of anything more important……….Tony G.

  15. B. Warren-Leigh says:

    Dear Gabriel,
    I am a close friend of Pam B. and sister to Patty W. I have been following your progress, last year and this year, and sharing it with my daughters. As a result of watching your videos last year, my oldest daughter, now a freshman in college, tried to start a program at our local children’s museum, to bring awareness about the children of Darfur, but her project was turned down by their board. She will not give up, however. She wants to help make a difference. When you have time, perhaps you could send her an email and let her know how she can help. Her email is: bleigh@ups.edu. THANK YOU and Stacey for what you are doing, for your full hearts and for making this real to us. We all need to see. Best wishes and safety, B. Warren-Leigh (Portland, OR)

  16. pamelapb says:

    Dear Stacey and Gabriel,

    Each day we are more involved in your journey and meeting your friends from Darfur. Today’s video with the messages from America to Darfur was especially powerful and disturbing. Disturbing because despite the best efforts of so many, we have not yet been able to protect the people of Darfur or speed them home again.

    I wish we could bring together this online community you have gathered for your journey and conduct a strategy session with Senators Obama and McCain and Jon Prendergast and Samantha Power, who all participated in your video today. We must find a way to turn up the political pressure to protect the people of Darfur.

    If only our elected leaders had just a fraction of the heartfelt commitment of our Gabriel and Stacey, these families would be home again.

    You have helped us all deepen our resolve and our connection to the people of Darfur.

    Our thoughts travel with you in the camps this first day of 2007,
    Pam

  17. connie says:

    I saw thier eyes as you did Gabe!I am wondering what was going through their minds?You showed them that some of us do care,but I am so frustrated that not enough to make difference(imagine them?)I send you and Stace a big hug(the one you needed).Amor y paz,Connie

  18. Anonymous says:

    Happy New Year Gabriel and Stacey!
    Our refugees and your crew are in my thoughts and fervent prayers.

    Our paths somehow did not cross in Chad this time. However, please know that I was there with you in heart and spirit especially while I was in N’Djamena. I ended up with the humanitarian workers on their way to their own respite and decompressed with them. It was good to meet up with our Oure Cassoni IRC doctors – Ashis and Ponce, UNHCR staff and other volunteers. Perhaps that is what I was meant to do there this time. I wish I could have done more.

    I look forward to a time for us to all work and serve the refugees together.

    Peace and love to all of you and your families. Safe travels.

    Abrazos,

    ~ Liz Garcia-Gray

  19. Mimi says:

    Dear Gabriel,
    The videos shown to the refugees touched my heart. In watching their faces, I knew that language didn’t matter. It is the language of the heart that matters.
    Thank you for your journey and the dedication you have.
    Stay safe,
    Mimi Schiff

  20. Anonymous says:

    Dear Gabriel and Stace,

    Well it’s 2007 and as every 1st day of the year, the family went to 22nd Street in Hermosa Beach, CA to play the first soccer game of the year. (We missed you Gaba). I couldn’t help wondering all the favorite things the families of Darfur enjoy doing at home and can’t do anymore. I don’t even know what to say after watching your latest videos. I hope that our children will be better citizens of the world…

    Rachel V.

  21. Samuel says:

    Dear Gabriel

    I just want to say that Pesident Bush comeing to help/take action would not be a bad idea. Stay safe

    Peace and Love

    Samuel

  22. Anonymous says:

    Dear Gabriel and Stacey,

    It is pretty neat that you found the same woman who was six months pregnant last year. It was sad, though, to find out that her husband had been killed. I feel bad for the baby who has to be raised in such a dangerous environment.

    -Yasmin A.

  23. Beau Bourne says:

    Dear Gabriel, what you are doing is awesome and is a great way to get the word out for people to take action. I wish more people like you were out there.

    It was sad to hear about the death of Nourasham’s husband. He was trying to do the right thing and died for what he believed in.

    Good luck to you,
    Beau Bourne

  24. Emerson says:

    Hi, Gabriel I like wat u r doin.I think there should be more people like you.Happy New Years and Good Luck on saving Dafur.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Gabriel

    The interviews you are doing bring inspiration and knowledge to the people back here in America. Your work is not going unappreciated.

    Jacob

  26. ali y. says:

    Hey,
    I hope you both are doing great. Happy holidays. We appreciate that you are doing what you are doing.
    Thanks. You both are helping rise awareness more and more everyday. Stay safe.

    Peace,
    Ali Y.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I’m posting to you Gabriel but this is for the both of you. The call to action today was share how you are sharing the Darfur story. I admit, I’m behind in watching the video clips but I finished today and am left feeling a little mesmerized.

    I have forwarded the link to co-workers and friends adding my own commentary on some of the video clips. I’m an advocate for all things African and right now,Darfur is the subject. I hope in sharing the clips with my word-of-mouth network, we’ll hear more talk and see more action. Seems we are moving closer to the end as a 90-day cease fire has been ordered and a peace summit by March 15. Wonderful and joyful news.

  28. alan kim says:

    Dear Gabriel,
    What the men at the tent said was true. The president of the United States does nothing but talk about the situation. We need action and for him to give the people in Darfur and Sudan peace and give them protection from the Janjawee. If we do nothing to tell the president about the situation going on at Darfur, many people will die and be hurt.

    From all of us who care,
    Alan

  29. Anonymous says:

    Hey Gabriel. Happy New Year! I really appreciate what you guys are doing in Darfur. I told my mother about what you’re doing a bout the genocide and she wants to know if there’s any way she could help out. Let me know.
    Thanks,
    Amy Bell
    Palisades High School.

  30. anne says:

    Thanks, Thanks, Thanks

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