When you read this journal entry, Stace and I will be in an area that is in the norther part of eastern Chad. We will be flying there, since the security situation does not permit driving. Most aid workers have been pulled from the camps that are in the north, leaving only skeleton crews that deliver only basics to keep refugees alive.
We have decided to add a day, so it will be 15 Days of i-ACT. We will have to wait for a plane to bring us back down, on our way to the capital and then back home, so we want to go back to the visit the camp up there and give you an opportunity to meet more of the people of Darfur.
Please tell everyone you know to check us out through the 15 days, and tell them to stay involved. Let’s start 2007 with meaningful and sustained action. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to look back, at the end of 2007, and think, in this year I helped to stop a genocide.
Gabriel’s replies to comments
Hello Phyllis! It is 2007 now. Happy New Year to you, your family, and all of your students. That’s where there is a lot of hope, Phyllis, in those young people that you get to work with every day. I know that, when they come to positions of more power (because they already have so much power right now), they will not allow atrocities like the ones occurring in Darfur to go unanswered.
Hey Rach! I’m sorry that you had trouble posting, but I know that you and family are always with us. Please say hi to all, and tell Max that I’m thinking of him.
Hello Stacey’s Mom! Yes, I was blown away when Nourasham’s neighbor came over to me and said, “You are Zahara’s husband!” My wife and I both have names that are very common among the people we have been meeting. Gabriel, or Gibril (as they pronounce it), is a name that is in many families, and there are many Zaharas also.
Hola Mimi! It was so cool to find Nourasham, but, yes, very sad to hear that her husband had been killed. Nourasham’s family and home are very much like families and homes in our community. The home is just bursting with tenderness and love. You would love to hang out with the kids. Hadia and the new baby girls are adorable. Gracias por escribir, Mimi. Te extrano pero ya pronto voy!
Hola Mom: Gracias por pasar tanto rato con Zahara y familia y por mandarme recados. He podido comer un poquito mas estos ultimos dos dias, asi que me voy a recuperar un poco, en cuanto a la dieta. Muchos saludos a todos y un abrazo. Pronto nos vemos.
Hello Patty W: Thank you for being with us, and I will pass on to all we meet that there are many out there thinking of them and doing what they can to create peace. Happy New Year, and I know I’ll see you soon back in one of our mutual stops.
Hey Christina R: Thank you, and Happy New Year to you! I do miss my family, especially at a time that I’m used to being with all of them. It’s been nice to have so many of you with me, though, so my family is growing :) Thanks, and I’ll see you soon!
Dear Meron: You are right. None of it is OK. Men and boys being killed, women and girls being raped, entire families being displaced and starved, none of it is OK.
Hi Connie: Nourasham definitely has the courage and will to keep going, after her husband being killed. Her children look healthy, and they are very much loved. They also look happy, but I cannot tell what’s inside of them. Their father was a trader by profession, so they might think that their papa is out on business and will return, as usual. Thinking of my almost 4 years old Gabo, I don’t think that children that young can understand the “never” part of “never coming back.” Nourasham, who does not have any other family in that camp, is the one that does see the void, and she must still stay strong for her four little ones.
Hey Tere: Happy New Year! Thanks for spreading the word. It can be discouraging that more don’t take a few minutes to pay attention to something where so many lives are at stake, but we can’t give up. We have to keep trying, and some will join us. It’s not easy to get people “in the door” on a subject as unpleasant as genocide is. That is why, in part, I also have always focused on the beauty of the people and culture that will be lost, if we all decide to stand by. And, there is so much beauty!
Hi Mimi Schiff: We have to remind “the powers that be in America” that we give them that power, and that they must use it appropriately, or we will take it away. I know it might be a bit naive, but if enough of us decide to set priorities that include humanity at the top, we can change the powers to be.
Dear Lisa: Thank you so much for lighting candles for us and everyone out here at your mass celebrating World Day of Prayer for Peace. I have told Nourasham that many “out there” now know her and her children and are doing so much to help them get back to a life that is full. Let’s make 2007 the year in that Darfur shines in all of its colors.
Hi Marilyn: About next steps upon my return, it has to be about increased action around the country. Our actions must match the situation on the ground for the millions that are in grave danger. We must demand action from our leaders, and we cannot accept political babel as a response. They’ll all say how much they care and they have done, but it is not enough. A group of us, at the grassroots level, have been involved in pushing I Stand With Darfur (http://www.istandwithdarfur.org), a campaign of direct action. I hope that people around the country take this on as their own, as we tell our leaders, No More Business as Usual, as another genocide takes place. There are so many things we can do, and I look forward to hearing ideas . We need to create awareness, but it has to be awareness that leads to immediate action.
Hello Markus: Thank you for your kind words and wishes, and I wish you a great 2007.
Hello Anonymous from Senegal: Thank you for your insight and perspective. I do feel a bit like a fish out of water, but then I also feel completely at home. I completely agree that I will not understand but a small fraction of what I’m encountering, but I hope that we keep taking steps in the right direction, getting closer. From the people we are meeting, there has not been one that has expressed a wish to wait for the AU to find the solution. We should support the AU in getting stronger and more efficient, but we cannot sacrifice the people of Darfur for the process of building a force that may eventually be able to protect. The world has to take on the responsibility to protect. About the people we have met: Dignity-yes; acceptance-no. Not one person is willing to accept death, rape, displacement, and starvation as their lot in life. They are a strong, vibrant people, that want to return to their homes.
Hey Connie: I agree. No matter where you live, you demand from your representatives that they act. This is a crisis that is going on 4 years! How much longer do we wait? It should not be the United States alone; it should be the world! The survivors only know what they have seen: the AU has not been able to do it so far, and they do not accept the fact that the perpetrator is in-beded with the supposed protection force.
Hi Rachel: As you say, the politics of it is complex, but it is innocent civilians that are paying the price. If we put ourselves in their shoes, it is clear that we would be calling for help from anywhere to save our children.
Hi Mimi Schiff: Thank you for sharing the history of the Hamburg. We now have millions of people that are being, in a way, sent back in their own “Hamburg.” We know that it is happening. We have known it for a very long time.
Dear Lisa: I also hope that the President would be watching our videos and seeing the real people that are living through this present day genocide.
Hello Tynia! Thank you for your note. The HRWSTF has been very present, coming along with us on this trip. Please get more people involved and ask them to do the daily actions!
26 replies on “Day 13 from Gabriel”
Hi Gabe and Stacey,
Beautiful people in deed!
Stacey, there is no miscommunication in the pictures we see and the compassion and courage you portray. Thank you for sharing your words and experiences.
Safe journey to the North. Looking forward to days 14 and 15.
Dear Stacey and Gabriel,
Today’s video caused me to smile so much — the children are so restorative for the soul! May Nourasham and her beautiful family be healthy and home in 2007.
I have the feeling I know where you are going in the next two days and I am holding my breath. I agree with Stacey’s mom, we trust your intuition and instincts will guide you safely. It will be a challenge to wait 24 hours for your next posting!
With great anticipation and loving support, Pam
PS–lots of emails going out to STF and family and friends to urge visiting i-ACT and to post comments. I am receiving some replies about problems posting. Please know you have a silent audience out here, no less engaged than those of us who write often!
Beautiful footage… Nourasham’s welcoming to you in her ‘house’ is very typical to the Darfurian hospitable culture… You can easily sens the genuine feeling of happiness to see guests coming to her cot… I salute both of you on this video that brings the true face of the people of Darfur…
It is so great that you and Stacey found Nourasham and her family. They sure are beautiful people. I hope everything goes well in the next two days of i-ACT. I also hope that in 2007 this will at least get a tiny bit better.I’m always thinking of you and all the people you have met so far.
Que pasa? I heard you speak a little bit of Spanish to your little friend. Thank you for being such a good example to the world. Love you…
You’re the best
I am grateful that you once again met Nourasham and her family. Your joy was heard in your voice and seen in the smile on your face. The videos have given me more of a reason to work to end the genocide in Darfur. When I went to stay in Camp Darfur for five days people asked me if I really thought that it was going to make a difference. They ask me that still in regard to your trip. I know that they are not inhumane, they just feel helpless. I told them all that I am one voice finding other voices and together we can be heard.
Thank you for the opportunity to be heard. You are both an inspiration and a role model.
Hola Gabe y Stacey,
Me dio mucho gusto ver este video dia 13. Que bien se ven los ninos y el bebe tan hermoso. Que pena que el bebe ya no va a conocer a su papa. Recuerdo cuando estuviste en el viaje anterior y nos presentaste con la familia atravez de la foto que llevabas contigo. Que monton de sentimentos encontrados senti….y solo los conocido atravez de tus videos y siento que ya fueron parte de nosotros. Gracias mi chavo, Stacey por lo que estan hciendo.
Happy New Year,
Hopefully 2007 can bring change to the events happening in Darfur and end the violence
Hey, Gabe and Stacey!!
wow!!! you guys are really doing a GREAT and heroic job!!
HAPPY LATE NEW YEAR!!!wish u all the best and hope it can bring change to Darfur!
travel safe back!!
How terrific you found Nourasham and got in a wonderful visit with her and her family! What beautiful smiles, but it’s sad knowing what terrible pain lies behind them. It is in following personal stories like Nourasham’s that we can see the horrible outcome of our insufficient actions. Her family is forever changed by her husband’s death. How much more will change before you might film her family again in another year? We all pray that change will be for the better, and the next meeting will find these Darfuris safely returned to their homeland.
Today we faxed a letter to the Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, as well as our state legislators, and a 2007 petition to President Bush and UN Secretary Annan. We contacted numerous friends and relatives, too, urging continued support efforts and awareness. My kids are sending paper dolls to an Illinois school which is sending donations and 400,000 dolls to Sen. Obama, representing the 400,000+ lives lost. It is not enough to shake the leaves at the top of the tree, every root must be tapped for their support as well.
You and Stacey are incredibly brave to push farther along on your journey. We hold you all close in prayer and wish you well in capturing your closing stories for this 15-day project. Your 15 days are making a difference for so many lives.
Safe journey and peace,
Lisa Goldner and family
Dear Gabriel and Stace,
I was so happy to see that you found Nourasham. Her family is so beautiful. I feel a deep sadness for the loss of her husband. I know that Nourasham will tell her children great stories about their father and hopefully they will have the opportunity to be passed on from generation to generation.
Please be careful.
P.S.: Max sends his love he wishes he was there…
Gabriel and Stacey,
Oh, I forgot to tell you…When I picked up the paper this morning you were on the first page… I’m so happy that these stories are being shared with others…
thanks for showing to the people what its like in parts of Africa. It helps people have different views of life and to appreciate the things they have, and it helps people become aware of the situation in the refugee camps. i hope you and stacey stay safe and return safely also. have a good time with the people in Africa and hope you return safely. albert
the videos have been great
very well put together
i feel like they can really get through to people like how it has done to me
i am looking forward to your safe return and the many stories that i am sure u will tell of the beautiful people of darfur
Dear Gabe and Stacey:
The children were wonderful! I found myself grinning almost throughout the video. I am happy you are both there bringing smiles and hope to all, with great compassion. Your acts are speaking out louder than words!
Thank you Stacey, well said, with regards to communication and connection. Good advice.
Gabriel and Stacey, I’m in a mad dash to get to work–will return to watch the video, but I’ve just read your journal entries. THANK YOU for staying one more day to go to that camp. Please be safe in your travels.
Hey gabriel happy new year i know its kinda late but better late than never i guess. its fun to see all the reactions of the children coming over to your tent just to see themselves in the cameras. these are great images to show people if a picture is worth a thousand words then a video must be worth much more. well i just want to wish you good luck and please tell them that i wish them the best.
Hey Gabe and Stace,Feeling a little guilty while I write to you I am on vacations in Playa del Carmen) finding the family and being welcomed that way shows that person to person conection that is your accomplished objective! Amor y paz,Connie
Finally had a chance to watch the day 13 video. Gabriel, it was so good to hear you LAUGH. Laughter is such a good release, and I can only imagine that there probably haven’t been a lot of moments of that kind of release for you and Stacey the past couple of weeks. What a beautiful family…and all of those extraordinary children. It was both delightful…and heartbreaking.
It was really sad to hear how Nourasham lost her husband. Keep up the good work
Peace and love
Dear Gabriel and Stacey,
It is great that you found Nourasham. I feel really bad that her husband died. The children in this segment were so sweet and welcoming. I hope that Nourasham will return home safely and will remain healthy.
How can you get more people involved in what you’re doing help the people in Darfur?
The events that you have been through on this trip seem to have been so sad and emotional. I respect you for your ability to continue with this trip despite all the sadness you have encountered. Be safe.
hey gabe i just wanted to show some of my sopport because you and stacey go out there to help people out and in this video it seems that u guys also have it hard out there because u guys where having car problems but you guys worked together and were able to finish the job you and stacey are doing something good for the people in Darfur
This truly is a tragic yet beautiful story. To see families that has been broken by violence and yet still continue to survive. A truely amazing feat. And yes, they are beautiful children with beautiful smiles. Makes me want to smile too.
Thanks for the great work.
I am glad that u finally found the person u were searching for. I feel very sad thought for her husband and how he died trying to protect his sister in law. Violence like this should be stopped. I hope everyone will try to do something about this and help the people in Darfur have a better life.