Well, we have reached the end of one road and found ourselves at the all important beginning of another. As we headed to board the plane that would take us back to Abeche we received the sad new of another attack on a camp in Guerreda. Two refugees were killed. We had tried so hard to get to that camp on the day where the bloodshed happened. I felt a strange mix of gratitude that we were not there and deep sorrow for the same reason, perhaps we could have been of help in some way. I keep seeing the faces of all those we’ve met and wondering how terrified those near the attack must have felt with the fighting so close again. The details are as yet unclear but in truth, they really do not matter. The only thing that seems to matter is that two people who survived a genocide died an unnecessary death yesterday. The military presence at the Abeche airport was enormous and I had such a sense of the life one must lead here at this time.
We saw Yusef again in Abeche, I was so happy to see him.It is somehow extremely comforting to know how quickly we can become attached to those we hardly knew a few weeks ago. Ali spoke of his fears about going back to the camps with the recent attacks and all of the uncertainty. I remembered that this man, who is so good with the refugee children, is hardly grown himself at 24. He talked about his commitment to making his country more secure and prosperous. I was inspired by his views on committing to a goal in life for the betterment of your country not just the ” ambiance of life” as he called it. I felt overwhelmed by the sadness of leaving him here awaiting the next attack, unsure of where they will strike and only wanting to study and provide for his family. These team members were an enormous part of our work for which I am forever grateful and I will miss them dearly.
Every person we have met and talked to has been a blessing that came about in a completely unplanned way. Every day was a miracle to me, as we continued to be safely and divinely led to the very people who needed to connect and tell their story that day. We’d walk into a camp and just let the day take us where it needed most to go. That is part of the luxury and freedom that comes with ” citizen reporting”, no middle people. We experienced those on their first week in a camp and those on their fourth year. Those who lived in the very first village attacked and those born in these camps who knew no other life. We’ve carried messages from Texas, Germany and Philadelphia, to mention a few, to UNHCR tents in the middle of Chad. We’ve carried messages from those who have traveled countless desert miles and survived years of untold suffering right back to Redding, CA, Mexico and Scotland. We’ve had the rare privilege to be a small part of connecting regular people, who care more about each other than politics, to other regular people. We’ve travelled this road, accompanied, on both sides of the world, by the very people I aspire to surround myself with and emulate. Those of you who posted comments and did not receive a response please know that we somehow did not receive it yet but felt your presence regardless. My gratitude and hope in this particular moment are immeasurable.
In truth, there were moments that I wished we were coming here at a safer time. There were moments when I felt incapacitated by my fear….of flying, of dying, of war.Many moments before we left were a struggle to confront my cowardice and utilize the faith of those who held fast when my own wavered. Somehow, a war torn country so far away felt imminently more frightening then the work I’d done on the war torn streets of Philadelphia! Just another lesson for me that it’s all the same where ever you are. Today, I can say that every moment of worry was worth it because I faced and conquered those fears. I learned that fear is just courage that has forgotten to be inspired by the hope of a better world. Now, I must face the fear that this will not be enough to stop this genocide. Once again, I turn to the faith and solidarity of the countless people dedicated to ensuring the safety of the Darfurian people. I have learned much from the brave souls of Darfur and from each of you. May our journey be swift, destination be home and world be one.
The real work begins………
In solidarity and Salaam, Stacey
” Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” – M. Kuhn
Stacey’s replies to comments
Alexi S., Thanks for watching and I, too, hope we can get through to many people! Peace, Stace
Hi Gina, I look forward to meeting you! I appreciate your comments on communication and am so glad that you saw the resilient joy living on inside of the children. May they go home soon. Peace, Stace
Marilyn, Things were very crazy here with security so day 15 turned into 14 and day 16 was Day 15. very confusing but the days do not matter as much as the experiences brought out of the camps. I hope you find both days helpful and inspiring! Thank you for all you’ve done and for all of the support. You are a hero to the Darfurian people! Peace Always, stace
Hi, Anonymous, we’ve been spreading the well wishes every where we go and the people here are grateful for the love and support! Peace, Stacey
Hey Connie, no guilt! You’ve been so active and involved all along, you deserve the rest. The welcome and reunion were so beautiful. Your brother obviously made quite the impression last time! That, however is no surprise. Amor y Paz, Stace
Rachel, You are so very right. NO mother or father should EVER experience the feeling of not knowing what will happen to their child or any avoidable suffering. Life is hard enough growing up without additional worry inflicted by outside forces. I keep ALL mothers and fathers and children experiencing these circumstances in my prayers. The children’s music did bring light and hope to us all and not only is the walk too far but the red tape and already over cramped situation in the other camps makes a move difficult. We are talking about many camps up north with THOUSANDS of people. Thanks for everything and BIG HUG, stace
Thanks for writing and although I am not one for guns, ever, it was nice that they were concerned with our safety. Much Peace, Stacey
Hi Zahara, Noemi, Gabriel and Irais! Well, we completed our mission! Day 14 was hard seeing the conditions in the the cold and the difficult stories but once again the children lifted everyone’s spirits. Now the real work back home begins!!!! PAZ, stace
Mama, not clear with all the confusion but trusting i’ll get home when I’m supposed to. Thanks for trying so hard, being a rock and I love you! Charlie
Rene!!!!! Finally, one of your comments showed up, So happy! Not sure about the traveling yet. We can change Gabriel’s ticket but mine is causing some problems. Say some prayers. Your love and support have been an immeasurable help along the way, Rene. I look so forward to sharing all of the stories with you, and RESTING a day or two before round two with the work for Gift of Peace Tour begins. Soon…. I Love You so very much. Mucho Amor Y Paz, Stacey
Hi Tony G., Yes, there are several people/organizations providing the solar cookers. They’ve been helpful but some problems occur because it is very different than their customary way of cooking and much of the wood gathering is also for building fences, roofs, little cooking areas. Hopefully, they catch on more rapidly and will lessen at least some of the outings for wood. Thanks! Stace
Hi Phyllis H! Yes, our families and loved ones made brave sacrifices to support our journey here. It is sometimes easier when you are the one going, so I admire their courage too!
I guess it is all relative, our experience of life that is. Hopefully this trip will help us all appreciate what we have and work harder to create a world that works for everyone. Let us now gather even more strength to recommit to stopping this genocide! You’ve been a true supporter and fellow journeywoman! Peace, Stace
Marv, It’s great to hear the word and movement is continuing to spread! Keep up your amazing work in Redding, CA. What an inspiration your town is to all of us. Keep walking/standing with Darfur, they do feel your solidarity here! Peace, Stacey
Lisa Goldner and Family, a reporter asked me last night if I thought our work was doing any good. I told him about you and your family and all of your eloquent posts and committed actions. You are why we do this and YOU have made a difference to our journey and the Darfurian people. The Franciscan Benediction brought me to tears, because that is the life I aspire to live. Thank you for your continued efforts on behalf of the people here and it looks like we may have opportunities to do some foreign sites for i-Act. I will carry the Eli Wiesel prayer with me as I do the photo of the Cambodian man. Salaam and Many Blessings……stace
Yes, Meron, Gabriel is a hero! Blessings, Stacey
Consuelo, May this time we mean,”Never Again” and may we stop this pain now! Much love to you, Stace
Hi, Markus C., Yes! A german site would do a world of good. The pictures from the school children would also be wonderful! German DVD with german commentary for schools and other places would be a huge blessing and aid in spreading the word into the EU. So many wonderful ideas! I have to head back out on the road across country almost as soon as I return for The Department of Peace & Nonviolence project so pleas contact any of our team members at the email Carolyn left you so we can move forward asap.! So Much Gratitude and Light to you, Stace