Air France flight, LA to Paris, 10:52pm (SPT)
I switched malaria pills. On my first two trips to Chad, to the refugee camps on the border with Darfur, I’ve taken the one-a-week pill. They worked well for me during the trips, with little effects on my mind or body, but they kept my head in the air for weeks after getting off the plane back home in Los Angeles. I was going to stay with the one-a-week, since it seemed such a pain to take a one-a-day all during the trip and a week after returning. So, I took my first one a week ago. It has not been a pretty week for me. With so much to do in preparation for this trip, my mind could not focus, and I felt dizzy in flashes that came with no warning. I knew it was really bad when, going for my last turkey burger at Fat Burger before the trip, I could not do my consistently amazing job of ordering for all of the family, with all the substitutions, additions, and changes that come with it. I stumbled and mumbled and had to work my way through ordering, as if it was my first time. I immediately called my doctor for a new prescription for the one-a-day pills, which is supposed to have none of the mind-bending side effects of the other one.
We’re going back. It is my third trip to the Chad-Darfur border, and it is Yuen Lin’s and Connie’s first. For the team that stays back home and does all the hard work of keeping us, the team-on-the-ground, connected and visible, it is also a third i-ACT (Interactive-Activism). They don’t get on the plane, but they for sure are with us. (More about the i-ACT3 team, here and back home, coming soon.)
I go back with so many mixed feelings. Sitting here on the plane, I feel determined and committed to doing all that I can to help the people we’re going to see at the refugee camps. We must put a face on the numbers. We must not forget that those millions of people that are barely hanging on to life, and all of those that have died already, are individuals just like us. Some have been sitting in the camps for four years; others have just arrived—the victims of recent violence. We must stay committed.
I also feel a deep sense of sadness. Although there is a growing movement in the US, and around the world also, we have not found the formula for solving the problem of genocide and other mass atrocities. The world fails to respond appropriately. I go back to see friends at the camps, and they will still be there, going through hardships and suffering. I get to jump back on a plane to go back home relatively soon.
Please join us for the next two weeks. Let’s build community with the people of Darfur and find a solution together. We must lead our leaders. I will be looking forward to your comments and questions. I’ll keep you posted on what we’re seeing and hearing, and you’ll soon get to interact with our friends from Darfur.