In the Air

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.

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.

Comments

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Comments

12 Responses to “In the Air”
  1. maryann says:

    Every day more and more people are getting involved with letting their voice be heard about ending the genocide in Darfur as well as preventing it from happening again elsewhere. We all need to keep faith strong. United as one we can end it.
    Peace

  2. Christy Medina says:

    Hi guys!
    It’s your cousin, Christy. Just wanted to let you know that I’m going to be following your trip and sharing it with everyone I work with here at the Tribune. Be safe and I love you!

    Christy

  3. Mimi Stauring says:

    Hi Papi,Connie,and Yuen Lin,
    Its great to know that you guys are in Africa doing such great things. I think its great that normal people with normal lives are getting involve in this.I also want to do the most I can here in California because I dont think that this genocide should go on any longer. Just remember that I love you guys and hope everything goes well while your there.
    Love,
    Mimi

  4. connie says:

    Hi Christy!
    We are very happy your are taking this journey with us and even more that you are sharing it with others,that is exactly the perfect start to activism.We will keep safe and we love you too.Amor y paz,Connie.

    Hi Mimi,
    You’re very right,you can do so much in California.First by telling your friends about the crisis in Darfur and having them tell their families and friends.Hopefully when you grow up genocide will only be mentioned in history books.Amor y Paz,Connie.

  5. Gayle Rogers (Australia) says:

    Hey Gabriel (and Connie and Yuen Lin :)

    I closed my eyes and tried to imagine how you must have felt on the plane – with this being #3 for i-ACT……. and then gave thanks for a spirit that can’t be stopped.

    More people will see i-ACT 3 than any in the past – the anger and intolerance for this continuing situation is swelling.

    You guys are not on your own.

    Take good care of yourselves,

    Gayle xxx

  6. Gabriel says:

    Hello Maryann:

    Thank you for your comments. I agree with you, more and more people are getting involved. We need even more. I’ve been going around the US, and, if people allow themselves to hear what is happening, they want to get involved. It will take many of us normal people to get many others involved and then have our leaders do what they are supposed to do, find solutions to difficult problems.

    Christy!
    So cool to hear from you. Thank you for the company, and please let us know what you think about what you see in the videos or any thoughts on how we can do more, do better. Say hi to all the family!

    Hey Mimi!
    How’s Gabo? I miss both of you a lot, but I know you understand why we’re out here. I also know that I would not be this involved if I was not a father. You connect me to all the children, no matter where, in a very special way. I hope to be showing you images of beautiful children from Darfur very soon. Un beso mi Mimi hermosa.
    Tu Papi.

    My Australian sister, Gayle!

    I always know that you are with us, and I appreciate so much your spirit and support. Big hug to you!

    Paz,
    Gabriel

  7. Gayle Rogers (Australia) says:

    Oh THANK YOU, Gabe – and loads of love and hugs back to you all.

    The word is being spread BIG TIME.

    Geneva baby, Geneva :)

  8. Sylvia Jauregui says:

    Hi Gabriel! I had the pleasure of meeting you when you brought Camp Darfur to Duarte, CA. My prayers are with you and the rest of the team. Our God is a God of justice!

    Press on,

    Sylvia

  9. tsai yi says:

    Gabriel, YL and Connie:

    So, so, so glad you’ve all arrived safely.

    It’s beyond our modern day experience to grasp the *sheer possibility* of unending violence. The rhythm of our lives – the pace of the media/entertainment – only embraces instantaneous change. We measure everything – length of a song, film, holiday, cooking a meal – with a frame of quick results. Genocide is outside that frame – it’s too big. REAL change is also too big so it takes people like you to bring it back down to terms we can relate to.

    Dare I say – we can forget the numbers. If it happens to ‘only’ one person, we must act.

    i-ACT is the will to change without settling for less. This time carried by you three brave souls. Thank you!

    tsai yi

  10. Mimi Schiff says:

    Dear Gabriel, Connie and Yuen Lin,
    Once again I follow you on a journey that unfortunately has been taken before. You are all in my prayers and hearts as you begin once again to show the reality and faces of Darfur. Let us pray that Act III is the final journey and peace comes to Darfur. “My heart follows, lead on”.

  11. Connie says:

    Hi Sivlia,
    Hope to meet you soon. Gabe was so impressed with Duarte High School.I heard a lot of great things about teachers and students. Keep up the good work! And thank’s for coming with us on our trip. Amor y Paz, Connie

  12. Chrisitne says:

    I had to take malaria pills for a mission trip and experienced the same symptoms/experiences. I love how I could relate to that when I read your entry, among other things.

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