Connie’s Journal

Can we relate in any way with all of our refugee friends?

Our refugee friends

Last night was a little tough for me. I hate to whine especially after everything I’ve seen but I’m going to anyway. Yesterday we worked non-stop, everything was fine until we had to turn on the light. Hundreds of bugs came in from the spaces between the walls of our hut and the grass ceiling it also has a plastic green covering that reminds who our host is because it has the UNHCR logo written all over, this prevents the water from coming in. I am not a BUG person so these guys were uuuuuugly! I felt bad because Gabe and Yuen Lin did not complain at all, as if they were sitting in an office in an elegant high-rise building in downtown L.A. It was hard for me to concentrate with these African insects jumping on my neck, dancing in my hair, popping in my mouth; well, you get the idea. So I don’t know how the translation turned out, hope our Spanish-speaking viewers understand.

I started out the day with hardly any sleep, (thanks to you know what). Gabe and I worked until mid-morning; Yuen Lin worked the latest so we let him sleep-in until 10ish.Then we were off to another camp. Again the same check-in with all the different authorities that you are sure are not going to let you come in but then suddenly say O.K.

Again we were swarmed by children, especially ages 3 to about 12. By coincidence we got out of the car and Gabe immediately recognized some of the women, and they Gabe. They were all happy to see each other. We had interesting conversations, that you will hear and view. The conditions were just about the same as I described for the first camp, deplorable! We talked to the women and learned that there is not much for them to do all day and most of these refugees have been here for 4 years! Can you imagine what that does to your psyche? The boredom that sets in has to be debilitating. There is not much to cook, not much to wash, some of them only have the old rags that they are wearing, so mostly they sit around and talk with family and neighbors. Every day, that is it!

Connie with a baby

Almost all of the children go to school in the mornings. In the afternoons they hang around in groups and play between the corridors of their tents. Many little kids are taking care of little kids. They teach them very young to care for each other and it seems to me that they enjoy very much that task.

These people love to smile! I do not know how they can keep it up. I think about any of us in this same situation and am sure we could not keep our spirits up for so long and with no hope of returning to our homes in the near future we would all be desperate. They are strong, but as one of the young women said;” I WANT TO GO HOME!” This I can relate to. Imagine loosing your home and not only that, but also many family members, and a refugee for so long. I would want to go home also. I can relate to the love for family that is obvious here at the camps.

Maybe we don’t speak the same languages and in every aspect, live very differently, but we can all relate to the basic human rights, to have a dignified standard of living, to go about without fearing for your life. To be productive and live where we want with the people we love.

Can you relate to that?
Amor y Paz,Connie

Connie with the women from day 4

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Category: Day 4: July 13, 2007 · Tags: , , ,

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7 Responses to “Connie’s Journal”
  1. MaryAnn says:

    I can definately relate to that. As human beings we all have a right to have a place to call home, and to be with people we love. The only reason I can see on everyone having such a positive outlook on things is this, if you start to think negative, nothing good will happen. You will be depressed and give up. These are a strong people with the will to survive, hoping that each day will be the day they can finally live in peace. If only we can make today be that day.
    Peace

  2. Pam B says:

    Hello Connie,
    You write so descriptively and honestly, you make it easy to imagine your circumstances and that of your new friends.
    Thank you for making this trip!!!!
    Pam B.

  3. Mimi Stauring says:

    Hi Connie,
    I loved video #4!It must of been great to see all those beautiful people but also painful at the same time.Great job on everything!
    Mimi

  4. Valeria says:

    Hi Connie,
    I feal bad for you.I would be so scared if I had to be with all those bugs.Are the bugs bigger in Africa?
    Good job with the videos
    Valeria

  5. Rachel says:

    Hello i-ACT Team!

    I stop and wonder what survivors of past genocides must think. They always had the hope that if someone knew, if only the world knew, it would have been stopped immediately. Our international leaders know about Darfur and it’s not being stopped… President Bush has called it a “genocide” and still nothing is done to stop the pain and sufferring of the Darfurian people. What else must we do…?

    People keep on asking what can we do to help these people return home. I think that we must keep on pushing forward and not give up to a silent world. We have to be LOUDER!

    Peace, love, and happiness

    Rachel

  6. stacey says:

    Connie,

    You are indeed brave to face the onslaught of so many bugs after full and difficult days in the camps. A few termites eating my book during the night on i-act 2 was enough for me!

    The work you are doing and lives you are touching are truly an example to allof us. You inspire us back home to keep working and the people of Darfur to keep believing. The children are beautiful and painful to witness, yes, but you have touched their lives forever by your presence, dedication and leadership.

    Salaam,
    Stace

  7. Lisa Goldner says:

    Hi, Connie!

    There is so much uncertainty in the lives of these refugees: concern for the status of loved ones left behind, health of family and friends around them, whether its safe to prepare for the next meal, and how much longer they will be refugees. It is hard to witness them facing endless hours which need to be filled with some sense of normalcy, basic safety, productivity, worship, education, recreation — human rights which have been stripped by this genocide. Your presence does add a much-needed dose of compassion and hope which they need to help fortify them for their continuing days as refugees. You remind all of us we cannot rest until our actions see the changes needed to bring them peace.

    You are a real trooper to maintain such composure and heavy workload while battling the bugs! I’m sure even Gabriel must find them more intrusive with all the rains which weren’t part of the past trips. In a previous journal entry, you did a good job making us readers at home feel every bump of your drive to the camp, but your detailed bug report even had me feeling the pesky pests. Hope you can rest a bit better in the coming nights.

    Peace,

    Lisa

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