Connie’s Journal

Today we started very early we wanted to walk to school with the kids, so we were there by 7:30.As always we were greeted like royalty. Alhafis, he was waiting, to show me a little car he had made out of some plastic bottle and you remember the little girl who showed me her homework? Her name is Guitsma, I gave her and some of the other girls and women some simple bracelets my sister in law Gina and my nieces and nephews made. They were a hit!

Boys in the school assemblyAs we started our walk, more and more children were joining our group as we passed each of the corridors, soon it was hundreds walking together; I was overwhelmed that all these hundreds of children went about in a very normal way, laughing, playing, it was like seeing any of our kids walk to school with their buddies, and yet in such an awful setting.

We made our way to the head master’s building. They have constructed the only large structures that I have seen here, out of mud bricks, that they make .The usual introductions and we were given permission to film and he also gave us some numbers; there are 1670 children in this school (there are two other schools at the camp) and 18 teachers, they teach up to the 5th grade, and have 18 classrooms.

Girls walking up to sing in front of the assemblyIt was 8:00 and they all formed for their assembly, then for about half an hour, they sang to God and the love for their country Sudan. The older girls sang, the boys recited and finally everyone off to their classrooms. While they waited for their teachers some of the older boys came to talk. I was surprised to hear them speak English, first they asked your common questions but then they asked me if I knew when they could return to Sudan? And, if we could do anything to help them back? Guy’s you tell me… How do I answer that question? I told them we had no political power but that many people in America and all over the world were concerned and that we were their to tell them this and to return with their message. My heart just sank to see their resigned faces. Gabe and Yuen Lin talked with these boys and you will see them on tape.

The stories are never ending and every one of them a person just wanting some humanity.
They open up to us with their hearts in their hand and what is really incredible after so much suffering, death, hunger unbelievable sub-human living conditions they wake up every morning and try to make the best of it.

By the way we also taped a spot and put it on- you tube- CNN is sponsoring: Ask the candidates; watch it. (This was taped right outside the school with the small kiddies.)

The kids take a break about 10:30 to go back home and have breakfast which is usually just tea.

Darsalam and baby SaifaWe also went to visit Darsalam and her family to play her a message sent from Stacey. They really made a strong connection with her.

Last night somebody told us the rivers were rising (oh no!), so we tried to see if we could accommodate everything so that we could return to Abeche today and get on a flight to northeastern Chad; it didn’t come through for us, so we will try again tomorrow. As far as the bugs, you know when they say, don’t let the bed bugs bite, they probably made it up here, they subsided just a little because it has rained the last two nights, but today it has not rained, and we were under attack! I was starting to wish for rain but then I remembered: The Rising Rivers!!!!!!!! I’ll keep you up to date.

Amor y Paz, Connie.

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9 Responses to “Connie’s Journal”
  1. Karine says:

    Thank you for all that you are doing, for making it possible to hear their stories. These interviews were very powerful–and the children are so beautiful. Connie, I clipped out a part of your journal from yesterday and shared it with all of my friends. They were very moved. Give all those little ones a hug from me.

  2. Gayle Rogers (Australia) says:

    Day 6 is sensational – the footage is getting more powerful and inspiring by the day.

    And what a treat to meet the future President of Sudan ………. a kid with BIG dreams and more reason than most to make them happen.

    Great work, guys.

    hugs,

    Gayle xxx

  3. Gayle Rogers (Australia) says:

    PS:

    Connie …. pass the last message onto Gabe, would you?? (It’s to you and Yuen-Lin as well of course)

    It’s now 01:20am in Melbourne and I’ve got to get up at 05:30am …. won’t be waiting around for him to post a journal message today!!!

    Thanks and stay well, safe and strong – you are wonderful.

    hugs,

    Gayle xxx

  4. Waltraud Jost says:

    Hi Connie, Gab and Yuen-Lin,
    Connie I have been watching every day the activities you are doing.
    I have been sending the side to my friends here in Germany.
    Also I have been talking to them telling them what you Gab and Yuen-Lin are doing.
    I will spread the word.
    Hope everything your heart is set on you can accomplish.
    Always thinking about you guys what are you doing right at these minutes.
    I wish I could be there with you…
    Please be carefull, be save ……
    Hopefully everyone out there will have a better live soon.
    Love
    Waltraud

  5. teresa says:

    Thanks again for such inspiring work! I keep thinking, if just the whole world could follow this i-ACT mission the world would ACT. I sent some emails to media sources hoping somebody will pick this up and show it to their hundreds, thousands or millions of viewers but that, of course, is a big struggle on this end. But I know that even getting one more person involved can make a difference so I will continue my commitment to spread the word.

    The school assembly looked so formal, is that the way they normally gather before school or was that a presentation for you guys? I’m amazed as to how the young Darfurians stay focused on trying to make something of themselves and how they all know what an important factor education is. I remember from Gabe’s first i-ACT journey to the camps we would hear the same thing about kids wanting to be teachers and doctors and I think we had another presidential candidate of Darfur back then. When interviewing parents they also all mentioned the longing for more education for their kids. Imagine the potential of these kids to develop a great and powerful DARFUR if only they are given the opportunity.

  6. Mimi Stauring says:

    Hi Connie,
    hows it going?I loved video#6!Its also amazing how many kids they have in only one school.I mean my school had around 600 kids and we had 24 classrooms.Well keep up with the good work.
    mimi

  7. Meron says:

    What beautiful colours, faces and voices!!! I love the way Gabriel melts and gets all mushy when he sees a baby :).

    A wish would be that more of our youth could see Day #6 and maybe get some understanding how fortunate and privileged they are to have such easy access to an education and career choices. It saddens me that at almost every school here there is at least one person who’s job is to follow up on and disciple kids that are late to school and skip classes entirely.

    Be well and safe,

    Meron

  8. gina says:

    Hi Connie:

    Good to know the gifts were not one of the items that was left behind to lessen the load and are being distributed and bringing smiles for the moment, as it is one of many expressions of love and understanding from back home. I just wish there was enough for all!
    As I view the videos and recall from the previous years’ i-Act videos, the camp conditions and the appearance of the Darfurian refugees and the icredible way they carry themselves, really gives the viewer a false sense of reality, given their experiences. One may perceive that conditions are not as bad as imagined; they seem to be okay and surviving. The fact is they are amazingly resilient people and are resourceful, however, each day of inaction, means even harsher or extremely dangerous conditions for tommorrow. As more time passes, there will be less negotiations, security , lesss humanitarian aid and thus, no chance to bounce back! Continue on with your remarkable work!
    Please take care and be safe!
    love, g and b

  9. Lisa Goldner says:

    Hi! We’ve all got to admire how much repect these students have for learning and their goals of getting a good education. It is so humbling to see their eager faces as they sit on the floors of extremely overcrowded classrooms, doing their best to learn whatever lessons can be provided with such limited resources. Although water, food, shelter, health, and security are all so limited , they still place high importance on eduction, too. Were you able to interview any of the teachers? I’m sure you will all be exchanging many more “lessons” as your journey through the camps continues. Be safe.

    Prayers and peace,

    Lisa

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