After months of preparation and me doing the best packing job of my life we finally landed in Chad after 24 hours in transit. Traveling from LA to Paris to Chad has been a fascinating and wild ride. I didn’t sleep for the first 19 hours because I was so full of anticipation and excitement and having so many interesting conversations with people from all over the world their perspective on the situation and about our adventure. Everyone was very supportive and enrolled and always issuing the ever present reminder to be careful of the pitfalls that can happen in the wild, wild, east of Chad.
While the all perspectives were quite varied. I had three conversations with people who have either lived in Chad or spent significant time here working in Humanitarian endeavors that all gave me exact same bottom line assessment of the situation in Chad…. its hopeless. “Hopeless?”, I said in all three conversations. “Yes, hopeless” they reaffirmed. This was coming form people who loved the people of Chad and had invested much time and energy into assisting in the situation. And I have to admit, when you hear their first person descriptions and the immense complexity of the ongoing genocide, mass illness, a 70% unemployment rate, rebel wars, a total lack of economic infrastructure, the local politics mixed with a geopolitical quagmire, on top of corporate profiteering and greed. I have to admit, I began to feel a little discouraged. However, as we were on final decent into Chad, I was reflecting on what I had learned. Its then that I realized that the challenges are great and overwhelming when you think of them in totality, but then I remembered that we don’t have to fix it all at once. It is going to take time, attention, and a global effort to assist our fellow citizens to rise out of the crisis and to be able to stand on their own and in their own way.
Then as we stepped out of the plane onto the tarmac and I was immediately struck by the refreshing cool of the African night air. I looked around to see a mixture of smiling Chadian faces and the stern rigid stares of the armed soldiers against the backdrop of the N’Djamena International airport. When I realize that it is not the immensity of challenges that is interesting, but rather how will the challenges define me? Define me as a Citizen of Humanity acting in the service of other Global Citizens who are in need of all of our support? Regardless of the immensity of the crisis, humanity has faced larger challenges before and history has shown us that divided there is little we can do, but united there is little that cannot be done. Because its as Deepak Chopra so eloquently put it, when he said, “People are doing the best they can with what they understand. SO it really a problem of awareness.” Awareness of the negative, the crisis, the horror, but also of hope, the courage and the difference that each one of us can make if we step outside ourselves to assist another in need. So we begin tomorrow to bring the story of how we will try our best to “Be the change” and see if we can’t raise the level of awareness to Global Citizens everywhere about the Crisis and the Opportunity that exists in Chad and the Sudan. Hopefully, how we can all do a small part to create big difference and change the world for the better.
I so am grateful for this opportunity to work with the SGN team, meet the Citizens of Africa and to all the committed people who made this trip happen. I can already say this has been life changing experience and I just got here……. which is pretty exciting.
In Peace & Abundance,