12 students, 3 text books, 1 chalkboard
Only one day left in Djabal. I will be in Chad for a total of almost three weeks and its just not enough time with so many travel days. We met Adef and Achta’s family, as well as Oumar’s yesterday and today we go to school. But there is so much more to see. So many more people to listen to and bring their stories forward for the world to hear. How will we begin our day?
In the ride to the camp, Gabriel and I brainstorm. Return to the families we met yesterday and share with them a short slide show. Meet the Level 6 class and see what comes of it. Walk the camp, meet the people, our brainstorm ends where it ends everyday, be real, listen, share messages of hope and don’t forget the mic!
Only 12 students sit on the dusty mat learning Arabic in the brick classroom with two large windows that allow for the natural light to guide their studies. One girl, Selma, eleven boys, three textbooks, one chalkboard. Twelve stories of hope and determination that ride on their education. Without our help to build a Level 7, then Level 8, and so, these twelve students will go nowhere with their education. Caught between two worlds – Chadian and Sudanese, if they take one test it won’t be recognized by the other.
Bouba and I move from one student to the next collecting their names, desires and reflections from a video of Auburndale High School in Florida. Each one asks us to help them. They have asked the camp hosts, they have asked UNICEF, they have begged for more resources and teacher trainings, and a building to complete their primary school. They have received nothing.
My own determination to connect these students with your communities in order to begin rebuilding a stronger Darfur solidifies further with each students’ words. We have the capacity and the power to help make this dream a reality, but we must not forget what we can do in our own daily lives to ensure that they leave this in-between state and return to Darfur. “Today or tomorrow, I would like to return home.” In this situation, our voice is really their voice.
Selma hopes for the women of Darfur to be united. To mobilize and gain power within their community. Are these not the hopes we have for depressed communities in the United States? The communities of Djabal, Kounoungo, Mile, Gaga, Farchana, Oure Cassoni and the other camps are our community.
Educate. Activate. Empower.
Together, we can change the world.
In Solidarity, KTJ