Dear friends and family,
Watching the slide-show Gabriel put together to conclude this i-ACT, it felt different than at the end of my last trip to Chad. More connected. More a part of the family. Sadder, but also happier. Wanting very much to return soon. Recognizing more faces, and the warmth that comes with that. 2007 was my first time in this new and unusual place, and we spent less time in each camp and with each person. This time, we spent all five and a half camp days at Djabal, and met many of the same people day after day. When you become closer to a person, you care more about him or her. I feel a great deal of respect and solidarity with the adults we met. And with the kids, I feel a duty to take care of them. To protect them, and to help them have the future they want.
We hope that through the videos that Gabriel tirelessly edited, the pictures we took and our writing, you feel much of the same connection we feel to these people. That is one of the most important things we try to do. If you have any suggestions on how to make it better, please let us know either through this blog or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friends in Djabal – thank you for welcoming us so warmly, and sharing with us your hopes and the challenges you face. Know that we are not here on a one-off reporting mission – we are your supporters and advocates, now and into the future.
Friends and family around the world – I urge you to act on the emotions you have felt and the ideas you have conceived during this i-ACT. It is chains of good karma (consequence) — one noble thought and action leading to another, then another — that changes things for the better. When many such chains happen at the same time, the impact can be huge. Each of us is the protagonist in one or more of those chains. Whether they stop or continue is in our hands. What you do does not have to be big, hard, or costly. What is important is that you took up the call to action that you felt. One thing will lead to another, and by always keeping at the center of your action the voices of those you are setting out to assist, you will make a difference. In this, I believe, we can have faith.
Please remember two things. One, the people we have met in all i-ACTs since 2005 have said that they want to return to Darfur once there is peace. Indeed, a return to their original homes with enough support in rebuilding will have a huge impact on their living conditions. Two, for all the hardship the people in Djabal are facing, their friends and relatives in the other Chadian refugee camps and in Darfur itself are facing the same, and in some cases even more. Because of all this, if we are moved to help the people we met through this i-ACT, it is incumbent on us to include in our activism ways of working for peace in Darfur.
Thank you for watching and listening. We often hear that in times of crisis, many communities are forgotten. Thanks to you, that is not the case here. Let’s work together in the coming weeks and months to advocate stronger and smarter than ever for peace in Darfur. And at the same time, to bring rapid and relevant assistance to our sister communities in Chad.