Back home, I’m connected at all times. My Blackberry is attached to my hand. I don’t think it could fall out, even if I tried to drop it. My Mac is control central for all my activities and communication. E-mails, blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, and many more forms of reaching out and listening in are almost non-stop. On a regular basis, I connect through video chat with my team — always at night, since they all have other “regular” jobs. I’m always connected!
I’m still pretty amazed at being able to connect for a live streaming video feed, in pretty good quality, all the way from Eastern Chad, where there is no infrastructure and definitely no wifi. We do this with a few things we carry in one backpack.
Today, we facilitated what was called a Live School Assembly from Camp Goz Amer. Students and teachers from this refugee camp gathered to answer questions from people, many of them students, from the United States and other parts of the world. It was streaming live through the internet, and people could send in their questions, real time. As our friend the Umda, or camp leader, said, “This is the first time we connect with the outside world like this.”
The violence the refugees experienced and which forced them from their homes occurred without anyone watching or listening. They walked across the desert, many of them dying along the way, without anyone watching or listening. They have now been living here for about eight years, and they feel disconnected from the world and from having influence about major issues related to their home–Darfur–and their lives. Blackberries and Macs won’t change this for our friends here. There has to be real and sincere listening on the other side. After listening, there has to be immediate action.