We left Los Angeles on Monday. It feels so long ago, and the distance even longer. It is now Friday night, and I am back in eastern Chad in a little village called Goz Beida. I have lost count of how many times I’ve been here. It’s as remote as it can get, and the only reason anyone comes out here is to visit refugees. I do sometimes have those moments of, “How did I get here?”
Meeting up with Rahma is always special. I know that I will be somehow connected to him for the rest of my life. Anyone that has met him, even just through video, can see how special he is. He is far from perfect, like anyone of us, but he is full of curiosity and charisma that tends to make even his flaws look good. He wants to grow and explore, and he will not settle.
Rahma tells me that some refugees have been going to some place, I’m not sure where, that is believe to have gold. I ask him, “Is there gold?” He shakes his head in his very Rahma-confident way, “No. Very little.” Rahma is wiser than many older and more educated men around him. But he’s also young and playful, with the greatest sense of humor.
When I’m walking around with Rahma and friends, then I know how I got here. It makes sense. I have to be here. I feel the same with Guisma, Adam, Umda, Yakoub, Buseina, and so many more. I do miss my family, and it hurts to be away for weeks. I wish there was a way to be over here but never leave home.