DUSA Coaches: Proud To Be Serving Their Community
By Sara-Christine Dallain
Today we visited refugee camp Djabal and spent time with Darfur United Soccer Academy (DUSA) coaches Ramadan, Leila, Adam and Habiba. This is the first camp to host a DUSA, and these four coaches hold a special place in my heart. I’ve been able to spend lots of time with them, and their commitment to DUSA is remarkable. They’ve truly set the bar high, and they will serve as wonderful trainers for future coaches as we scale up DUSA to more camps in eastern Chad.
Ramadan invited us all to his home, and we were able to get their feedback of DUSA and the impact the program is having on them and the children. Our conversation was very informative, and tomorrow we’ll be working with the coaches to hash out some issues with the DUSA space in the camp. For now, here are a some things they mentioned today while we sat underneath the shade of a beautiful tree at Ramadan’s home:
“I feel really proud to be a coach as a woman in Africa, because there are not a lot of women coaches in Africa. As a woman I have a right to play. And now I can serve my community, and I know.” – Coach Habiba
“I feel proud to be a coach. I feel I am doing a service to my community. I never imagined I would have the opportunity of being a soccer coach, and I want to learn more soccer.” – Leila
“Because of DUSA, many more children are involved in soccer now. They are happy and they smile, and they learn lots of skills. Soccer is making a future for someone.” – Ramadan
“Now that I am a coach, I help my community. Everybody knows that I am a coach, both here in the camps and in the local village. The training I learned from Rachael [DUSA Ambassador Rachael Rapinoe] really helped me learn to help others. I hope to help more, and I’m proud of the children and how they are learning at DUSA.” – Adam
We couldn’t be more proud of the coaches. DUSA is still implemented six days a week, each afternoon for boys and girls ages 6 to 13. The coaches report that more and more children continue to sign up, and the community has really come to learn how valuable a comprehensive soccer program is for their children.
Tomorrow afternoon we get to see DUSA Djabal in action. I can’t wait!
Feeling Community in Djabal
By Gabriel Stauring
Is it egotistical? I love hearing my name in camp Djabal. From the moment we get off of the car, I hear, “Gabriel!”, followed by one hug, then another and another. And then we begin walking through the camp, and I hear little voices, “Gabriel,” and I see beautiful smiles. It is such a warm feeling, to be so far away from home, arrive in one of the most remote places on earth and be greeted with sincere and beautiful hugs of friendship and community.
These trips are very much emotional roller-coasters. I get to see friends I’ve known now for many years, and it’s a joy to be reunited. But then I see the conditions of their present, the uncertainty of their future, while the scars of their past have not yet healed.
One of the highest ups of the roller-coaster is visiting Achta, Guisma and the boys. What a beautiful family! There is always giggling among the kids, and Achta makes you feel like the most special of guests, bringing out her mat, drinks and snacks, even though they sometimes go days without food. And that brings you back to the low.
Achta told us they are now receiving even less for their monthly rations. The little sorghum, oil, salt and beans they were handed this last month only provides for five or six days of eating. After that, Achta has to work collecting grass to build panels and sale in the market or go into the village and try to find work, which is barely ever available. It is a daily battle to find enough to buy food for her children, a battle she does not always win.
But we still hug and we laugh, and we talk about how we might make things better. I talk football (soccer) with the twins and with Guisma, and we make a date for seeing each other again tomorrow.
TAKE ACTION: RESTORE 2100
The petition to President Obama and UN Ambassador Samantha Power.
More information about food insecurity can be found on our virtual Refugee Rations report.
To support our Little Ripples’ efforts to improve children’s nutrition and health.