Refugee Homemade Guitar from i-ACT on Vimeo.

(in no particular order)

  1. After 13 years, it can get worse. Less food. Less education. Less health. Less voice. No safe return home.
  2. It’s not that they do not have a voice. It’s that no one is listening.
  3. “Refugee” has become a dirty word. Spend even a little time with a refugee family, and you’ll find that they are so much more than that word. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers—as complex and full of wonder and dignity as you.
  4. When you’ve experienced the dark horrors of war, you embrace and appreciate peace at a deep, personal level, and you don’t want to let it go.
  5. It does not get easier to be away from family for so long.
  6. Peanuts, granola bars, tuna, and some canned soups is my Chad (and now Cameroon) diet. I’m over it. But it works, if you want to lose weight!
  7. The joy of play is universal. Football (soccer) is the most universal of organized play, and it is powerful how it can create hope.
  8. I’ve always thought that age is “just a number.” I turned 50 the day I got on the plane to start this trip. That round number has had me reflecting on life lived and life ahead.
  9. It is sad that refugees don’t expect much from people or organizations that visit. They say that we visit, make promises, and never come back.
  10. Seeing Guisma, her mom Achta, and all the kids is a crazy blast of mixed emotions. Joy, sadness, and at times anger (and every shade in between) all come together in those short moments. I love seeing them, but they are still there—in a refugee camp.