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First, we listen.

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This is my first time in Africa, my first time in Chad, and my first time in a refugee camp. As iACT’s Office Coordinator, I’m usually holed up in our cozy Hermosa Beach office. If I get sick of looking at my computer I go take a walk along the beach or get myself a chorizo burrito from the coffee shop upstairs. I’ve helped prepare the iACT team for some of their previous trips; making lists, checking lists, printing documents, and stuffing duffels full of soccer and educational materials. Then off they go. In the following weeks, I check out their blogs and pics from my computer screen filing the photos away. “Wow it’s so sandy” Click. “Aww the kids look so cute” Click. “Those must be the new coaches!” Click.

And now, I’m actually here. Surreal is the only word that comes to mind. I’m not just looking at some photos and reading about these people. I’m walking through their communities, into their homes, and shaking their hands.