It’s all worth it. It’s such a long journey to get here, to be walking in a refugee camp in this remote region close to the Chad-Sudan border. We left Los Angeles on Monday, and it’s only today, Saturday, that we made it to camp Mile. There’s extensive planning, preparation, and stress involved. But then we meet with friends, old and new, and it’s all worth it. There are hugs, smiles, laughter, and then immediately a collective “let’s move!”—and we get to doing what needs to be done to offer more opportunity and hope for the children (and parents!) of Mile.
It’s a privilege to be working next to these amazing refugees, including Oumda and Souli, who traveled for a day and a half from another refugee camp, Goz Amer, to help with the expansion of Little Ripples to camps Mile and Kounoungou. We are also lucky to be partnering with Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) on our projects. Between our three groups, we are committed to providing the high-quality services that the children need and deserve.
Today, we visited with teachers and parents of Mile. We shared about the plans to bring the Little Ripples model of preschool to their camp, and we heard from them about their hopes, aspirations, and the extreme challenges in their lives. They believe in the power of education and want to lead in offering a better future for their kids. Families are experiencing severe shortages of food, and it’s painful to hear mothers talk about their children going to bed hungry more often than not.
As with all of my now 28 trips to these camps, this is a rollercoaster of emotions. What is always constant is that I’m inspired by the people of Darfur.