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i-ACT20 Day 13: Fast with the One. Fast with the 300,000.

Will You Fast With Me On Monday?

By Gabriel Stauring


Well, you’d be fasting with me and millions around the world. The difference is that we have a choice whether to do it or not, and there’s always food right at our reach.

For the past week, I’ve been visiting families at refugee camp Touloum. The mothers tell me that, this month, their rations will be cut even further. They will only receive some sorghum and a small amount of lentils. Their rations had already been severely cut approximately eight months ago, from the standard of 2,100 calories per person, per day, to 850. Those reduced rations were lasting them about two weeks, if they were careful and did not have to share with other non-registered refugees, who receive nothing.


When they were getting close to full rations, they were also getting sorghum and lentils—in bigger quantities—but in addition to that, they were getting fortified cereal, oil, salt, sugar, and soap. I wonder how many days that sorghum and lentils will last them this month, and if they’ll be able to supplement their diets, somehow, in this very harsh environment.

The mothers take care of each other, sharing food with those that run out first. They go and look for jobs, like collecting wood, washing clothes, and building mud structures, but there are very few opportunities, and they pay close to nothing.

During this trip, I’ve been eating about 1,000 calories a day, which is not even a third of what I eat back home. We bring what we eat, and we can’t bring too much. But I’ve been feeling good and able to function; I even workout after work in the camps. It also helps that I know that I go back home and to eating full meals in just a few days.

I know that, if we fast one day in solidarity with the refugees, it’s really only symbolic and won’t bring them more food. But I’ve found that fasting is a powerful personal meditation on the appreciation of food and offers a deep connection with those that fast without it being an option.

You can either do a water only fast for 24hrs, or you can do the equivalent of refugee-rations, eating only 850 calories or less. Since I’ll be walking around the camp all day in the heat on Monday, I think I’ll do the 850 one. I know I’m being a wimp, since I’ve been hearing many mothers say that some in their families go full days without food, and they have to keep going.

Let me know if you’re joining, and then let me know how your day went.

Peace, Gabriel


Over 300,000 more stories to be heard

By Sara-Christine Dallain

“I walked 15 days to the border of Chad” said Hawa. When her village was attacked, she was fetching water from a well. The Janjaweed arrived in trucks. She became very scared and started running to her home. She quickly gathered her children and her donkey, and escaped her village. She saw her neighbors’ children killed…lots of people killed, she said, looking down and drawing lines in the sand where we sat.

Hawa and her children survived by walking at night and hiding during the day. They only drank water and ate leaves from trees. For 15 days.

Once she arrived to the border of Chad, UNHCR transported Hawa, her children and thousands like them to this camp, refugee camp Touloum. Where she has been living for 12 years. Upon arrival, she was provided a tent in an identified zone and block, some food, and medical assistance.

What Hawa misses most about her village in Darfur is having access to land to grow food, animals to eat meat and drink milk, and feeling like she has a home. For 12 years, she has felt homeless. Living without a country.

This is only one story. In her camp alone, there are 30,000 more stories. In eastern Chad, there are over 300,000 more stories from Darfuri refugees that deserve to be heard.

An important objective of i-ACT is to listen to these stories and do our best to share them with you. We strive to amplify the voices of these forgotten refugees. Hoping that if you hear them, you’ll be more aware, you’ll feel more connected and you’ll possibly be compelled to ACT. Just as we have been.

Visiting homes and listening to stories, hopes, needs, jokes, problems – all of it – is a part of my job that I love. But I often feel like listening is not enough. That I’m not doing enough. This is what weighs on me the most at the end of they day here in eastern Chad. However, there is always a moment, a person, a smile, a hug, a story of success or hope that reminds me the miles traveled mean something. I asked Hawa what makes her feel happy. She responded, “when people like you travel very, very far to come here and listen to us. Yes, thank you. That makes me happy.”

Thank you for listening, Sara-Christine


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