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i-ACT20 Day 14: Rest

A Day to Rest

By Gabriel Stauring

G blog

It’s Sunday, and we could not get a ride to the refugee camps. Actually, we could not get an armed escort, and the powers that be do not allow cars to go on their own. When I first came to eastern Chad in 2005, we arrived in Abeche, the biggest town in this area, we rented a car, hired a driver, and took off across the desert. We did that for the first three years, but then it became more dangerous out here than it already was.

So Sunday is a pause day. I know that it’s good for our bodies and minds, and it allows me to reflect back over the last six days, which feel like one long, emotional, and exhausting day.

If you read my previous blogs, you might be surprised to know that we laugh a lot out here. My team laughs about all the many obstacles we face to get done what we need to get done, and I think we just laugh from being tired and to let out stress. The refugees also laugh. My biggest hit for making them laugh is when I ask how often they eat meat. Almost without exception, the mothers would start with a smile, as they first heard the obviously ridiculous question, and the smile would turn into a soft chuckle, and from that to a full laugh. They would say, “Meat? How can I get meat?” Most of them said that, if lucky, maybe once every month or two, but some could not remember the last time.

Tomorrow we head out to camp Iridimi for more obstacles and laughs.

Peace, Gabriel


Awake, Aching Through the Night

By Sara-Christine Dallain

I knew it was coming. My stomach was feeling strange all day. As the evening continued, I just felt worse and worse. When I got back to my room to get ready for bed, I preemptively took my Cipro medication, tied my hair back, and put a bucket and a bottle of water next to my bed. I curled up, heartbeat racing, waiting for the sickness to arrive. This wasn’t the first time I’ve been sick in Chad.

It turned out to be a long night of throwing up and lying in bed shivering with body aches. I knew I just had to make it to morning, by then the medication would kick in, the sickness would subside, and the light of the day would make everything seem alright.

As I lay awake, aching through the night, I kept thinking about the refugees. A few times during my home visits, I would find a woman lying sick on a mat on the ground. I’d ask what was wrong. Each time they would tell me she had a headache or that her body was aching, and that she had received “tablets” from the clinic. The woman would try to stand up to be polite. I wouldn’t let her. She would let her frail body fall back down, face somber, head resting on her arm for a pillow. I hated walking away, offering no help.

As I lie in bed all day with blankets, medication, water, and team members ready to take care of me if needed, I keep imagining those women lying on the ground. In a matter of days, I will be home in the U.S., with access to the best medical care. These women will remain in these camps, with little access to care, information, or medication.


Call to Action: Fast for Darfur on Monday, January 26

Please join Gabriel and the i-ACT team as we fast for Darfur.

As Gabriel noted in yesterday’s blog:

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.

We all know that Gabriel is not a wimp. And we all know that it is absolutely deplorable that Darfuri women are unable to feed their families. As Gabriel says, fasting will not bring them food, but it will help us connect at a deeper level with their experience, foster empathy, and continue to motivate us to act for peace, protection, and justice for Darfur.

Let us know if you’re fasting – water only or 850 calories – by commenting below. We also encourage you to share your experience.


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