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i-ACT20 Day 4: Almost 10 Years and 20 Trips Later

women in front of tent

Darfui women and girls, eastern Chad 2006.

How many of you were with me on i-ACT1? That first trip to the refugee camps in eastern Chad was way back in November of 2005. We had this small group, a true community, of supporters and collaborators that helped make it happen, against so many odds. We knew our mission: to put a face on the mind-numbing number of dead and displaced from Darfur—to make it personal. And even though we prepared as much as possible, we really didn’t know too much more. We were taking a leap.

Chad was very different then. We arrived late at night to a city enveloped by darkness. There were barely any lights and few paved roads. Our ride from the airport did not show up. Our fixer, and only person we were counting on to help us navigate the unknown, thought we were arriving the next day, so we had to walk out into the darkness and grab an old Peugeot taxicab that looked ready to disintegrate and hope it would get us to the hotel. As we moved through the dusty streets, our headlamps exposed men with guns, standing or walking on the same roads.