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iACT34 in Chad: Showing Up and Connecting Hearts

Eastern Chad is one of the most challenging places to live in the world, not to mention the complications of traveling there! In refugee camp Am Nabak, Felicia, Julia, and I, along with the newly formed iACT teaching teams and the RUSA team, walked down dusty pathways surrounded by mud brick walls and donkeys curled in a sliver of shade to avoid the hundred plus degree heat. Kids snuck around corners to catch a glimpse of us as we walked the camp. It was my first time visiting Chad and I found myself just as curious as those children.

Our time in camp Am Nabak was not so different from our time at the other camps, Goz Amer and Djabal. Each time we showed up to listen, support, and offer encouragement to the amazing refugee staff. Each time we were met by people and communities that were so glad to see us, communities that have been forever changed by programs like Little Ripples and the Refugees United Soccer Academy.

While in the camps, we did a number of meaningful tasks: walked around the new refugee-led ponds that were built in Am Nabak, visited the Ponds in Djabal and the school in Goz Amer, and talked with teachers, community members, cooks, and soccer coaches. We laughed and smiled with the children; children who are so precious the world over and who deserve so much more than what so many of them receive. It was so powerful for me to contemplate the ripples that radiate out to so many through these refugee-led programs.

Our time in the camps was the culmination of the hard work of many, fueled by hundreds if not thousands of caring hearts across the globe. The Darfuris living in Djabal, Goz Amer, and Am Nabak are making a life in a place that they neither chose to live in, nor have the ability to leave. Yet with all the tragedy, heartache, and challenges they have faced and continue to face, their smiles radiated and laughter bounced off the walls. What a precious gift to see the resilience of the human spirit, and how iACT brings hope, meaning, and tangible support, such as food, education, and work to a population so ravaged by genocide, war, and the inhumanity of power politics.