Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published on DarfurUnited.com by Gabriel Stauring.
2012 Darfur United Squad in Iraqi Kurdistan with Coach Mark
Here we go. After more than a week in the capital, we completed our meetings, have our permits, and are on the list to fly to the east to camp Djabal to start try-outs for Darfur United 2014.
The river Chari is beautiful, but I am so ready to go to Djabal, meet with the players, and get the ball rolling—literally and figuratively. We did accomplish some important things here in the capital. The meetings with representatives of the government of Chad—their refugee agency NARR and the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport—were very positive and they offered their complete support. We will need it.
This time, we were not able to have the players travel by plane to camp Djabal, as they did in 2012. The UN Refugee Agency is low in resources, so they have not been able to help with travel. They could also not help us with accommodations and everything involved in receiving the up to 60 players in Djabal. We are fortunate that Pam Omidyar, the Founder of Humanity United, stepped in and sponsored all expenses related to the try-outs in Chad. Thank you, Pam!
The refugee community has also stepped up. The players had to travel by land, fronting the cost, from 11 camps to camp Djabal. It was especially crucial for refugees in Djabal to move in preparations before we arrive. Our friend and teacher Abdulaziz has been working tirelessly to find the place where all the players will stay, plan for the meals, buy utensils for water and washing, and so much more. This is really a community effort.
Currently, in the U.S. and around the world, communities are working to help us cover the funding still needed for transporting the team from Chad to Sweden. You can also help us build Darfur United 2014!
Our 2012 Darfur United goalkeeper, Ismail, called me a few minutes ago. I could see the smile on his face, as he was telling me that the players from his camp had been given the authorization to travel to Djabal, and they would get there the same day as us. He was laughing with joy as he told me this.
Here we go! Are you with us?
Ismail receiving his 2012 DU jersey with Coach Mark and Gabriel
Ismail, 2012 DU Goalkeeper