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Starting i-ACT 19: A Pause, Up In the Air

Paris Airport

In-between. Photo: Gabriel Stauring/i-ACT

It’s like a period of suspended animation. There are the hectic days leading up to our departure to the refugee camps, with stress peaking at Everest heights. Then, Sara-Christine and I get on our long flight to Paris, and everything stops, like the pause button is pressed. We get to watch dumb movies, drink wine, and eat airplane food—enjoying the moment but knowing that this suspended state will not last. As soon as we hit the ground in Chad, we’re back up on Everest.

This is going to be a long trip. Too long. It’s not easy to say goodbye to family, especially my kids. A month is a huge chunk of time in the life of an almost two-year-old. I also don’t like not being around for my big boy, Gabo. I hate missing his soccer games and hearing every day how he did at school. I don’t like not being able to talk with Mimi and catch up about what’s happening in the world. KTJ and I are in contact multiple times each day during these trips, but it does not make it any easier. I miss being home.

It’s going to be a complicated trip. There is still no certainty that we’ll be able to go over, around, or through some of the very real obstacles that are ahead as we work toward our goal of taking Darfur United to compete in Sweden. It’s a difficult balance of keeping an eye on that big goal but then having to be in the moment, paying attention to each obstacle right in front of us. There’s no time to complain or feel sorry. We just have to keep on moving, and our friends in the camp have to meet us halfway.

Speaking of suspended animation, the refugees have now been in the camps for over ten years. Things are not getting better. They are getting worse. Violence is spiking dramatically in their homeland, so they have no hope of returning anytime soon. In the camps, food and services are being cut drastically. I cannot imagine what a parent feels when confronted with so few options to better the lives of their children.

Here I am, up in the air. I’ll watch some more movies and do some reading and writing. I’m also practicing my breathing and my “here and now” meditation. Once we make it to Chad, it will be difficult to hit the pause button. It will all be go, go, go!

Peace, Gabriel

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