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The (Refugee) Social Network

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]The code is written and tested, all our servers are upgraded, the picture and video upload is up and running! I slap my laptop closed and sit back with a sigh and a smile. It’s 2am.

I hear you thinking “Ah, of course, these geeky software people, they work all night and never see the light of day!” But we have good excuses: our teammates are in Chad, with an 8-hour time difference with where we live, California. Scheduling a meeting is…complicated.

Our teammates are Sudanese refugees from Darfur. Right now, in the refugee camps of Chad, it’s rainy season: the mud and thatch huts are constantly flooded, flies and locusts are all over the food, people, animals, houses. Our teammates don’t have running water or power outlets, but they do have a computer, and a satellite modem, batteries, solar panels, cameras, and determination.

To get to our online meeting, I only had to sit on my living room couch and switch on my little white Macbook. Abdulaziz had to carry his little white Macbook, along with his 6-pound satellite modem, to his neighbor who has a gas-powered generator. (In rainy season, recharging the batteries with the solar panel takes days.) It’s noisy and costly, so they only turn it on at 8am. Abdulaziz had to wait, and so did we: midnight PT it is!

Djabal camp’s students had been sending regular posts on Commkit, our home-made social networking site, but no pictures or videos. On the phone, school teacher Abdulaziz had said that “we can not send pictures