Top 10 Things I’ve Learned on iACT 25

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1. Mindfulness works. I know. What an aha moment! Only millions have been practicing it for thousands of years. Nonetheless, to see someone float through a rough, normally stressful journey to the edge of war and be joyfully present at every step was a revelation.

2. Strength and dignity can shine through even when the surrounding environment is doing all that it can to strip away power and hope.

3. I don’t need a lot of space to workout, but there’s nothing like the freedom to run free. I can’t imagine how it feels to live restricted in a refugee camp and to see that your children have little hope of ever truly running free.

4. If I eat a fourth of the calories I normally eat, I will lose weight. It’s not that I’m eating tiny amounts of foods during these trips. It’s more that I eat huge amounts when back home. I have to be more mindful. I don’t need so much.

5. It’s always about family. We only have to extend the sense of who is family—far and wide.

6. Darfuris find it hilarious when I take pictures of donkeys. Donkeys are funny in any language or culture. Refugees work them hard, and the kids ride them for fun. Donkeys also saved countless lives during the escape from Darfur.

7. Refugees do not choose to be refugees. This is so obvious and clear that I find it strange that some of us feel the need to state this. They fear the unknown, but they fear the known horrors they have escaped even more. How can we, humanity not welcome and support them anywhere and everywhere?

8. A Darfuri refugee mother dreams about education for her children—but only briefly. She has to focus on daily survival. Dreaming is a luxury.

9. Sometimes, we just need to support and get out of the way. Refugees have the power, the knowledge, and the ability to successfully run their lives. If we’re using the word “empower,” it’s because there is someone or something that is actively taking away or blocking the power they came with.

10. I truly hate missing my boy’s soccer games. Play-by-play through text messaging across continents is no substitute for the pure joy I experience when there, on the sideline.

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refugees from Darfur, Sudan, living in refugee camps located in Chad.

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Become a community fundraiser for iACT

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current capacity at the RUSA academies

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