Top Ten Things I Learned On My 29th Trip to Darfuri Refugee Camps

1. It is such a simple thing: sitting in a circle creates trust and openness.


2. It’s OK to step back and let them take the lead. We must realize that it is their journey.

3. It always seems like getting there is much more difficult than the work to be done, once you get there.

4. We have it so easy. How far do you go to collect water every day?

5. I don’t know why, but we love donkeys! (Yes, I know. I’ve said it in past Top Ten lists. But, we love donkeys!)

6. There’s way too much waiting involved in humanitarian work. After 29 trips, I’m still not OK with saying, “That’s just the way it is here.” We have to do better since lives depend on it.

7. Purpose, combined with hope, is an incomparable energy that fuels determination—and joy—for any situation, regardless of how challenging.

8. I love this quote by Joseph Campbell: “Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.” It’s important for that participation to include making those sorrows less painful and shorter in duration—if they can’t always be eliminated altogether.

9. Joy, suffering, hope, despair, anger, and so much more can be experienced at the same time, in the same place.

10. I can’t believe my next trip will be number 30!