Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Now we're really talking

Welcome to Goz Beida, where young girls use donkeys to find wood in the bushes, where people make their homes out of straw, and where tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees and displaced Chadians have gathered to seek assistance from the international community.

I'm too exhausted to even go into all the incredible things I have seen in only two days here....

5-year-old girls taking their plastic bottles to the public fountain to fetch water for their families; Women walking 40 minutes under the sun and in the sand, carrying 5 kilograms of stuff on their heads and a baby on their backs, to get to the market where they can buy and resell things at to make some money; "schools" made of bamboo and plastic sheeting; entire villages displaced by fighting who arrive from kilometres away, and receive no assistance because they are not included on the "list of beneficiaries".

But meeting these people has kind of demystified the whole "refugee" thing for me. In some cases, they are desperate, dependent, completely deprived people, but today, I saw strong, smiling people making things work and living their lives.

At the same time, I think I have to keep things in perspective. I think I've gotten so used to a lower standard, that I almost see these refugee camps and sites for displaced people - whole villages really - as normal now. I say "oh, it's probably not that far off from how they were living in their own communities back home". The gradual transitions in my travel have made it seem all too natural. From Canada to Senegal was one drop in standard of living, Senegal to Ndjamena (capital of Chad), another. Ndjamena to Abeche (where NGOs are stationed), another. Abeche to Goz Beida (the town near which the camps/sites are located), and finally Goz Beida to the refugees' homes.$ I'm trying to remind myself that if you were to drop into this situation from the total outside, you would certainly be shocked.

Anyways, all I want to do right now is eat and wash my feet (constantly covered in sand), but certainly I got what I came for!


Kamal Shaath said...

I am impressed :))
I know "Still.Searching" is going to kill me for saying this !!! but neverthelesshere goes nothing.

You are a powerful young lady.... That is determined to succeed.

"Still.Searching", it is true, the fruit does not fall far from the tree... ha?

May Allah be with you. Be careful, stay safe and Take Care.

Still.Searching said...

Kamal.. how can i kill you when you wrap your comment in such a nice compliment? well.. i tell Heba all the time how proud I am of her and how I want to kill her for killing me all the time :-)

I can't fault her on what she is doing but i worry for her. At least her dangerous stuff is useful and she is not just riding a motorcycle because she is going through a middle age crisis :-)

Kamal.. you should get the award for your persistence in trying to breathe some life in this silent comment section !!!

Salooly said...

Hebaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!! i love you. really, that's it. i don't know what "still.searching" is talking about, because i think riding a motorcycle spells...s.e.x.y!! (love you too pseudo-mommy!) even if it ends up being in dead o-town, where you can hear the wind talking due to the deadness of the city! COME BACK HOME!! hugs and kisses!

Kamal Shaath said...

Still Searching.... Motorcycle in O-town !!! .... you need a snow mobile... Now that is winter fun :)))

Or if you are really 'bored' and feeling adventereous, there is always the Ice Fishing...

Heba, just in case you are wondering... we are hibernating in this Frozen White North for the winter... Brrrr...

Natasha said...

i'm so glad that you're happy and safe (for now anyways... no more of that taxi business ok?).
i'm so proud of you for all you're doing. i can't wait to see you again (whenever and wherever that may be) and see the changes in you.
if you want to experience some home comforts, come see me in bangkok. there's everything here and it's awesome. please come? i miss you....

Still.Searching said...

OK salooly.. you got me in trouble with heba.. She did not "get" the S.E.X.Y. code :-)because she is not as KOOL as I am :-).. She does not know I am an expert in young people lingo and I even understand what LoL means! I explained to her it is: Sleep Eat Exercise and could not remember the Y part.. (loss of memory is the first sign of getting over the middle age crisis and moving into the old age crisis!) She will need a lot of work from you and ghadeeer to get her up to speed when she gets back In Sha'Allah :-)

Ghadeer said...

Heba.. I wish if I were there with you exploring and experiencing all what have learnt.. The blog idea is awesome.. your writing and the pictures honestly made me cry sometimes I wish if people contribute to the blessing of life better than this .. I am sure we can do a better job than this.

We all here pray for you and for all these troubled eyes in your blog's pictures..
Can't wait to have you back..

Kamal Shaath said...

Ok.... I see that "Heba's Fan Club" are having thier own Blog on the comments section:)))

Heba, yes it is FREEZING up here in the Tundra named Ottawa ... Brrr