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The Joys of Travel, Really

By Gabriel / February, 10, 2014

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Editor’s Note: This blog originally appeared on iactivism.org

I wonder how much these 18 trips to Chad have aged me? I’m sure that, more than the trips, it’s the age that has aged me. Life just flies by and…well, I don’t want to get into an existential rant, but getting through Chad can tear at you—your body, mind, and soul. I have to rely on my trusted T’chad mantra, over and over again: “Here and now. Here and now.” It’s similar to George Costanza’s dad mantra: “Serenity now! Serenity now!”

We’re in the capital, waiting for our permits to use cameras and to travel out of the capital. Getting these permits is an ever changing process. We have good friends here that help us with this, and they can also look worn down at the end of the day. They shake their heads a lot. I wonder what their mantra is.

We have a film crew from VICE traveling with us to capture stories in Djabal that show the power of soccer in bringing people together. They had two of their bags confiscated at the airport and were for sure stressed. The bags have all their gear. No gear, no work. Is it a “catch 22” when you need a permit to bring video equipment into the country, but you have to be in the country to get the permit? Whatever it is, my Chadian friends rescued the bags, after some heavy negotiations.

If you want to play along or keep score, here are the obstacles going forward in getting to the camps. We need to:

  • Get our two sets of permits for everyone
  • Get on the flight manifests
  • Get enough cargo space for our extra luggage weight
  • Actually get on the plane (being on the manifest does not necessarily mean that you are going)
  • Have our bags actually arrive with us

After that, we take on the next set of obstacles. But, we’re all good. It’s part of the journey, and we then get to see our good friends in the camps and work together on our projects. I know there will be unforeseen obstacles and stress, but I have my mantra…Serenity NOW! No, I mean, here and now…here and now…here and now…

Read more about i-ACT’s 18th trip to the refugee camps in eastern Chad at iactivism.org


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