“Tomorrow” has come and gone again. Each day out here just seems to quickly vanish before your eyes. It could be that our schedule is so different than back home. It gets so hot midday that its nearly impossible to get anything done. We’ve been waking up around 4:15am so we’re ready to practice at camp by 5:30. We hold each training session for about two hours and end up visiting with friends until we get a ride back around 9:30. When we get back to the UNHCR compound we can relax until our 3:30 training session. I say relax, but Gabriel has been working straight through on his many incredible i-ACT projects, and James is working hard with keeping all the footage he takes organized. I can’t imagine how many hours of footage he’s taken since the airport in Paris. We hold our second session until about 6pm, and have to head back before dark, have dinner at the compound around 7:00 and then head to our rooms after we relax a little bit, and talk about the day. It’s like each day is broken into two “mini” days in one. The United States should definitely look into at least a two hour ciesta during the afternoon, it’d probably make a lot of people less cranky! The schedule we’ve adjusted to is nothing in comparison to our diet. I’ve eaten bagged tuna each night for dinner since we’ve been here, and I really just have some snacks throughout the day like nuts, power bars, granola bars, and dried fruit. I think Mark referred to it as the Darfur Diet. It’s actually been working pretty well, that and the fact we coach in over 100 degree heat, and drink what seems like gallons of water each day. I think I’ve finally decided that I want lobster for my first dinner when I get home, if anyone is interested in joining me.

The hardest part of these days passing by in a hurry is that tomorrow is our last full day, and I need to begin saying goodbye to my new friends at the camp. Now, I know I’ve explained that emotions have been running high, but they haven’t hit me in the moment yet. The oddest thing is that it hits me when I sign on to the computer and see comments on our blogs or check Facebook and see what a difference were also making back home and even around the world. That’s when I get choked up, while I’m alone in my room. When I read that my older brother, said he’s been reading our blogs to his two young boys as bedtime stories, or when my older sister said she was showing our pictures to my little niece Madison who said, “oh it’s Bion. I love Bion. And look he has friends.”; for some reason that’s when it all hits me. That what we’re doing isn’t just building a soccer team, but we’re changing lives. Not just the lives of the precious Darfuri people and players of Darfur United, but friends and family back home, people from around the world, and most of all, our own.

So as I get ready to sleep, I’ll be thinking about my new friends Murtada, Rahma, Ali, Umda, Abdulaziz, all the players of Darfur United, and the countless young children who have spent there days keeping us company by the field.

Brian Cleveland

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