Editor’s note: This was originally posted on littleripples.org by i-ACT Director and Co-Founder Gabriel Stauring.

The little things on this trip that can bring joy.  Photo: Gabriel Stauring/i-ACT

The little things on this trip that can bring joy. Photo: Gabriel Stauring/i-ACT

I just ate some crackers with peanut butter and jelly. I used to eat that a lot as a kid, but I don’t think I have ever enjoyed it so much as I just did.  Our current trip to Chad is now 17 days old, and I’m more and more becoming aware of the little things that can bring joy—and sadness.


We just arrived at a new compound that will be our home for the next four days, while we visit Little Ripples at camp Goz Amer. As soon as we arrived, staff here received us warmly and gave us each a room with nice beds, mosquito nets, air-conditioning, running water, and—amazingly—little refrigerators! I just had a bottle of cold water. Wow, that was good!


This compound also has a basketball court. Sara-Christine and I always look for opportunities to run and do mini-workouts, always in mini-spaces. Today, there were some wasp-like insects, one at each end of the court, almost as if they were protecting the basket.  Each time I would run close, they would come out zigzagging crazily towards me, warning me to not get close to them, like a small, flying Dikembe Mutombo wagging his finger, “No-No-No!”  The concrete was horrible for my knees and back, but the running was magic for my soul.


I still have another two weeks out here, so I’ll have to grab on to lots of little things to compensate for how much I miss some big things back home—like family.


It’s been fun and inspiring to be around the players competing to play with Darfur United. At the same time, on the same days, it has been painful and sad to visit families that are struggling to find food for just the next few days. I sit with them and listen, and I know that that little thing, a few minutes of attention, makes them feel better—but only momentarily.


Two more weeks. Good thing I still have some little cups of peanut butter and of jelly. I also have a few cans of Diet Pepsi that somehow appeared in a tiny shop, on a dusty road of Goz Beida. I can’t wait until the morning to have one for breakfast!

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