i-ACT first met Djabal’s librarian in January 2008. Gabriel was filming in a classroom and he asked if there were any students who wanted to sing a song. Rahma’s hand shot up in the air. He first sang his version of B-I-N-G-O, and his second number had a little dance. In this video Rahma shares his story, and you can even watch him sing and dance:
Year after year we have returned to Camp Djabal and watched Rahma grow. He has graduated from Primary School (through Level 8 in his refugee camp), and takes what classes are available for Secondary school. He still wants to be President of Sudan, but is also interested in being a Journalist. Upon learning that he was selected to be the Right to Education Mobile Human Rights Librarian, he shared his thoughts and gratitude:
Rahma took great pride in being the R2E Librarian. We were all saddened to hear that this hut had burned, and all his possessions and the library destroyed. We received this video in December 2012.
The refugee community came together to help rebuild Rahma’s hut, and several individuals and communities in the U.S. have given to help him replace his personal belongings. Most recently, on January 29, Human Rights Watch Student Task Force chapter at Wildwood School in Los Angeles launched a Change for Change drive to raise enough funds to replace the entire Djabal R2E Library. i-ACT and all the refugees in Camp Djabal are very grateful for their efforts and we look forward to learning who the winning class will be!
There is a big moon over Eastern Chad tonight. It’s beautiful, but it also gives so much light that you can’t see too many stars. They often fill the entire sky, with the Milky Way’s heavy brushstroke from one horizon to another. Back home in Los Angeles, that sky does not exist.
We are back in the little town of Goz Beida, and we only have one more visit to camp Djabal, and then we start our journey home. Yesterday was a travel day, with the usual “hurry up and wait” routine that is the norm here. It was a quick little jump from Kou Kou’s dirt runway to Goz Beida’s dirt runway. The South African co-pilot of the flight looked tired but still with a sense of humor. He could not think of where we were flying to until someone whispered “Goz Beida,” but he then said, “Don’t be surprised if we end up in Cape Town.” To finish his pre-flight instructions he said, “Let’s go home.”
We got to town at three, but we were still able to get a car and head to Djabal for a short visit. We arrived to watch a foot race between a number of women and girls at the soccer field. They run in their normal dresses and scarves, but they can still fly. The finish line was a wall of people into which the runners would pretty much slam.
I said goodbye to everyone in Goz Amer yesterday, and next it’s goodbye’s to Djabal. This time, though, I’ll be coming back a lot sooner and more often, and my refugee friends know that I will. In the camps, everything moves at a different pace. They have a different sense of time, but I notice more and more an urgency of wanting to break lose and be able to dream of moving in a space and time outside of the refugee camps and leave that label, refugee, behind.
Let’s go home.
Locust is believed to be the most devastating insect to plants and some crops all over the world. But here the refugee children have a different view of the locust. They believe that it’s a free source of the protein. Here outside the refugee camp, hundreds of boys went hunting for it. They hope that the locust flock remain here more few days. The pictures show the children at war with the locust. The battle field is two kilometer outside the camp.
Good luck to everyone.
Rahma and Adam have taken the library to all six schools in Camp Djabal, for a week each. This week, they restarted the rotation.
Gabriel meets up with Busseina, and Adam! Adam has moved from Camp Kounoungo to Camp Djabal. They talk about progress, unity, and the new Human Rights library.
The Team has made it to Goz Beida, the closest town to refugee camp Djabal and their home for the next few days.
Here are the first images from the UNHCR compound and Djabal itself. You may spot some familiar faces.