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Happy Thanksgiving!

After a short video shoot in the morning at the hotel we had lunch with Siv at Le Central [ordered the lasagne – which turned out to be lasagna pasta sheets cooooovered in cream and heavy cheese – and steamed green beans, yay veggies!] We headed back to the UNHCR offices to meet with Alexandra, the Director of Education for Chad. We brought up the issue of providing breakfast for Little Ripples students and she suggested coming up with a community-driven solution rather than going through WFP. Even though many of the refugees are not getting enough nutrients through their daily rations, especially young children at the preschool age, it would be a real issue to ask WFP to provide an extra meal for only one section of the camp. This would essentially be unfair to the rest of the camp not involved in the Little Ripples pilot, as well as the other 11 camps in Eastern Chad. Gabe proposed having a group of women volunteers go to the market every morning to purchase and prepare food for the children – something that would not require an approval from WFP as it does not interfere with the family rations. We are still developing this aspect of Little Ripples, it will definitely be “food for thought” for the next couple of weeks. har har.

Hope you enjoy the additional pictures from today. In N’djamena photography of military sites, government buildings, and airports is prohibited; other photography requires a government permit (these are one of the permits i-ACT has to obtain every expedition and this time Siv was able to arrange all that before we arrived). It’s difficult to tell which buildings are government buildings since everything is in French, but there are quite a few locations that have armed guards posted outside the entrance, so although I would love to share these sites with you all I’m thinking it’s not the best idea.

Last night I slept for 10 hours and took 1 hour nap this morning…I think I get better shut-eye over here than I do in my thin-walled noisy west LA apt…Anyway, tomorrow we get up bright and early to head out to Goz Beida in Eastern Chad and if there is enough time we will visit Camp Djabal, the sister camp of Goz Amer.

Thank you all for your wonderful support and comments through our journey (it’s only just starting!). In sharing some of the inside aspects of the Little Ripples planning, I’d love to hear from you if you have any nuggets of information or contacts that you think may help us in getting this program up and running. You can comment here or write to me directly at jennifer@iactivism.org

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Jennifer became passionate about international development and humanitarian work when studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and leading youth performing arts workshops in one of the surrounding townships. After graduating from UCLA with a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Sciences, she taught adolescent reproductive health to high school students in South and East Los Angeles. She has also worked as a Research Associate at the UCLA Center for Health Services and Society, where she was able to foster an understanding of the community engagement and community resilience approaches, and hopes to incorporate these strategies in her work with Little Ripples. jennifer@iactivism.org


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