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Food is Scarce, Love is Abundant

Love is in abundance at camp Goz Amer where Sara-Christine and Team i-ACT are conducting year one assessments of the Little Ripples program. Photo: Gabriel Stauring/i-ACT

Love is in abundance at camp Goz Amer where Sara-Christine and Team i-ACT are conducting year one assessments of the Little Ripples program. Photo: Gabriel Stauring/i-ACT

Day Two of assessments is now complete, with another 80 respondents!

If you can believe it, today was hotter than yesterday. We are outside all day for the assessments — luckily under the shade of the school hallway — but, man oh man, does that heat wear you down. I’m pretty sure I was wearing the dehydration on my sleeve, since multiple people today asked me if I was alright. I said, “Yes of course!” I always hold myself up on tables with a blank expression as if I’m going to pass out… don’t even worry about it.

Ok, I wasn’t going to pass out. And yes, it’s my fault for appearing so ill. I should drink more water and eat more food. But working with the refugees in the camps, you’re in an environment that is deprived of essentials, surrounded by people who, unlike me, must bear the heat, the lack of water, and the lack of food every day. I’m not exactly jumping at the opportunity to scarf down a Cliff Bar. Especially not in front of children who are visibly malnourished, quietly waiting to be interviewed, only to return to their homes where, we’re learning, they have very little food at their disposal. I repeat, very little.

On a more positive note, since we’re with mothers and children all day for our assessments, I get to see so much love! So much love by the mothers not only for their own children, but for the other children and women around them. It’s heartening to witness a strong sense of community. And you should see the faces of the mothers when they get sight of their child’s polaroid. So much pride. Huge smiles light up their faces!! It’s something so simple and is so humbling to share with them. I love being a part of that moment.

Now we’re back at the compound, resting and working, trying to process some of the concerning information we learned today and get ready for our last day at Little Ripples tomorrow. We’ll wrap up assessments, then go walk around the camp to do some in-depth interviews with families. These are always my favorite. Asking open-ended questions and just listening is not only informative and insightful for us and our work but also so important for a people who feel forgotten and voiceless.

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Sara-Christine Dallain

Sara-Christine Dallain holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Masters in Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles. Through her previous work with Direct Relief; Réseau Africain d’Education pour la Santé (RAES) in Senegal, Africa; and Board Member of Chad Relief Foundation; Dallain brings on-the-ground insight and experience in program design, evaluation, and implementation for health and education projects in sub-Saharan Africa. As i-ACT Director of Programs, she manages the development, implementation, and evaluation of i-ACT programs in refugee camps, serves as the organization’s primary grant writer, contributes greatly to social media and marketing content, collaborates with and oversees program volunteers, and supports i-ACT development and fundraising initiatives. Dallain has been working in both southern and eastern Chad refugee camps since 2011, and is one of the staff members regularly traveling to eastern Chad refugee camps and global conferences.


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