When was the last time you considered where the water comes from when you turn on your tap? Can’t remember? Me neither but then why would you when it is always there? On the other hand, if you had to walk everyday to a shared tap, fill a barrel with water and then carry it back to your house on your head you might give it some more consideration, at least by my reckoning!

Over the past week since I have been here in Chad, I have lost count of the number of refugee women I have seen walking along the road heavy laden with water. This is just one small example amongst many of what makes life living here difficult. However, people here are incredibly resilient and these things just make up a part of normal everyday life.

As I am reviewing the work of Cord’s Solar Cooker Project in Farchana refugee camp, I am meeting many different groups of refugees to hear their perspectives on the project. Today I met with a group of school girls aged between 17-18 yrs old. As with other groups, the girls spoke of how the solar cooker has helped to reduce their need to leave the camp to collect firewood, however they also spoke of the joy that they feel when they return to their homes after classes and their food is ready thanks to the solar cooker.

The refugees are used to dealing with the challenges of life here, and in this environment it is all too easy to pass over emotion and to focus on the practicalities of life, but joy is not a word you come across too often when talking to them…….

Amidst all the other things that we discussed today, this has been at the forefront of my mind. For me it was a very special thing to hear and not something I shall forget quickly. Upon reflection, it is the stark contrast between the emotion of joy felt by the school children and the extremely challenging environment that they face on a daily basis that I am left with. Anything that contributes some joy (no matter how small it may seem) back into the conflict impacted lives of the Darfurian refugees here in Chad is a very welcome thing in my book.