These pictures are from a refugee camp in the southern part of Tunisia. We could hear the sound of machine guns in nearby Libya. What was a nice clown like me doing in a place like that?
I was sweating. That is exactly what I was doing! This refugee camp was not only on the border of Libya, it was on the edge of the Sahara Desert. And it was hot! I look back at the pictures and wonder how I did it. Then I remember: the overwhelming grace of God, and Pro-Face clown makeup.
We were working with ADRA Slovakia in July, 2011 for a couple weeks. We visited several of the refugee camps during that time.
I fondly recall the Dhiba camp and the children. Most of the kids at this camp were from the mountains in Libya. They were dirty and adorable, and very energetic considering the high temperatures.
A couple men gathered the children on those concrete steps. They were in the shade of the wall behind them, but I was standing in the blazing sun. They quickly realized it was hot out there and suggested we all go into an empty tent.
Immediately, those kids ran down the steps and towards the open tent. They didn’t mind climbing and/or jumping over the fence in their way! It was so funny!
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line over a fence! Mimi, of course, preferred to walk around.
Before moving to Tunisia I liked camping. I enjoyed being out in the elements, close to nature, but I was always glad to get home to a hot shower and air conditioning. (And I didn’t often camp in costume and makeup!)
I thought about the refugees living in tents for extended periods of time. The rows of tents had become their homes. For them, there was no escaping the elements.
I know Mimi brought joy and excitement and I was happy to be there, but I confess that I was grateful to be able to go back to our hotel and get cleaned up. I don’t remember exactly, but I might even have cried that evening when I was alone. I did that often after clowning around out there. My heart went out to those children.
Mimi gave them some good memories; and they gave me some good memories, too.