As Phase 3 ends, it’s time for Phase 4: Continuing in the Community (Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego)

The moon stays bright when it doesn’t avoid the night.
– Rumi

Hi everyone,

Have you been tracking recent developments in the region of eastern Africa? Nick Kristof of the New York Times recently offered a remarkable series on his most recent visit to Sudan, one aptly titled, ‘The Worst Atrocity You’ve Never Heard Of’. Prior to that, he was in South Sudan, and wrote, Tales of Horror Should Galvanize Obama.

Given these extremely horrific situations, we are glad to be able to offer trauma recovery for those who live locally.

As Phase 3 nears its end, it is time to start Phase 4: Continuing in the Community (Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego). Continue reading

Toward Preserving Human Dignity

…we need empathy and compassion for all…
there is too much at stake for us to not pursue this ideal.
– Barbara English


This is something I wrote way back in 2008…
…some of the details sound dated, and some of them don’t.
– BE


September 18, 2008
Toward Preserving Human Dignity
By Barbara English, LMFT

A BBC headline this morning read, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has told his party’s leaders that Monday’s power-sharing deal is a “humiliation”. The word “humiliation” jumped out at me and does not bode well for success. (Click here for the article:

I don’t think we adequately comprehend or address the human experiences that lie just below the surface within political leaders, or the influential role they play in determining the success or failure of power sharing agreements and peace accords. Continue reading

Screening of God Grew Tired of Us – July 27 | Veggie Grill Fundraiser – August 7

You must not hate those who do wrong or harmful things; but with compassion, you must do what you can to stop them — for they are harming themselves, as well as those who suffer from their actions.
– Dalai Lama

Hi everyone,

This fall we will launch Phase 3: Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego. Meanwhile, headlines like this are all too frequent and extremely alarming: UN relief chief warns of looming disaster amid linked crises in Sudan and South Sudan.

Given the urgency, we wanted to do an event to connect the dots between the crises in Sudan / South Sudan, those who have come from there to live in the US arriving as refugees, and the project we will soon be launching in San Diego. Continue reading

Phase 3: Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego

Update 8/28/14:
Community outreach sessions were held on 8/16 at Southern Sudanese Community Center of San Diego and on 8/23 at United Women of East Africa and Horn of Africa. Well over 100 women completed the intake process and 40 have been confirmed as eligible to participate in our pilot research that will launch 9/6.

Phase 3: Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees
in San Diego

There are over 20,000 refugees from East African countries (e.g. Sudan, Somalia, Uganda) currently living in San Diego.

If their homeland had been a safe place to live, they wouldn’t have become refugees.

In December 2012, Living Ubuntu, in collaboration with faculty from National University and local refugee organizations completed a survey to assess the rate of Post-Traumatic Stress among refugees from East Africa living in San Diego.

The results confirmed high levels of unresolved trauma:

83% had endured traumatic experiences (e.g. forced evacuation, lack of food, water, access to medical care, violence, kidnapping)

85% were suffering from symptoms of trauma, ranging from mild to severe.

Services for refugees remain extremely limited.

Why is it difficult for refugees to get help for trauma & PTSD?

What can be done to help?

Continue reading

When Sudan is the better option, you know it’s bad

Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.
– Desmond Tutu

Hi everyone,

Today is World Refugee Day. How often do you think about refugees?

“The number of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded 50 million for the first time since the second world war… half… are children” (src). Due to ongoing and new global conflicts, combined with ever-growing effects of global warming, this number is apt to continue to be on the rise. The East African refugee population alone in San Diego has easily exceeded 20,000 for many years. If more are on their way, how well-prepared are we to help them? Continue reading

Screening of “God Grew Tired of Us” – July 27 in Irvine

6/30/14 Update:

Please note the event date has been changed.
While originally scheduled for Saturday, July 26, it will now be taking place on Sunday July 27 in order to accommodate the schedule of our Sudanese friends from San Diego who will be part of the event discussion.
We apologize for any inconvenience.

We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God’s family.
– Desmond Tutu


A Screening of
“God Grew Tired of Us”

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014 – new date!

6:30p Refreshments
6:45p Program
8:30p Q&A Discussion
Joseph Jok, Julia Julima and Wai John will be joining us :)
Continue reading

April 17 at UCI: Sudan (Remembering the Past toward Healing Our Future)

My first thought when I learned about the genocide was that if I could help just one child not experience what I went through as a second generation survivor, then it would be worth it. – Martina Knee

Second Generation Survivor, First Generation Activist – An Interview with Martina Knee

We learned how to jump into bunkers by about age five.  We were taught to distinguish the sound of a normal airplane coming to land and the sound of the bombers.- Wai John Wai
Giving Back to Sudan, from San Diego – An Interview with Wai John Wai

Hi everyone,

The first week of Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future included three very powerful events. You can find photos on the Living Ubuntu Facebook page.

This week: the fourth in the film series. On April 17 at UCI, the International Studies Public Forum will focus on Sudan, the only event in the series about an ongoing genocide.

One of our speakers, Joseph Jok, was born in South Sudan, now working for International Rescue Committee in San Diego. I have had the pleasure of knowing Joseph for many years. He has been part of the collaborative effort with us to help launch Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego. As many of you know, extreme violence began in South Sudan on December 15, 2013. We will screen recent film clips and get to hear first hand from Joseph about his own experiences. Continue reading

I am here. I will stay. And I will not forget you.

Hi everyone,

This morning I read an email from a dear friend I have known for years, yet never met in person. He was born and raised in Darfur, now thankfully studying abroad in safety. His email was about his extreme concern for his family and friends that remain in his homeland, the violence having once again recently escalated. This year alone has displaced hundreds of thousands.

My friend knows all too well what can happen, having lost myriad friends and family members to this seemingly endless genocide already. He knows when a family member comes to visit, it may be their last. He knows that a long walk for the family’s water may result in death upon return. He knows firsthand that those who protest in peace risk detention and torture. He knows full well that sometimes they are released after a few days, and sometimes they are not. Continue reading

If you think you are too small to make a difference…

If you think you are too small to make a difference,
try sleeping with a mosquito.
– Dalai Lama

Hi everyone,

In 2004, reading about the two-decade long civil war in Sudan had a big influence on me. In true synchronicity, after months of pondering how we could change the Western model of trauma recovery to better accommodate the globe’s mass PTSD epidemic, I met Dr. David Berceli. He had just returned to the U.S. after one of his many trips teaching trauma recovery in South Sudan. I had only just started wondering about how we could change the recovery paradigm; he had been working in conflict zones around the world for many years showing exactly how it could be done.

As many of you know, later this year we will be launching the third phase of our project, Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego, using the same method, Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE), that Dave has taught in more regions of the world than I can easily list here in this email. San Diego is home to about 4000 Sudanese and 20,000 Somalis, as well as many more who came to the US as refugees from other East African countries. Our 2012 needs assessment found more than 80% suffer from at least mild symptoms of unresolved trauma. Continue reading

We survive because we can love.

Humankind would not have endured and cannot continue without the capacity to form rewarding, nurturing, and enduring relationships. We survive because we can love. And we can love because we can empathize — that is, stand in another’s shoes and care about what it feels like to be there.
 – Bruce Perry & Maia Szalavitz

Hi everyone,

June 25, 2009 is a date of great historical significance. It is the day Michael Jackson died. Seeking to process the shock and heartbreak brought on by the suddenness of his passing, people spoke of little else that day, especially in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, also on that day, Martina Knee, of the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition, flew in to LAX, as I drove up from Orange County (and got distinctly, profoundly lost), in order to meet with Peter Marcus, of Jewish World Watch, in his Los Angeles law office. As Carl Wilkens Fellows (an anti-genocide leadership program) our meeting was to discuss a possible statewide initiative: to get the state of California to pass legislation for April to receive the official designation, Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. Continue reading