My wife and daughter are eating turkey burgers and salad and chips and maybe other stuff, but I’m not getting too close. I don’t want to see. I have another 30 hours without food to go. Tomorrow, on my third day of fasting, we’ll be driving to Arizona for a genocide event where we’re bringing our “Camp Darfur” tents. I won’t be driving because I’ll be even more lightheaded than right now. More than anything, this is just so different–not eating. I’m so used to reaching for food at any time, and the big problem each day is deciding on what to eat, since we have so many options.
Some years ago, during a visit to refugee camp Oure Cassoni, I followed a mother, as she made it through food distribution. She was collecting her monthly rations for her family of four. Please watch the video. That is what many have been mostly eating for almost ten years. I did the math, and it came out to about just over 1,000 calories per family member per day. Compare that to what you bring home from the market and eat out.
29 hours and 48 minutes to go. I’m not sure yet what I’ll eat after my three days are done. I’ll sign up for other days later on during the 100 Day Fast for Darfur.
PS. You can still join for one or more days of fasting here!
I eat so much. Every day. It’s strange: I think about food so much, and at the same time–I take it for granted. It’s always there, always available. In all of my now long(ish) life, I’ve never had to worry about food. Even when growing up in Mexico, where it was only my Mom with six children and a relatively low income, I never once worried about my next meal. On the contrary, I remember great meals: meats, rice and beans, tortillas, all kinds of fruits and vegetables.
I don’t think I really thought about hunger in any significant way until I started going to the Darfuri refugee camps in Eastern Chad in 2005. Just about everyone I met there had experienced hunger first hand. Many had seen friends and family die from hunger and lack of water, as they walked across the desert escaping the destruction of their village.
I’m now thinking of hunger. I’m hungry, and it’s ridiculous. It’s only noon on day 1 of the 3 days I will be fasting. But I’m so used to just reaching for food at any time! Usually, soon after breakfast, we start to talk about what lunch might be…and then dinner. Plus there’s always snacks in-between, and a late-night one at the end!
It’s now 10 years since the Darfur crisis exploded. The “lucky” Darfuris made it to internally displaced persons (IDP) or refugee camps, where they live off of handouts. Malnutrition can be seen, brightly, on the children in the camps. The orange hair is a clear sign of it. I am hungry right now and will be hungrier the next couple of days, but I know I have food, and more importantly, I know that my children will never worry about whether their next meal will be there or not.
OK, more water for now. At midnight of day 3, I’ll have some good food in front of me. I’m already thinking of what that meal might be.
PS. Join me and many others during the 100 Day Fast for Darfur. Sign up here!
This is a great video from Ali living in Camp Djabal.
Hello my friends, how are you?
Here is my farm. I am plaphing [clearing] it from grass and also I grew flowers and Okra and Dura. Can you show me your farms in a video? You asked me how I cook the Dura. Yes, first I take it to mill to grind it, then I put a pot on fire with water. After boiling I pour flower, then I mix it until [it] becomes ripe. Then I make salty to eat with it really its delicious food! your friend Ali
Locust is believed to be the most devastating insect to plants and some crops all over the world. But here the refugee children have a different view of the locust. They believe that it’s a free source of the protein. Here outside the refugee camp, hundreds of boys went hunting for it. They hope that the locust flock remain here more few days. The pictures show the children at war with the locust. The battle field is two kilometer outside the camp.
Good luck to everyone.
Dear Gabriel, here is the report about the women’s rights in my community.
Women in my community suffer discrimination, negligence and injustice, although she is the most productive part of this community. From the first day of her birth to the family, some families have not celebrate as they do for the baby boys. After she got seven years old, she stands with different responsibilities. Most of them have no chances to schooling as boys have. In her teens, the family will be ready to marry her if some one asked. Most of the girls got married without their knowledge. They must except any husband her father agreed to. Housewife has lots of daily duties. Early in the morning she prepares tea and food, washes the children, sends them to schools or gives them their duties. She gets water and washes every dirty clothes at home. She gathers firewoods, goes to work for money, or to the farm. In the evening, she cooks for the family. Every year women produces more than half of many families’ income.
Thank you, Adam
Photos of women in Camp Djabal, taken by Adam:
It has been amazing to be here to watch things fall into place. While here, I have paused as I am in awe about these serendipitous moments. I wrote yesterday about awareness, actions, and serendipity. Nothing serendipitous happens without action, and serendipity is never recognized until after the fact.
There is something magical about movement. As a drop in an ocean creates a ripple, an action causes a ripple effect. What has amazed me about this, is often times these action aren’t even really connected. They are actions happening on the opposite sides of the planet, yet in some mysterious way, they are very connected.
In Goz Beida we met Jairo. Jairo is a young man from Ecuador who became aware of a need in the camps, food. So what did he do? He packed a bag, took a year off, and came to Goz Beida to create a greenhouse that could be implemented in the camps so refugees can grow food year around. (Very inspiring, reminds me of another person who came out here six years ago when he saw a need – he is not quite as young though).
Back in California, Gabriel’s friend Azra had heard of the short rain season this year and her action to help was dropping off a bag of vegetable and herb seeds. Gabriel, not knowing exactly what he would do with them, put them in his suitcase. Then after meeting Jairo, he mentioned his big next stop is getting seeds to test. Suddenly, it all became very clear. Two people, from two different places created action, which somehow was all connected in order to provide better food for the refugees.
I was also amazed today as Yakoub said he has been out of the camps for the last few months and returned just last night. We also had the experience of Adam moving to Camp Djabal, moving there in time to help with the Human Rights library. All of these being perfect moments that happened to fall right into place.
Without action, things become stagnant. It is when we make movement that the universe and others can begin to move, bringing together a perfect symphony of actions that make real change in the world. Take that next step, make that next movement or action, no matter how small it may seem in the grand scheme, for it is a ripple that will create other ripples that soon becomes waves crashing upon a shore.