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
The i-ACT team has posted many blogs, photos and videos to darfurunited.com!
It has already been an emotional journey for all involved because this team will represent so much more than a game. Our podcast, Hit the Ground Running, includes i-ACT’s arrival in Goz Beida, travel to Djabal and a visit to the local restaurant to see what players will be eating. Our team meets many of the hopefuls upon arrival and to look in their eyes there can be no denying what a spot on the Darfur United Team would mean to them.
Hundreds gather around the goalie tryouts and it is clear what Darfur United will mean to every Darfuri man, woman and child. The players rise at dawn to avoid the midday heat as they vie for coveted spots on the team that will carry the word to the world at The Viva Cup.
We share the simple yet all too important joy this game and this team will bring to our friends as we see the women watch the team as they collect water for their families early each morning. They too rise at the crack of dawn to assure a first spot in line at the water point before their long walk back.
The team hopefuls speak for themselves in our Sound Off’s as we get to know the young men trying out and our first is Sulieman Adam Borma who shares his feelings with the watching world. Coaches Brian and Mark share the anticipation of announcing the 15 team members and 5 alternates who have made the team. There is tremendous joy in sharing the news with those lucky 20, but also a profound sadness about ending the Darfur United dreams of 41 other players who learn their fate one by one. Coach Brian’s blog captures the emotional roller coaster of reactions our Darfur United hopefuls experience as they take in the news.
For many the team journey has ended, yet they will never be the same. They know something now: they are not forgotten and Darfur is indeed United. For the 20 who have been chosen to represent the pain and triumph of so many years and lost lives – the journey has just begun. Please help them carry the word…….
On Behalf of the i-ACT Team, Stacey
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:
(in no particular order)
1. Being bright and intelligent can make you feel even more trapped and desperate, when you dream of higher education and a different future, and the camp walls close in.
2. Refugee camps, with tens of thousands of people each, are not supposed to be permanent places of residence, especially in an environment that cannot sustain them.
3. When there is peace, they will invite us to come with them to Darfur, and there will be a celebration for the Day of the Donkey – for the many lives donkeys saved.
4. A boy that has close to nothing will still give me the hat off of his head, and it makes him happy to give.
5. A simple round object made out of just about anything, a ball, can bring joy to the harshest places on earth.
6. After a long day of heat, sand, and sad stories, laughter and cool water are the perfect recuperation potion.
7. I miss my family. So many here have lost theirs.
8. Listening is not always easy, but it’s the first step towards lasting friendships.
9. Sometimes, a great leader walks at the back of the pack, not letting anyone stay behind — with the Janjaweed chasing and closing in.
In Camp Goz Amer, young girls take care of younger siblings, when parents have to do other jobs and chores to provide for their families. The children also help with tasks.
Without preschools or daycares of any kind, many children are at risk, and their future is very limited, especially for the girls that many times go without education to take care of their younger brothers and sisters.
In this video, a little girl and her brother go collect water. The boy is very reluctant, given the strange man with the camera that just won’t go away!
For more information and opportunities to help the kids in the camps email email@example.com
Music by Dame Seck: jamendo.com/?en/?artist/?Dame_Seck