The View from the top of the Hill
g’s journal for day 4
We stood at the top of the hill that holds one of the water towers at Camp Mile. On all of one side of the hill you can see nothing but camp, tent tops and mud structures. On the other side is the yellow desert with a few speckles of green, from the few thorny shrubs and trees. The desert side is so beautiful. I’ve always liked the desert. Growing up in Monterrey, Mexico, I got to see and walk around areas similar to the ones I see out here in Eastern Chad. Looking at the camp side, though, is not something I’m used to.
It’s hard to grasp what it must be like for a whole society to be uprooted and then placed in an area that is not ready for them and cannot sustain them. They are alive because of the aid that comes in to this desert.
Two young brothers that we met earlier come up the hill. They stop short of where we are, and Saleh starts throwing rocks. I quickly join him. We had started our day hearing stories and talking about education, mostly heavy stuff, but now the fun began. Saleh and Mohamed walked us around camp, giving us a guided tour. They even took over the cameras. As we walked, a few kids started joining the procession, and then more, and then more, until we had a huge crowd of little ones. We did some hand walking. For some reason, a too large of a percentage of the boys in Mile can switch from walking on their feet to walking on their hands, with little difference in their efficiency.
KTJ had kids follow her in walking across a log and climbing a tree. She then played “chase the kids,” and they loved it, laughing and screaming during their getaways. We had fun. Saleh and Mohamed are so bright. They are both learning English and want to continue their education as far as they can take it. When we come back in a future trip, they want us to bring a soccer ball so we can play with them.
From the top of the hill it is hard to wrap your mind around what Darfur is all about. At the bottom of the hill, running around playing with kids, it is very clear.