Why Darfur? Because I can make a difference and so can you (Reasons #96-98)

As the Umda said, the new generation of children from Darfur must create their own road. One that is both from the old ways of Darfur taught to them by their parents and the new traditions and culture from life in the camps. “Only they will know what the path will be.”

This reminds me of a saying that the villagers and NGOs of Thailand used to paint on their protest banners, “Every one has a right to choose their own future” (reason #96). In many ways this statement of determination lead me to work for Darfur. It was shortly after I returned from living and working in Thailand that I was introduced to the genocide in Darfur. I remember thinking that this was my chance. I told myself many years before in high school that if I had been alive during the Holocaust I would have hid a person, or passed food to the ghetto, or tried to smuggle people to a safer place. Darfur is my chance to act for all those we lost in the Holocaust, and since, to the world’s worst hate crime, genocide (reason #97).

When I walk the camps, holding the hands of all the children, I feel I am working for each one of them individually. Working to bring them peace and a better life. And if I cannot bring them the better life, at least I can help build a road or bridge that might get them there. I know that I can make a difference in their lives, and I must never give up on their hope (reason #98) no matter how challenging, and sometimes frustrating it may be.

The night after our last visit to the camps is always sad. I become so attached to people I meet and I regard them as close friends. It was a year and a half between our last visit and this one. I hope that this time it will not be as long. On this visit, we heard most often that the Darfuris want us to return soon and often because our visits (and your messages to them) give them hope that they will be able to one day choose their own future.

peace, ktj

Katie-Jay keeps i-ACT running on several levels. Much of her work entails coordinating partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implementing the campaigns developed by Gabriel and seeing through the details. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States.

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Category: Day 11: December 19 · Tags: , ,

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2 Responses to “Why Darfur? Because I can make a difference and so can you (Reasons #96-98)”
  1. Isaac Murphy says:

    KTJ, you make me feel proud to be your cousin. In the same way that the trips help to inspire the Darfuris to maintain hope, you help me to do the same. This last post made me realize that amid the signing of petitions and trying to spread the word(I have been showing my housemate and I did put in an email to Democracy Now before you left to see if they would air a story), that another small place I may be able to help is in maintaining hope. I’ll look forward to sending a letter or two with you next time you go. Also, what about seeds? Would they make it through checkpoints to the camps? Just an idea… Anyhow, Love to you and Gabriel, and safe travels home.

    Isaac

  2. Jacqueline Phiri says:

    In general people in my country -zimbabwe complain about life and how unfair it is.I won’t lie I have witnesed some of the bad thingz dat happened in my country once there waz a protest and people were running away from police&into our primary school and e fear we experienced was beyond measure e protests&clashes were so bad that the school had to get police escorts in order for us to go home but that’s the thing we have schools and an education system recently on F24 I saw this teacher who has started a mobile school perse in order to teach these children living in nomadic tribes.these children don’t even have access to basic education and because of desperation the next best job they will be able to find is carrying a gun and killing their fellow man.I have never done anything to aid sum1 in that situation but I intend to change all that my lyf plan is to one day be involved in orgs like the enough project and the UN so that in my own small way change somebodys life for the better I believe educating myself about such orgz as enough is a step in the right direction and I commend all the efforts of those involved in such projects sum1 sumwhere went to bed with a smile on their face or a meal intheir belly because of ur hard work so thank you for giving yourself and your time God in his infinute mercy will continue to bless you!

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