i-ACT 1: Nov 21 - Dec 10, 2005

Lost Generation



We are down to the last few hours in Chad. I was just going over the stories we heard during our days at the camps, especially what the ones belonging to the young people. There was Muhammad, Ahmat, Farha, and Eisha.

Muhammad we found making bricks. Ahmat is our English speaking friend. Farha, at fourteen, is taking care of her home. Eisha, at fifteen, is married. They are all bright young people. Having to be men and women very early. They are the future of their communities. What will happen with this generation of adolescent Darfurians?

They will all soon reach the age where there is no more education for them at the camps. For the boys, it means doing nothing or, very likely, joining one of the rebel groups. There are not many young men in the camps. Many were killed during the attacks on their villages; others join in the only option for joining, the fighting.

For the girls, they will more than likely be married off, an arranged marriage. They will risk their lives on a daily basis, going out to collect firewood. They will work, building huts, cooking food, and washing clothes. They will also have children and take care of them.

Back in Darfur, while maybe not ideal by western standards, they would have continued with secondary education, and some could go on to college at the larger towns They are now stuck in limbo, with an uncertain and dangerous future ahead.

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