Blog, 12/27/06 7:52am, Eastern Chad
Not far from the refugee camp school, there is a pretty little hill that just calls to be climbed. After a couple of ours of looking in at school activities, I asked Stace and Ali if they wanted to walk to the top of the hill. I thought it would be good exercise, but I also wondered what was on the other side.
We started walking, making a few stops to say hi to children, not all of them go to school, and to look at the always beautiful sight of bright colors gathered and moving, as women collected water for the day at a water station.
The walk ended up being shorter than I thought and wished, and the climb up the hill would not exactly qualify as a work out, but it was very enjoyable. The big payoff was what revealed itself, as I made it to the top and saw what was on the other side, a beautiful desert scene, vast and clear, so clear that it does not seem real. Living in LA, the air is thick and dirty, so I never get to see so far and so clear.
Sitting at the top of our little hill, we could see nature at its most beautiful on one side, and the results of man being at its most ugly.
The children of Darfur love to study! They want books; they want notepads; they want pencils; and, more than anything, they want to go back home to keep learning in Darfur. They never separate one from the other. They want to be teachers, but they want to teach in a peaceful Darfur. They want to be traders, but they want to trade in a peaceful Darfur. They want to be world-travelers, but they want to travel from a peaceful Darfur.
Before going back down the hill to the school, we saw in the distance, a woman walking in the desert back to the refugee camp. She was carrying a large load of firewood, balanced perfectly on her head. I could not help but think of the beautiful girls sitting in the classroom of the camp school. If there is no peace in Darfur, they will have to continue to risk rape and death to go out collecting firewood. If there is no peace in Darfur, what can they hope for? Will they stop dreaming?