(written 12/29/06 2.47pm)
Today, we headed back to our “new camp” which is the third one we’ve spent time visiting. Each camp has a particular feel to it. This one is vast in size, has many older people and there is a more anxious sense from many of the adults. Gabriel found a tall, regal gentleman, named Ahmat, who led him to his son. It was This little two year old boy, Mahmoud, is ill with an unknown ailment but clearly well loved and cared for by his father. It was hard to look at this frail little boy and wanting to help so badly without being able to do anything. This man taught me a lot about gratitude in the face of terrible adversity. He was obviously consumed with worry for his son after eight days of caring for him, yet he clung to gratitude. He talked of his son’s future education and life. He grounded me back into the basic source of all hope, love, which radiated from his eyes. At sixty eight, his gentle wisdom was a direct contrast to the passionate and angry energy of the 18 year old we’d met yesterday. Unfortunately, I missed the first part of the time with him because I was in the middle of a very interesting and complicated conversation with the 18 year old. These two men spanned the years and responses to this genocide, both valid responses to tragedy but somehow I needed the centering energy of an elder today.
We spent time with some of the women collecting wood many miles from the camp today on the way home. They all looked so beautiful and strong and brave. The reality however is that there are many, many rapes here and this is a very traditional but extremely dangerous exertion for them to take. One woman actually ran away from us and we had to spend much time convincing her we were not there to hurt her. I experience fear on the roads in a car here, I can’t imagine being alone on foot or donkey out in the middle of the desert with a gigantic pile of wood I’d spent all day collecting to cook for my family. Today, as we passed the beautiful, vibrant pink flowers growing in dusty, rocky soil, I was even more aware of the correlation between these women’s physical beauty and inner strength.
We stopped at camp #2, where Mustafa lives, to check on Mouna. Good News!!!!! She is doing much better and on the road to recovery. Mustafa, recognized our voices right away and it felt so good to see him again and be welcomed into his home. He felt like a very old friend and his welcome, combined with the good news about Mouna, was the perfect end to our day’s work. Editing the clip tonight felt the smoothest and seamless it’s been so far. I think a lot of that had to do with spending time with Ahmat and Mustafa. Their gentleness reminded me that inner peace can be claimed in any moment even when all of us are working ceaselessly against seemingly insurmountable odds to reach a non negotiable goal.
Peace and Blessings,
PS: The BEST part of this day was the honor to deliver all of your well wishes to Mustafa and Mouna!!!!!
Stacey’s replies to comments
Dear Lisa Goldner, You and your family have been so involved with follow up actions! Yes, I kept thinking how much I took my early education for granted and how much our children in America could learn from the love of studies here. Keep up the INCREDIBLE work on the homefront with your dedicated action! ila l-liqa, Stacey
Mama. I also thought about grilled cheese sandwiches and tomatoe soup. If only these children had that luxury. The sickness is very hard to witness here but the dedication to education gives great hope to the world. I love you and send love to Dad, Chris and everybody else. Love, Charlie
Markus C. I do believe that the dedication to education is a positive thing to come from the atrocities inflicted on the people of Darfur. In their struggle to get home they have deepened a commitment to learning. When I see flowers growing in this desert, I think of these children’s minds. Why these people? We can ask that question over and over again and apply it to almost any genocide or mass injustice….The pursuit of power. Blessings Always, stacey
Jim Fussell, great to hear from you! You have been such a tireless supporter of both Darfur and stopping genocide in the future. I totally agree about the difference between a natural disaster and a systematic destruction of an entire people. One is almost comprehensible while the other seems beyond human imagination. It is a very unnatural state of perpetual fear that nature. with all it’s violent upheavals cannot possibly duplicate. Peace, Stacey
Connie, Yes, it is all about stopping this genocide now! I was experiencing so much anger myself for the last two days. I believe the greatest use of our anger is the positive and heightened path of action that you suggest. May we succeed and quickly…Paz, stace
Mimi Schiff, I think many people feel a need to ” yell at the world” when seeing these children. Perhaps, collectively, our voices will be loud enough to wake the sleeping giants. The ship seems to have lost its captain and the crew must now navigate the Darfurian people safely home. Peace, Stacey
Rachel & Family, we keep talking about walking onto Darfur soil in celebration of a safe return home. That is the vision that guides us all. May people like you and Jim Fussell continue to inspire others to that vision for the future. It is a hopeful sign that we are receiveing comments from Slovania, Scottland and Germany also! Love, Stace
Consuelo, Thank you for your beautiful words of solidarity, inspiration and wisdom. I was happy to understand much of the spanish as Gabriel translated! I’m learning. Here is to Peace in Darfur, stace
Christine, It is the students who have led the way in this movement. You are not working to become an activist, You already ARE an activist by virtue of your intention and attention. The world needs you in this struggle for protection. Salaam, Stace
dians,stf, There have been some struggles for me emotionally but I am back on track today. I really appreciated your comments, they helped restore my faith! I know, with caring words like yours, good luck and blessings are already floating around our journey and the refugees. Your words, WERE my magic today. Continual Peace To You, Stace
VALENTINO! I’ve been wondering where you’ve been?!?! From pitching my first Camp Darfur tent with you in San Fran to getting the entire congregation to bless us on our journey, to the Save Darfur bracelet that has lived perpetually on your wrist for 8 months, I’ve seen your heart support Darfur! Thanks for holding down the fort on the GOP project. It’s all connected. Peace and Love and Blessings, Stace
Hi Marilyn, Good point. Blessings are everywhere. Even in the direst of circumstances we always see a glimpse of the light in the beautiful souls here or in our journey to help or in the comments we receive. Many Blessings to YOU, stace
Yes, Talia T., may this new year be filled with renewed hope, new life and immediate protection for the people of Darfur! Peace, Stacey
Thanks, Justin A! Yes, we are all family and I feel that with all the people who write to us here as well as with the people we’ve met here. Christmas Eve felt like that of childhood because after our daytime work and before editing we raced to the computer to read the comments. They fill us with hope, support and energy. Thank YOU…..stace
Dear Tadej , We were so grateful to hear of your concern and support for the people of Darfur. It truly is a small world that is vitally connected by the efforts of everyday people and officials in solidarity with efforts for peace and safety for civilians. Thank you for sharing our work with the people of your country . Regards and Peace, Stacey
David Inglis ( Scotland), we are so glad that you found us! We really try to keep it grassroots ( we really don’t have much choice) which allows us to keep it more personal and unrestricted. It is so important that we spread the word to Europe so please, let people know what is going on here. Gratefully Yours, Stacey
Anonymous, It is very difficult for them to find lost loved ones. We heard today that there is a letter writing program where letters are sent to Darfur in search of relatives but who knows how well that works. Family is VERY extended here so there is usually someone related, however distantly, to watch over a child. We met a little girl whose mother had been killed and whose father had returned to Sudan. She was living with her older sister. this is one of the great tragedies of this genocide. Peace, stacey
Thanks for the support Tait j. keep up the good work for Darfur at your school! Stacey
Sara S., Yes it truly is staggering. Thank you for the well wishes and for caring about the situation here. Let’s hope that the UN Peacekeeping force comes in and SOON! Blessings, stacey
Isaac, Thank you for writing and following this journey. We need all the voices possible to stop this genocide and return the people of Darfur safely to their home! Peace and Blessings, Stacey
Dear joshua hanasab, I am finding that there are moments of great anxiety and concern ( mostly at night or on the road) followed but moments of actually forgetting that there is such conflict and unrest here. I guess that is how the people who have to live in areas of war and violence adapt. Life goes on….you laugh and cry and sleep and eat and hope. It becomes a way of life, I suppose with a faith that it will change one day. For us, it is temporary and therefore easier to get through. I do appreciate traveling and sleeping with relative ease much more though. WE are very blessed, and yet there is great danger in our own country as well, depending on where you live. I think one of the greatest sorrows in areas of violence is the loss of spontaneous living. Choice is one of the great gifts that we so often take for granted. Peace Always, Stacey
Corey Griffin, thanks for watching and I’m glad you find them informative. we learn more every day here and look forward to the rest of our trip and work here. Together, we can stop this genocide! Salaam, Stacey