Day 5: July 14, 2007

Connie’s Journal


Today was full of mixed emotions. Returning with our friend’s, Gabe showed them videos of earlier trips and what we were showing people back home. We told them that we were taking their message back, I felt terrible! They were thanking us for doing this. But all I could think was: IT’S NOT ENOUGH! Don’t get me wrong I am not throwing in the towel, but this is really hard. We are here trying to make a difference, and will move forward, but this is just frustrating to see that every thing has deteriorated. Anyway, back to the story: Gabe thought it would be nice to bring a Polaroid camera. He is always taking pictures of them to take home, and they never get to keep one. So as you can see in the video they loved that!

Connie with HamaraLater I sat and talked to Hamara.She is the young girl who told us she wanted to go home. She briefly talked about her hopes and dreams of one day having babies and how she wanted them to be doctors and engineers. I was writing down her name because most of their names are unfamiliar and difficult to remember, suddenly I was swarmed by everyone. I don’t know if they thought that by giving their names it would help their chances of getting some help or it was just another way of connecting with us (the human connection).

Connie with child and polaroidYou know how sometimes you just click with someone? Well I clicked with the little boy whose father was killed in Darfur.His name is Alhafis.He was happy to receive a Polaroid of us. To tell you the truth yesterday I had to try very hard not to cry it was just too much to see his face, when the women were talking about how his father had been killed in Darfur. But today he was smiling and happy to see us again. Alhafis took my hand and walked me to his tent. He was inviting me to see where he lives with his mother and 2 sisters. I was so honored!

Girl proudly showing her neat homework!After our visit we went to see another young man who told about what he had witnessed in Darfur, but while he was cleaning up a bit, he wanted to look his best for the video (incredible how no matter the conditions, people want to look their best), another young girl demonstrated how they grind their millet then sometimes add a herb that some have growing in a little corner, and then how they cook and eat it. She was so cute role-playing the whole process. She also took me to her tent and showed me her homework she was very proud.

We went to visit a man we had also met riding his bike. His name is Adam, he was extremely polite and as soon as we entered his area he brought out his mat (I am told is offered only to special visitors) also we were offered WATER! (Which is like Champaign here at the camp). A teacher in Darfur, Adam now works for an agency. He also repeated the terrible stories we have heard over and over. It was time to go. We were told that we could stay no longer than 3:30.

As I was walking back to the car again I was getting emotional again thinking how helpless and desperate the situation is here. There are words that sometimes are used in these situations “God forgotten”. I don’t like these words! It places blame on who has none. These beautiful people are Man forgotten! As the car was pulling out of the camp, as usual the kids ran along side waving, I saw Alhafis.He waved and threw me a kiss, I threw it back. What can I say: This made for a perfect ending to an extremely emotional day! Amor y Paz Connie.

Connie with the Darfuri womenYuen-Lin with a Darfuri boy

P.S. I have replied to all of your comments (every single one) but some of them got lost for a day or two, Please look for them, I enjoy coming back to our hut (minus the bugs) and reading your comments, it’s like gasoline, they keep me energized. Thanks a bunch.

4 replies on “Connie’s Journal”

Dear Connie:
In all senses, you have explified the harsh conditions endured by these people and I am amazed by their strength, composure and natural beauty, as I am with all!

Take care!
gina and brandon

It is so emotional just reading the journal entries from all of you and just watching the videos, I can imagine how you must feel being there. Yes, the frustration of feeling there is nothing you can do to give them immediate relief and better their living conditions but I reiterate that the biggest gift you are taking them is “hope” and that goes a long way. I can relate to your emotions of joy and deep sadness when watching the video. The polaroid pictures was such a great idea. I’m sure they’ll be hanging their pictures in their tents with great pride. You can sense their need to connect with somebody outside of their very isolated lives.

We have heard about increased violence at the camps and more access to fire arms. Have you heard anything about this or does it seem that they are still somewhat protected within the camps? Do you know what the military convoy that sped by you was doing in the area?

We are continuing to spread the word here. Take care!

As a side question, how are you guys coping with the malaria pills and the side effect of “sensitivity to sun exposure”??

I agree with Teresa about how emotional reading all the comments have become, it brings tears to my eyes. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like there, but one has to be strong. You are all doing such a wonderful thing for all of the people of Darfur. I’m sure being there has made such a difference to them, knowing that someone does care, hopefully soon they will no longer be forgotten (by the ones who can put an end to this). In the mean time remain safe.

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