As the team begins to share the experiences that they have started to encounter from Chad on yet another trip the word genocide has really taken on a true meaning for me. I realize how much this hits home when two people that have forever changed your life are on the ground in unsafe conditions. Its makes what we all do even more important, knowing that there are millions of lives in these unsafe conditions everyday, continually, that don’t get to come back home where its safe. Being a 22-year-old college student before now I lived such a narrow, self centered life until my eyes were opened. I didn’t know what genocide was. It was never something I had to worry about. My mind was full of thoughts about my future, my social life, and how I was going to be successful in the up coming years. I realized in September when Camp Darfur came to my college that I had a role to play and this and it wasn’t just my world, as I had once perceived it to be. I wanted to make a difference. I was extended an offer to be on the Stop Genocide Now team and now coordinating a new project Tent to Tent. It is so crucial to me as I see these people go through these atrocities that they know our nation cares about them. I don’t know what it would be like to live through genocide. What it would be like to loose my family, to go with out food, or to live in fear day to day. I want the people of Darfur to know we have seen their pictures, heard their voices and are working everyday to save them. The project Tent to Tent is intended to directly connect communities here in America to families in Chad. Through pictures, video clips, and letters people here can forever stay connected with the Darfurian’s, not only while they are in the camps but also staying connected when they finally get to return home to a safe Darfur.
Tim Nonn the founder of an organization Tents for Hope has had such a huge hand in this project and together we have gathered over 22 communities that will be united this trip. In his hometown he organized k-6th graders to paint half of a canvas tent, which is traveling over to Chad as well. In Farchana kids of the same ages will draw pictures on the other half. These drawings that fill the tent will represent much different stories and it will be back in the United Sates to observe when our team finally returns home safely.
For five years now the people trapped in these camps have longed for hope, for support, and for a voice. The refugees have a story that they want the world to know, and the people around our nation want them to know we care about their story. To me this direct connection between communities represents unity. Tent to Tent allows us all to not only stand up for Darfur but beside the people of Darfur, like they are our own.