We are leaving later than usual today but with the hopes that we will stay later in to the afternoon, as we are the convoy, that is to say the only car following our armed escort. We make the usual stop at the security office, tell them that we would like to stay until 2pm, and we are off! Our agenda includes many stops – but the first is Adam! Many of you might know him from “When the Devil Came on Horseback” and you will meet him again in today’s short video. We ask one gentleman at the school about Adam’s whereabouts – he points up a row and says “row here, end,” his arm reaches out moving up and down, “tree” his arm motions left. Okay, lets go. We pass a few donkeys, one explaining rather loud that he wants us out of his personal space, or maybe he wants us to untie him…hmmm…trying to not be too loud as most of our video already has me laughing in the background (good or bad?). We approach the end and another man appears “Adam?” we ask. He points and says something that we clearly don’t understand – he takes us passed a tree and to the left.
And there he is, Adam, a community leader, a teacher, an inspiration and a motivation to stand taller and stronger with the people of Darfur. We sit with him many hours, talking about the state of schools, his family, the library that he is building for the community and hopelessness that lies in the hearts of many who have been living here for three, four, five years. We begin to tell him of messages from you. We show him Macy Gray’s message of love and encouragement. We show him footage from i-ACT2 with Stacey and several From America with Love videos. We listen to the song that Greg Lawson from Redding, CA wrote and which has been shown all over the US. Tears slowly begin to flow down his checks. I hold my tears back – another time, another place, right? I have that feeling in my stomach, like when you go down an elevator 32 floors and land in the garage, Level 2, with a slight bounce up – your stomach a floor below.
“No hope except the international community. Without your help we don’t see any hope at all. We are desperate in need…Our people are dying everyday.” I am moved by Adam’s honesty. His willingness to share his life, his dreams and the progress he has made to make them real. But I also feel ashamed. Most people who know me well have told me on a number of occasions that I need to take a break. To go out, enjoy myself, stop looking at my blackberry, go to the coast, do something for myself. And I admit, I do these things. And I know that I do a lot for the people of Darfur. But we need to be doing more. As Adam said, the international community is their only hope. We need to be doing more. Please, today, tomorrow, and in your daily life take action, hold Adam, Yakoub, Fatina and the families in your hearts and minds. They are Us.
Together We Can Change the World,
In response to a few of Connie’s questions from yesterday regarding the general state of the camp:
It seems like there is enough food both for those who have money to buy small amounts from the market and those who get food from Secadev and World Food Program (WFP). Mostly we saw sorghum in the camp both raw and cooked. Adam mentioned that about 100 of the 14,000 have jobs of some sort. In the market for refugees (separated from that for the villagers living nearby) there was few fresh vegetables and limited beans. Yakoub said that mostly it is the barter system rather than monetary exchange. Both community leaders described the limited water available for the refugees and one aid worker described a water pipe being dug up during the night and stolen, which makes one or more of the water stations out of order until a new, very expensive pipe arrives. Overall, as you have seen, the refugees are building. After five years and very little change, they have decided to make their stay more comfortable, more permanent.