14 June 2008, 12:05am Saturday
When I first started getting involved in the Darfur movement, the almost complete focus for everyone that cared was Darfur itself. The experts did talk about threats to the region, if Darfur was left to burn. As months and years went by, the talks turned to the need to think of Sudan as a whole and find a comprehensive approach to the country’s problems, including Darfur. Now, we must focus on the larger region, including Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan…and Darfur.
I know that this should have been the focus from the beginning, but we tend to want to keep it simple, since it’s so difficult to create attention for even the more focused and manageable to the mind Darfur.
Every trip to Chad has included being close, in time or in distance, to fighting. Hearing bullets being shot in to the night air became fairly normal. Being told and warned of bandits robbing cars was expected. Rebel activity was just part of Chadian reality, I felt. But, the big fighting and horrors were still in Darfur.
Being caught in N’Djamena during the coup did not feel normal, and we did not expect it. This time, we came even more aware of the realities of Chad, but it’s not exactly every-day stuff to me hearing of heavy rebel and Chadian military movement and a possible repeat of all-out fighting in the capital.
We are safe, and safer than in February, when we were stuck just next door to the bulls-eye of the attack, the presidential palace. Our friends in Abeche have treated us more than wonderfuly. Suzanne found us this great room in the fitness center, and we have the luxury of mattresses on the floor, a desk to set up my computer, and our trusted Bgan—our connection to a satellite high in the sky, where we bounce our video and journals on to get them down to you.
Our team here is feeling good, given the circumstance. Colin is a bit under the weather, but staying positive and laughing with us. Scott is great, also maintaining his sense of humor, as he writes his journals and answer comments. Katie-Jay is on doing all of her work and also staying positive and funny. We’re a good team.
It is night out here. Usually in Chad, from the little I know, if there is any fighting, it slows down after the sun sets. I am hoping that Chadians wake up to peaceful day. The team is very disappointed at not having made it to the camps yet, but we are more concerned for the people in the camps and what another round of war does to them. I think of the children in the camps, and I wonder how their parents manage to keep them healthy in mind and body with all of this chaos around them.
I also think about my children, Gabo and Mimi, and don’t want them to worry again. I’m not saying this because of that, but we really are doing OK here and feel safe. We will continue working, sending up video and journals and responding to your comments. We will wait and see what the sun brings and make the best decision based on the best information.
Please tell people around you to take a few minutes and do some of the actions we have suggested or any other action they can do that will help bring positive change to this region of the world.
What happens to boys that, in some way, get used to war when they grow up and become men? I know that they cannot get used to it, but it can be all that they know, if it’s always around them. Please help us make peace a habit.