Darfur Athlete Profile: Abdulsalam
Refugee in Camp Oure Cassoni
Abdulsalam lives in a camp of 27,000 people. He and his friends have one soccer ball to play with. Behing him you can see their soccer pitch, one of sand and hard earth. The harsh environment of the desert, and the hot sun prevent them from playing unless it is the early morning hours. Whenever they play, they take their shoes off, since most are sandals. Even if the ground is burning hot to the touch.
Children and athletes, and their spectators, would not allow for such deplorable conditions. In China, for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, athletes from around the world will be playing in brand new stadiums. The Darfur Athletes will not get this same chance. Not as long as we, the interntional community, allow peace and justice to be obstructed by the very man who commits genocide against his own people.
As an aspiring athlete and growing young man, Abdulsalam needs his nutrition. But in this camp, like those in Darfur, food rations have been cut, and more and more they are spread to feed more people. Previously, one bag of sorghum was to feed 4 people, now it needs to feed 6. A family of five people receive around one cup of salt, when it’s available, around six cups of sugar, 3 bowls of a soy-wheat cereal, five liters of dried lentils, and a few liters of oil for an entire month. When it runs out, some people can share with neighbors, but many drink only tea or water until the next food distribution day. Like many in his camp, Abdulsalam plays sports, and smiles even though he is hungry. Would we?
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