Seeking Empathy - A One Month Refugee Diet

Eric’s Journal – Day 5

Today is day 5 and I just finished doing some light yard-work at my Grandma’s house. I only worked for a half-hour, and didn’t do anything very intense. I managed OK, but toward the end I could tell that I wouldn’t be able to keep it up for much longer. I am thinking about all of the i-ACT videos I’ve watched where people are doing much more intense manual labor: digging ditches, making bricks, pumping water, carrying large sacks of grain around. On only 1,000 Calories a day I have lost over 5 lbs in just 5 days, and aside from the very minor yard-work today, I haven’t been physically active at all. The numbers add up, but just barely. With the amount of food the refugees get in the camps they’re kept alive, but just barely. Any disruption in the delivery of food aid will spell disaster for millions. And the grim news is that the World Food Program and other organizations have suspended operations in parts of Darfur because of attacks on relief convoys. There is no way for me to connect and empathize with this volatile aspect of the food aid situation. I know that my food, however little there is, will always be waiting for me.

This afternoon I helped my Grandma pick persimmons from her tree. This activity reminded me of Adam, a truly inspirational leader that Stop Genocide Now met on i-ACT 4. He told us about the bountiful garden he had in Darfur where he grew papaya, mango, palm, guava, and many other plants. But he lost it all when he and his family fled the village. I can’t possibly imagine what it would be like if it was my Grandma in a village in Darfur that was attacked and forced to flee while people all around her were murdered and raped. Adam doesn’t have to imagine because he lived through it, and now he is stuck in a refugee camp with nowhere to go. His own government is perpetrating the genocide so he and everyone else in Darfur must look beyond their country’s borders for hope. Watch the video below to connect with Adam and hear his message:

“We have no hope except international community. And my message to American people — not to forget us. You must stay with us because without your help we don’t see any hope, no hope at all. We are desperate in need of international community.”

Maybe I will come back to my Grandmas and pick a persimmon for myself at the end of this month, but for Adam there is no end in sight until the international community steps up and takes ACTION to end this genocide.

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