This is the third day we visited refugee camp Djabal. We are doing work for the Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools Program, which will connect students in the US with students in the refugee camps in Eastern Chad, starting with camp Djabal. It is fun collecting the profiles of Darfuri children and spending time with them at school and at their homes. They are so much like the children I’ve worked with in the US. They’re very much like my own kids.
There is one huge exception, though. All of the children we’ve been talking to have to grapple with some facts and memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. They’ve all seen their villages destroyed; they say nothing is left standing, where it was once their homes. They’ve all seen families and friends killed, leaving voids that we visitors just cannot see. They’ve had to walk weeks across the desert, with some not making it. They’ve had to settle in to a life of receiving and survival, when they really want to produce and thrive.
At times I feel powerless and ineffective. What can I do that goes beyond the symbolic and seemingly trivial? I really wish I knew what it took to bring about change for these children, even if it seemed almost impossible to reach. That way, we could go all out and exhaust ourselves, but going in the right direction. For now, I truly believe that our leaders and experts could bring about change, but the political will is missing. It is not easy to pin down how we can create that will.
For today—Sunday’s—action, we are reverting to what feels symbolic and trivial, compared to what is happening to the people of Darfur. The team here will be fasting, in solidarity with the children in this camp and the more than one million people that will go without food soon inside of Darfur. We will also make a small donation ($25 each) towards nutrition, through USA for UNHCR.We are requesting that you join us in the fast and also send in the donation towards nutrition. Besides this, in order to work on the political will that is missing, we would like you to call your Senators’ office and tell them about your fast, and that you expect them to be your LOUD voice in Washington. Action is needed now.Thank you for standing with these children.Peace,Gabriel, for the i-ACT team.