“All of these here, born here in the camp,” the camp leader told us, as we look at a group of wide-eyed kids. The others in the group, they were probably either in their mother’s womb or too young to remember Darfur. He also said that they do not have the resources to dedicate curriculum towards Darfur history in their schools, so that it’s up to the parents to pass on their culture, through stories and songs.
Today was our last visit to a camp during this trip, my ninth i-ACT Expedition to Eastern Chad since 2005. I’m excited to go back home to see my children, right in time for the holidays. I miss them and I worry about them, even though I know they are safe and well looked after. Sometimes I wonder if I bring too much of my “eyes of a father” to the camps. Do I have too high of expectations, seeing children from my own western perspective? Do I have the right expectation, or am I measuring the wrong way from the start? Should I wish for the little, beautiful girl with the black scarf around her neck the same things I wish for my son and daughter?
I am realistic enough to know that my little team and I do not have the power to bring immediate positive change to the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions of children in this region alone that deserve it. Here I am coming on my ninth trip, and I am seeing so many more children still with little hope to return to a peaceful home. It can become paralyzing. So I try not to think about it, and our team huddles to figure out what we can do–for that little, beautiful girl with the black scarf, and her family, friends, neighbors. We figure, what if our own families, friends, and neighbors are touched and also pitch in; then maybe we can help more!
You know, to hell with status quo expectations and looking at all the limits and what cannot be done. What CAN we do?
As I walk the camps, I always make sure that I look in to the eyes of a child, one specific child out of the dozens following us, so that I do connect with them, with my eyes of a father.