Why Darfur? Because I can make a difference and so can you (Reasons #96-98)
As the Umda said, the new generation of children from Darfur must create their own road. One that is both from the old ways of Darfur taught to them by their parents and the new traditions and culture from life in the camps. “Only they will know what the path will be.”
This reminds me of a saying that the villagers and NGOs of Thailand used to paint on their protest banners, “Every one has a right to choose their own future” (reason #96). In many ways this statement of determination lead me to work for Darfur. It was shortly after I returned from living and working in Thailand that I was introduced to the genocide in Darfur. I remember thinking that this was my chance. I told myself many years before in high school that if I had been alive during the Holocaust I would have hid a person, or passed food to the ghetto, or tried to smuggle people to a safer place. Darfur is my chance to act for all those we lost in the Holocaust, and since, to the world’s worst hate crime, genocide (reason #97).
When I walk the camps, holding the hands of all the children, I feel I am working for each one of them individually. Working to bring them peace and a better life. And if I cannot bring them the better life, at least I can help build a road or bridge that might get them there. I know that I can make a difference in their lives, and I must never give up on their hope (reason #98) no matter how challenging, and sometimes frustrating it may be.
The night after our last visit to the camps is always sad. I become so attached to people I meet and I regard them as close friends. It was a year and a half between our last visit and this one. I hope that this time it will not be as long. On this visit, we heard most often that the Darfuris want us to return soon and often because our visits (and your messages to them) give them hope that they will be able to one day choose their own future.