Mothers, fathers, and teachers have been telling me that they can only maintain hope because of the hope their children represent. While in the camps, they want their children to grow strong and educated, so that they can be the future of Darfur. They would tell me this back in 2005, during my first visit, and they still tell me this now, at the end of 2011, on my eleventh visit. How much longer will this hope last?
As the years go by, they are still here – most of them. Some, especially boys, give up on finding a future here, so they go in to
Darfur to look for a road that might be longer than the length of a refugee camp. For many, the road ends up being very short, since the insecurity and violence is worst for combatant-age boys and young men.
We spent only two days in camp Goz Amer, and I leave with so many mixed feelings. Our friendships and connections are stronger, but that means knowing more of their stories and caring more about them, their families, and their individual and collective hopes.
Next up is camp Djabal. I have deep friendships there, and many people in the U.S. have connected with and also care for many of the refugees from that camp. Again, mixed feelings. I can’t wait to see Rahma, Ali, Buseina, and others from that crew. It also pains me to go there knowing that — they are still there. These kids are bright, beautiful people that want so much out of life. What will happen if, or when, they find out that they can only dream, if they keep their dreams within the camp.