“We run with only the clothes on our body, nothing else.” I’m trying to go through the day thinking of that first day story I have heard over and over again, the escape from Darfur. Today, I am fasting water-only. The people fleeing their village do not have time to grab provisions for the long walk across the desert. They usually have no idea where they are going or if they will be chased and killed; many are. They do not have the luxury of water, as I do.
I have read most, if not all, of the journals submitted by Darfur Fast for Life participants, and so many mention how our experience cannot come close to that of the displaced because we know when and where our next meal will come. It is absolutely true. They, on the other hand, run during the night and hide during the day. Some are ambushed at water points, janjaweed knowing that their targets will be driven by thirst to where water might be found.
Through one day of fasting, I am experiencing a little headache–but no fear or uncertainty. I have full bottles of water and snacks that I can eat anytime, if I wish. I have never in my life had to wonder IF I’ll have a next meal or next drink of water. One of our consistent problems back home is having to decide WHERE to go eat: should it be mexican; middle eastern; a turkey burger at Fatburger; fish tacos at Sharkeyz; the local Redondo Beach Cafe; GoodStuff’s healthy meals on the strand; huge plates at all-you-can-eat The Wok Mongolian BBQ; and so many more. Now I’m really wanting to eat, but not tuna and nuts, our staple food in Chad.
It is now dark in Guereda, the little town we are in. Thinking about the people that are just a few miles away living in refugee camp Kounoungou, I know that for them, during the escape, the darkness gave them some security. They would restart their walk towards the west and the Chad border–hungry, thirsty, afraid. I wonder if the parents would lie to their children and tell them, “It’s OK, we will soon find food and water,” even though many never did and were left in the desert. I think I would lie to my children, and probably to myself.