I’m so excited about Mia Farrow appearing on Larry King tonight and applaud CNN for covering the Darfur crisis and helping to channel people to action. I wish more of our media would pay attention.
I have been fasting on refugee rations for a couple of days now. I though it really important to have my own experience eating what so many refugees have been surviving on for years – day in and day out, every single meal. I went out and bought all the supplies and looked closely at the nutritional content. While we already know that the rations equate to a little over 1000 calories a day, and that there is some protein in eating peas or beans and grains, there is absolutely no other nutrition – no vitamins A or C, no calcium, barely any iron. Think of the children growing up with no milk, no vegetables or fruit. The women getting pregnant and giving birth with no folic acid. The refugees suffering from anemia with no iron. And if they needed medical care for malnutrition there aren’t any medical aid groups to help them, since the majority of them have been expelled! And then imagine getting a months-worth of food aid with a hungry family to feed and having to restrain yourself to ration your sack of food every day to make sure you have enough to get through the month. How painful that process must be.
I remember speaking with refugees in the camps who had told me about the terrible hunger they faced as they crossed the desert to safety in Chad. Many of them had held onto a small portion of seeds that they could hopefully use to replant their harvest, and it took everything they had not to eat the seeds themselves. I remember the story of one family of 7 that arrived at a camp when they were no longer registering refugees. They had to sit and wait for two more weeks under a tree until they were allowed to officially register and receive a tent and their own monthly rations. They lived that month on food donated by other refugees. The beauty of that generosity is so much more powerful now that I realize how little the refugees in the camp actually had to give.
Why do we in the US have so little to give when we actually have so much – so much power, so much influence, and such loud voices?