We set up Camp Darfur at a high school that is in the shadow of downtown Los Angeles. We had lots of help from the students, but Katie-Jay and I still had to do quite a bit of work. After the set up, we did four presentations in their auditorium, speaking and showing video from the camps. We showed Ahmat’s video.
In it, Ahmat speaks of the way things used to be, when he lived in his village in Darfur. “That is very good. But here, not good. In Darfur, we are eating meat. We have camels and goats. We drink milk. In here, our goats and our camels, janjaweed and al-Bashir, they take from us.”
Katie-Jay and I are on water-only today, and, even though it was still morning during those presentations, I wasn’t as focused as usual. The kids did not know me, so they wouldn’t know if that’s just my normal self. When I do these water-only days, I miss food more than being hungry. I miss getting together and eating. I can see that Ahmat really misses his regular food also.
After the presentations, we went outside to be with Camp Darfur and the kids running it. The camp tells a little of the story of past genocide, starting with Armenia, then the Holocaust, then Cambodia, then Rwanda, and now Darfur. The students studied about each genocide and then spoke with their fellow students visiting the tents. It was pretty impressive.
Lunch time was not fun. Hundreds of students walking around with food that left the aroma that cravings are made of behind. They were all around us! A girl came back from off-campus with a McDonald’s bag. The burger and fries looked pretty good, actually!
I think a lot about Ahmat. He went back to Darfur because he wanted to continue studying and thought he could find secondary school in one of the towns in Darfur, one of the few standing. I wonder how he is. I wonder what he is eating. Young Darfuri men his age are targets in their own land.