Darfur Fast for Life

We fast in solidarity with the hungry and starving in Darfur and for lasting peace in Sudan

A Growing Community – for Leila

May 11, 2009 By: Gabriel Category: Gabriel Stauring

It’s been inspiring to see so many people join Darfur Fast for Life. I’ve been reading the comments on this website and reading e-mails from people that are joining. To all the people that are fasting, what is happening in Darfur is not acceptable, and the way the world has responded is also completely unacceptable.

I first visited Darfuri refugee camps on the Chad-Sudan border in 2005. I thought it was going to be my only trip, since there was just no way this could go on for long. I am now getting ready to go on my 8th trip.

In one of those visits, I fell in love with a little girl called Leila. She is beautiful. Walking barefoot on burning-hot sand, she was always smiling and right next to me. I got to carry her for quite a while, as other children led us across the camp to see the market. I have Leila’s picture on my phone, always on the screen when it lights up.img_0051


This past Saturday, I was with my daughter at a religious celebration, her first communion. I am not exactly religious, but I felt such joy to be with my beautiful girl and see her growing so strong and witty and smart. We laugh so much. I can’t wait to see her life unfold.

As the ceremony was about to begin, I reached for my phone to turn off the sound, and little Leila, with her orange hair–a clear sign of malnutrition, looked at me smiling. I got really sad, thinking about her and her parents, wondering how much joy and how much hope they experience. The future of Leila is so much less certain than the future of my Noemi.

1 Comments to “A Growing Community – for Leila”

  1. Gretchen Wallace says:

    Dear Gabriel,

    I didn’t know you had a daughter. How amazing it is that you travel so far and wide for your work on Darfur. And that you share so much love and concern for little girls like Leila on the other side of the planet. Thank you for sharing her picture. I feel such sadness given her living conditions, even despite the joy in her eyes.