Darfur Fast for Life

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

And we start.

April 26, 2009 By: Gabriel Category: Gabriel Stauring

Whenever I go to visit the refugee camps on the Chad-Darfur border, I have lost between nine and fifteen pounds. This last time, it was nine, since it was a relatively short two week trip. I’m sure that a lot of it is loss of liquids. I’m always thirsty and feel dehydrated out there, while drinking as much water as I can. Even so, during the past few years of doing “Darfur work,” I’ve gained almost 20 pounds–from not working out as much as I used to and from being so much on the road and not eating as healthy as I used to.

achta-guisma-adef-3When out at the camps, it is so strange to think about so many of us having to watch our calorie intake, in an attempt to not become overweight. The people in the camps, they never get enough, and their efforts focus on finding enough to stay alive and not too weak. On going back to see our friend Adef during our last trip in March/April, it was so disturbing to see his children so much skinnier and even more disturbing to hear that their youngest daughter, Marymouda, had died. They live so on the edge that illnesses that would be nothing for one of my children kill theirs.

I so admire Mia for embarking on this journey, which is going in to the unknown for her. She has spent even more time than I have hearing the stories from the survivors from Darfur. Fasting next to Pam and Shannon and the many others that are joining makes me feel part of a community that reaches across the ocean and includes Adef and all the people of Darfur.

I don’t know what will come from this fast. I’m hoping that it will be part of finding a solution. I am proud to be in some way coming in contact with Cesar Chavez, whose fasting is an inspiration to us. I met him many years ago when going to college. He is Mexican-American, as I am. His movement had a huge effect, going way beyond the initial farm workers he was working for.

Fasting is personal expression. Fasting is joining in community. Fasting is not accepting status quo. We won’t stop doing other work. All angles must be worked until there is change, real change on the ground. That is when we’ll stop.

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