Darfur Fast for Life

We fast in solidarity with the hungry and starving in Darfur and for lasting peace in Sudan
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Friday, April 17

April 17, 2009 By: Pam Category: Pam Omidyar

Friday morning, 6 AM

Today I am starting my refugee rations fast. Little time to reflect as I need to get the kids ready for school. Our eldest’s alarm clock went off at 5:30 AM, which in turn woke up our 3 year-old. I have no idea why the alarm was set so early, but she was already downstairs playing Wii before sunrise. Needless to say, sleep is more on my mind than food this morning—that and the fact that my kids should not be playing video games before school.

If you care, I weigh 142 lbs and am 5’9”

Will this fast work? I don’t know. Why am I doing it? The truth is that I do not know what else to try. I have participated in activist events, met with members of Congress, pleaded with world leaders, supported the efforts of The Elder’s to work toward peace, founded and guided an entire private foundation called Humanity United, which is dedicated to ending mass atrocities, including those in Sudan, and I have funded numerous other efforts, either via Humanity United or just by writing checks on my own.

Lots of people care about Darfur. But for some reason this passion has failed to bring about the political, economic, and social solutions that are needed to secure a lasting peace in Sudan. This has gone on for far, far too long. We too often forget that the pattern of conflict in Darfur is one that existed for decades between North and South Sudan. How do we bring lasting peace to Sudan and, in turn, the surrounding region? Perhaps this fast will help focus my own mind more clearly on that question.

1 PM
I went surfing and drank a full bottle of water—two things refugees don’t get to do. As we do this fast, physician friends told me to drink lots of water. Refugees’ No. 1 ask is for more clean water. With the expulsion of the aid organizations from Sudan, the lack of water is being used as a tool of war to kill Darfuris. The government in Khartoum has knowingly done this. Oxfam, which has been expelled, provided the major water infrastructure for the region.

Cooked rice and yellow split-peas in water are in a pot on the stove. I added no oil to the recipe, but did add some dried herbs. Made enough for future meals. I know refugees get cracked wheat. I am going to eat rice (I have a wheat allergy), yet another luxury of choice we have when we are not dependent upon others.

Made some herbal tea this afternoon. Tonight I’m going out to dinner with friends, to a new Himalayan restaurant. I know they will have dahl and rice. I will avoid the bread and the vegetables.

8 PM
Had a nice dinner with friends. Ate only water, rice, and dahl, and some padaman bread (very thin crispy bread made with lentils and flour), but admittedly probably ate more than a refugee gets in a meal.

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