Journal of the People’s Pastor

“Writing The History I’ve Lived, Living The History I Write!”

DARFUR DIARY

Darfur Diary: Part X – My Journey To Chad, Central Africa
More Red Tape and More Red Tape (Part A)


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It was around 6 am, during my morning ritual I saw a lad of about 7 or 8 years old setting up his stand to sell something. When I passed back about 5 others had gathered. One had a baby in his arm. I reckoned this explained the pervasive marketplaces throughout the Arab / African world. At the very earliest age they start business.

After the morning exercise, Yahya gave me a report on the various meetings of yesterday and last night. Unfortunately, still they had not achieved unity. The thought occurred to me later, why not start at another point? With what are they in agreement? These are the areas to be considered:

Leadership structure
Ideology
Objectives
Tactics/strategies
Resources

If there is an area where there is consensus start there. Or, start with the easiest areas where agreement might be obtained. Then, I thought to myself, they probably covered these ideas. Anyway, I would discuss them with Yahya.

We ate breakfast together. Everybody around the table ate from the same platter. Whoever came in was free to join us. There is always water close by to wash for eating and prayer purposes.

Everybody’s fingers go into the foodstuff. I don’t mind the hands in the platter; my uneasiness is how people eat. Some people snack their lips, other open their mouth while chewing that gives a squashing sound. More and more, however, I like the practice of eating from the same platter. It forces a kind of togetherness.

After breakfast, Yahya, Waleed and the Brooklynite, rushed away. (I’d learned, the Brooklynite had 16 to 17 members of his family killed and his wife lives in N’djamena. I felt horrible once I heard and to think I was suspicious of him.) The Ambassador was in a talkative mood. I had met him earlier as I was going out for a walk. He was returning, “I do 30 minutes every morning,“ he said. “No wonder you look so fit,” I replied. And he did look fit. He is tall, maybe 6’6”, with an evenly proportioned structure, dark face, and keen eyes. He always wears white.He asked me what did I think of Darfur? I said, “I’m still trying to learn and understand. I really can’t speak intelligently about anything except everybody has been very hospitable and accessible. I would only express my concern for unity. The leadership must find unity.” I thought that was a safe response.

He leaned back in his chair, paused and said, “Yes, unity is the big question. Everybody, all the big powers, are waiting for unity. If they don’t unite, the government has an excuse not to do anything. We keep talking and eating, go away, come back, talk and eat, but we achieve little.” He paused; his face had a troubled look. He continued, “I’m very concerned for the future. This area is so important. What we do here could have an impact on the region. There is Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Central Republic, Chad and Libya all surrounding Sudan.” Slowly he shook his head, dropped another curb of sugar in his tea, leaned back again and whispers, “We have got to find unity.” Interrupting our conversation was the lawyer. They greeted each other and commenced conversing in Arab. Where upon I took my leave.

Around 8:30 am Yahya returned. He wanted a picture of me. The only one I had was on the cover of my book, No Monopoly On Suffering. He had been in touch with the Interior Minister; it was he who wanted the picture. Hopefully, this will end the bureaucracy and we can be on our way to the refugee camp today.

About an hour later, Yahya returned. He said, “Get ready we are going to see the governor when he calls.” It was after 10 am when the call came. In a few minutes, we were at the governor’s office. It was unbelievably plain. We entered a walled yard. There was a reception area that led to the governor’s office, a 12x20 space. All of the buildings were made of stone and mud. On our way to the governor’s office, we passed a white man. We learned he headed the Norway delegation. We were asked to allow him to ride with us. He had on trousers, shirt and tie and a suit jacket. He was red faced. He was blunt and formal, and said, “I’m here to find a solution. We can help the Darfurian people,” he declared authoritatively. “Oh yeah,” I thought to myself.

Inside the governor’s office were two men. Upon our entrance, we were motioned to a couch. The governor came in. He was dressed in blue traditional garbs. He wore gold-rimed glasses that set upon a narrow black face. He was slender, too slender, I thought. I saw the pack of cigarettes on his desk. I wondered if he was sick. He moved slowly, he seemed to be walking in chewing gum. He greeted everyone warmly, especially the white man. He asked a few questions, which I understood not. After about 15 minutes the paperwork was done. We were told he, the governor, would call us after 12:30 pm. It was now 11:00 am.

To be continued…

Upcoming Events

Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday Night Community Forums. All Forums are held at the House of the Lord Church from 7pm to 9pm.

Join Operation Life Line if you need assistance or know someone who needs assistance with their mortgages as it relates to foreclosures, predatory lending and/or subprime lending.

Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum Focus on Africa the 2nd Saturday from 2pm to 4pm.

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Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @ HYPERLINK "http://www.holnj.org" www.holnj.org.

On Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 2pm the 30th Annual Randolph Evans Memorial Scholarship Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held at the House of the Lord Church. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke will be the keynote speaker.

On Sunday, June 29, 2008, Evangelist Dawnique Daughtry-Pemberton, Pastor of the House of the Lord Church in Bergen County, NJ, will be the guest preacher at the 12noon Worship Service at the House of the Lord Church, located at 415 Atlantic Avenue.

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