Thursday, March 29, 2007 (Part A)
I was awakened around 1:30 am. I don’t remember when I went back
to sleep. I’m not sure if I ever slept. I went to sleep thinking
about the decision we have to make and the consequences. I was strongly
leaning toward staying another week. There were two challenges: justification
How could I justify staying another week? Visiting the refugee camps,
if that were resolved.
a) Leadership meetings – President Deby and other rebels, and
b) Mediation – helping the Darfurian leaders to obtain unity.
Where would I get the money? We could use our credit cards or request
money from home.
Around 7:30 am as I was lying in bed, I felt the sharpest pain in my
chest area. It lasted for about five (5) minutes. There were several
cessations then return of pain. I wondered if the pressure was the causative
factor, although I pride myself on my capacity to absorb or adjust or
handle the most tension packed situations. I was more concerned that
a prior heart condition had returned. It lasted until 10:30 am.
At 8:00 am I went to the courtyard. I was told that the governor had
agreed to our visit to the refugee camp. I mumbled to myself, “I
will believe it when it happens.”
I forgot to mention, during my morning walk I met Kurdofani. I had seen
him yesterday in the courtyard. He heads the Union of the People of
Darfur in Britain. He was headed toward the bush to meet Telhideem.
We shared our exasperations with how slowly things move in Chad. When
I mentioned that I had been to Belfast, he heaped lavish praise on President
Clinton for helping to resolve the hundred of years of conflict.
At 9:30 am sitting in the courtyard, eating an orange and conversing
with the Norwegian and four (4) Darfurian leaders, complaining about
the media, a call came to the Ambassador from Telhideem, he had the
authorization from the Governor. Everything was okay. I said, “Thank
God, Thank God!!” At 10:00 am Yahya was back at the hotel. He
was beaming. He had the documents. We were set to go. There was one
hitch. Mohammad couldn’t go. The Governor gave us authority for
only three (3) persons. Telhideem came to my room to explain. Mohammad
was very sad. I thought he would cry. He had been with us from the beginning.
Now on this most important journey, we had to separate. But the governor’s
word is final.
Yahya went to change our money. We were checking out of the hotel today.
There was high-level meeting going on in the yard. Musa, Khariss, representatives
from JEM, the usual Abeche group, i.e. the Ambassador and lawyer, etc.,
were all seated at a table. Soldiers were everywhere. When I returned
to the yard, I received a rousing reception. Everybody was smiling and
making some friendly physical gestures toward me. I was elated. These
are the moments, this show of gratitude and brotherhood; make it all
worthwhile in spite of all the hardships and disappointments. And these
were all Muslims.
It was 11:30 am when we departed for the refugee camp at Gaga. We arrived
at the entrance to the camp at 2:00 pm. We departed from the refugee
camp at 5:30 pm and arrived back at the hotel at 7:30 pm.
The camp is three (3) square miles. Seventeen thousand (17,000) inhabitants
dwell there. Thousands are still pouring in. The World Food Project
supplies 239.399 tons of food per month. The camp stretches out across
round rough landscape that is consistent with the area. Battling the
hard dry earth, eternally, is the green of life. Green trees, grass,
bushes insist on living, asking only for water. Mother nature and her
children have not let them down – most of the time. From water
beneath the ground, water from the sky and water piped in by human hands,
Mr. and Mrs. Green stay alive – and even barren soil is compelled
to give birth to more green and foodstuff which vouchsafes the perpetuation
of green and life.
When we entered the camp, the first stop was made at the military security.
We sat, conversed and took pictures with the soldiers. They were happy
to see us. The Cornel observed that I looked like him. I said, “Hundred
of years ago, my parents were stolen from this land.” There were
smiles all around.
After examining our papers, confirming that everything was in order,
we when to the camp manager’s office. A beautiful sister sat at
the door. The office manager was in Abeche. The assistant manager, a
slender man, gave us directions to the next stop across the street.
Three men dressed in white sat beneath a tree. They were the Chiefs
in the camp. They, too, welcomed us heartedly.
Next was the civil security officer. A huge black man was the head of
this office for all refugees. There was another man we met smiling with
a handshake. He was the sheriff of the Gaga camp. The big man suggested
that our first stop should be the hospital. “The hospital chief
would welcome us,” he said. He was right; the hospital chief did
welcome us. She is middle-aged, portly, and short of stature. She is
from Kansas USA. She greeted us with smiles and handshakes and an air
of arrogant authority. “Welcome,” she said, “but you
can’t take pictures in the hospital, nor can you interview anybody.”
Of course I understood the precautions. Still, it is hard to take it
from a Euro ethnic. I have mixed feeling regarding their involvement
or mission or philanthropic work. Thank God for the help they have rendered.
But to a large extent in many places, directly and/or indirectly, they
are the cause. So much of Africa’s ills, lack of progress can
be traced to their years of trafficking in Africa. Now, they come as
great saviors, caregivers, do-gooders, as though their hands were clean.
And it’s all Africa’s fault. So, Africans receive very little
benefit from their own suffering beyond handouts. Observe who heads
all the charity organizations. So, no matter how you cut it Euro ethnics
are in Africa to stay. In some way, shape or form they will always involve
themselves in Africa and they will always strive to be in charge.
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. ALL FORUMS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED FOR THE MONTH OF JULY AND AUGUST.
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.
On Thursday, July 24, 2008, @ 7 pm, Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry will give
a “Report to the Community,” on his trip to Uganda, which
will take place from July 8 – 15th. On this trip, Rev. Daughtry
will meet with Darfurian leadership and assist in achieving unity among
the leaders in Darfur. Come out and hear the Report. This forum is sponsored
by the National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry Concerned About
Darfur (NRLAA) located at the House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic
Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Dinner will be served starting at 6 pm.
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House
of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @
HYPERLINK "http://www.holnj.org" www.holnj.org.
NEED QUALITY CHILD CARE? – Call the Alonzo A. Daughtry Memorial
Daycare Center Located at 333 Second Street, (Between 4th & 5th
Avenues) downtown Brooklyn, NY @ (718) 499-2066. Immediate openings
in a state of the arts center.