Close to home

I strongly encourage everyone reading this to take some time to watch ‘Darfur NOW’ over the next few days. It is an incredibly inspiring and tragic story, one that I feel like we are all responsible to be aware of.

Part way through, I began thinking about what I could do. I realized I was thinking about my life, my future career, how I want to be able to make a difference and do all that I can to prevent tragedies like this. Then, I realized, that Darfur is in the neighboring country to where I am at this very moment, a mere few hundred miles away.

In school, and outside of school, I have learned about countless tragedies, wars, and genocides that are so incredibly horrific that I cannot even begin to imagine their reality. The vast majority of these events however horrible have always been on the other side of the globe. Never before, have they been so close to home. This is real, its right next door, it is genocide. I can’t wrap my head around that. I have always thought that I can begin to understand these tragedies, that I have some sympathy. I have no idea, absolutely no idea of the reality of these things. My mind is incapable, it won’t let me admit to myself how close it is, it won’t admit that after living in a sheltered and privileged world all my life, I am now in the midst of third world life. I don’t even know what to think. To the east is the war torn anarchy and terrorism of Somalia, to the northwest is war and genocide in Darfur, to the south there is yet more killing and bloodshed in the depths of Zimbabwe. These are but a few to mention, for a blood-soaked Africa surrounds me. Today Laura was telling me that fighting broke out in the streets when she was living in Uganda, but the worst of it was that there was no food to buy in the supermarkets. Believe me, this is all more real than you can imagine, more real than I can imagine, these are not mere words and letters, even as we speak men and women are fighting and dying, being beaten and raped.

I don’t know how I could sit at home in perfect safety while these things are happening. How do you live with that? Although it does not feel like it, I think that I am doing what I can by providing an education for the children here. Many of them are from wealthy families, many will be affluent members of the Ethiopian community in years to come, and a few will decide the fate of many. Let us just hope that they remember all the virtues we have so carefully worked to educate them with. Let us hope that things will be better for them.