Tuesday, August 02, 2005

There is still some tension in the air about the big news yesterday - but as usual, people are just getting on with their lives as normal.

Well, trying to at least. It's hard to get on with your life if you have no sense of what the future holds and no power to influence it in any way. They may have never heard of Dante's Purgatory, but the people of Darfur are waking up to it every day.

After two years, living in a state of limbo is taking its toll on families and communities. It's not just the little things, like trying to decide whether you will stay displaced long enough to justify to cost of building yourself a brick wall or one made of plastic sheeting. It's the big things that are beginning to fundamentally change traditional institutions and social dynamics.

As I wander through the camps and towns, I dread to think of what the future holds for children who have missed nearly two years of school (only one-third of Darfur's children are currently thought to be receiving any education). What awaits the thousands of young girl I meet at the women's centers who have been raped rather than married - as well as those who have been left widowed.

Traditional coping mechanisms (like men taking their deceased brother's widow as their second or third wife so that she and her children are not left without a home or means of income) are already changing or becoming irrelevant in the camps. The holes in the old communal safety nets are gaping from the strain of the conflict.

While my friends at home agonize about the uncertainty of getting a new job, getting into the right college, or whether or not that gorgeous man will really call, the people of Darfur are held hostage to an entire life that is nothing more than a big question mark.

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home