Darfur Refugee Family Portraits
We visited two Darfuri refugee mothers in camp Kounoungou. It was Felicia and I, and we had no translator. It was such a joy, combined with some sadness, to have them welcome us and show us their homes.
One mother found us walking and immediately gestured excitedly to follow her. We walked through the doorway to her home and then encountered a mud-wall maze. I tried to keep up with her, but after a couple of turns, I lost her. I waited at the last spot I saw her, and she soon came out—fixing a beautiful white scarf on her head.
She called her children over and arranged them next to her, posing for a photograph in front of her room. She was proud and so happy to see herself and her kids in the picture, pointing to each one of them with a smile.
She then motioned us to follow her, and off she went at a fast pace through the maze, out of her home, and through another door frame. After a shorter, less complicated maze, she went inside a room and came out with another woman. She might have been her sister or a neighbor, but within a few minutes, the new woman had her children around her, waiting for a photo.
They offered us water, and as usual, we refused as kindly as possible. We asked if we could take pictures around their homes. The mud walls and huts are beautiful, with flowers and other designs painted on them. We looked into their kitchens and other rooms and found a few bags of grain, but not much more food. They must make their reduced rations last for as long as they can, since there are very few opportunities to make an income or grow more food.
We said goodbye, and they thanked us, “Shukran,” as they touched their hearts. I felt guilty because there was nothing to thank us for. I do hope some day their children get to experience ripples of joy, along with kicks and hope.
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