Playing sports and exercising can provide a powerful feeling of freedom and strength. How many of you have not felt that special rush, after miles of running or during an intense competitive game of ball?

Today I went for a run here at the UNHCR compound. I ran around a square path, a very short square path in the middle of where “containers” serve as rooms. The square is about fifteen yards on each side. The compound is surrounded by a tall wall with menacing barbed wire. The run did not feel as liberating as my runs out at the beach close to home feel.

Darfuri refugees have been living in camps for nine years now. Some of them get to play sports. I wonder how it feels to them, inside of what I heard a refugee call an “open prison.” I like to believe that it does give them a sense of freedom. I hope it does.

For the Darfur United players and the refugees that support them, I can see it in their faces and hear it in their words that it connects them with a much wider sense of being and belonging. They are running all-out, with no limits.


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