Enter the Darfur United restaurant, and you’ll find camaraderie and a group of guys all too eager to share their food with you! Ok, Darfur United might not be the official name of the restaurant, but this is where the team will be sharing their meals for the next few weeks as they prepare for Sweden.
The food rations that the refugees receive in the camps have been cut, and their intake of calories is low in general, not to mention for athletes training twice a day. So in order to provide the players with enough fuel and calories to keep them going during training these next few weeks, we’re supporting the team with three substantial meals a day.
Each morning, following the first session of tryouts, we’ve been joining the players for their 9am breakfast at the restaurant. It’s here we begin to experience their different personalities as they loosen up, joke around and have fun striking poses for our cameras. For breakfast today, the guys ate something similar to naan bread, dipped in a thick bean and onion stew, followed by some hot sweet tea and hot milk. While eating, they sat in small groups, hiding from the sun, sharing the large platter of food. No utensils needed here, as they eat effortlessly with one hand, breaking a piece of the bread and dipping it to collect the chunky stew. Two lovely women help prepare the tea and milk. They giggle as I intently watch them pour, mix, and pour. The atmosphere is positive. Everybody is chatting.
I make my way around to each group of players huddled around a platter, turning down invitations to join them, “Please Sara, eat with us, you are welcome!” While I would love nothing more than to share a meal with all of them, where I too would dig my hand into the stew and sip on some sugary tea, I can only just sit with them, observe, and marvel. I marvel at the friendships growing between a group of guys who before Darfur United, literally refused to even share the same space, let alone, a meal.