I hope you and your beautiful family are well. By “well” I mean much more than just in good enough health. I know that, every time I ask how you are, you tell me: “We are fine, Gabriel. How are you and your family?” From remote, harsh refugee camps, you have always remembered to send me messages of friendship and support, and you worry about us. I am humbled.
In all these years since we first met, you have never asked me for anything, and I know that your family goes through many hardships. Instead, you make sure that I’m OK, when I visit the camps, and you honored KTJ and I with the wonderful and humbling act of naming your newest twin babies after us.
It was with great concern and sadness that I received the news from Umda Tarbosh that you were leaving Chad for Darfur. I immediately imagined the dangerous journey for you, your wife, and your kids, traveling on roads frequented by numerous armed groups and bandits. I wonder how you must be feeling, going back to your beloved Darfur but also going back to a place that has not achieved what you have been dreaming and working for: peace, protection, and justice.
I know that you embarked on this journey because you needed to do it. The last time we were together, you shared about the urgency you felt about your children living in something of a limbo, where their hopes and dreams are limited to the boundaries of the refugee camp. You told me, “I will not be around for long.”
Many of us out here feel that we have failed you, your children, and your people. After nine years, Darfur is not closer to peace. We’ve seen the loss of hope and the growing desperation in the camps. When I started working on this cause, it was that: a cause. It was an abstraction. It is now so very real. It is your children, from your older ones — Abdulhamid and Raya — to your youngest — Gabriel and Katie, and the ones in between. Many people feel the same.
I received your text message:
Dear Gabriel, I hope you and your family are very well. We arrived in Sudan safely. All the best, Adam.
I tried contacting you, but I got no response. I do hope so much that you are safe and also “very well.” I hope you and your family are healthy and safe, but I also hope that your spirit is well and happy. I promise that I will work harder for peace, protection, and justice in your land.
I also hope to see you again soon.
Your friend always, Gabriel
Gabriel and Adam’s first meeting in 2008.