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Breathing Sand

I have a cold which includes a headache, and I’m feeling miserable in one hundred degrees plus weather, and I’m breathing this fine sand with every step I take, and then we make it to Adef’s house. His two youngest boys, Abdelmouni and Gabriel, also are sick and surrounded by suffocating heat and breathing the fine sand around them and fighting a losing battle against flies, and this is their home.

Adef regularly walks a long distance to tend to a garden he planted away from the camp. His tomatoes failed, and Achta says that food rations do not last thirty days. When Achta gets up, Adef takes over holding the now sleeping Gabriel and starts swatting at the flies — too many. Adef and Achta are warm and welcoming and affectionate. From the first time I met Adef, I connected with him, maybe because of how I see him hold his children, the way I think I hold mine.

Adef wishes he could go back and defend his real home, Darfur, but life in the camp would be too difficult for his family without him.

Peace, Gabriel

P.S. I now write this sitting on a bed in an air-conditioned room. I took cold medicine, after eating and drinking two bottles of water.


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