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“The Day We Left Darfur”

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“The Day We Left Darfur”

Posted by Laura Heaton on March 20, 2009

Reuters AlertNet ran this blog post yesterday, which provides a powerful narration of the expulsion of humanitarian aid organizations in Sudan from the viewpoint of an aid worker forced to leave.

"As I flew out of Sudan, all I felt was guilt. I knew we had no choice—we were being forced to go—but I kept thinking of the people I had to leave behind: my Sudanese friends and colleagues; the children smiling and shouting "OK" every time they see a stranger; and most of all the people living in the camps, who have already suffered so much and are now having to suffer even more.

I kept thinking of the women—who shared everything, no matter how little they had, who always had so much work to do, yet despite their hardship always managed a smile.

Just a few months ago the government closed down the women’s centres in the camp—where women who have suffered abuse could find support. But the women didn’t give up. Last week they made plans to celebrate International Women’s Day in the camp, and I promised I would be there to help them organise it. But I didn’t even have chance to say goodbye.

It’s still hard to believe I’m not in Darfur anymore—we are not in Darfur anymore. How is it possible that years of so much hard work can be torn apart within a few hours?

The day it happened will be imprinted on my mind for years to come. We had a meeting with the staff that morning—nobody imagined that it would be our last."

Read the rest of the post here.