Communities from America’s 50 States came together in Washington DC this last weekend. After a year of activism centered around their Tents of Hope tent, the Washington Mall became an unlikely refugee camp, hosting hundreds of tents directly in front of the Capitol. It was surreal to stand surrounded by tents in DC. The camps we visit in Eastern Chad also feel surreal, but in a very different way. Seeing regular people, in DC, standing up for the rights of others that are half-way around the world gave me hope. In Chad, I go through a roller-coaster of emotions, feeling joy at being surrounded by beautiful children but also feeling deeply saddened at knowing what they have experienced. The DC tents were adorned with colorful paint. Some looked like professional works of art, depicting images of the Darfuri’s journey from their destroyed homes to their life in tents. Some shared images of what their sister US home looks like, with mountains, oceans, and trees. Others were painted innocently by children of all ages. The site of all these tents at sunset in the middle of America’s capital city was just about overwhelming. Our leaders that have their offices a short distance from the mock DC refugee camp must participate in the vision that the Tents of Hope represent, a vision of peace, protection, and justice.
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