Fatima's gift

A Darfuri refugee's generous spirit touches the heart of a Western photojournalist.

Fatima Adam Nour lost five of her nine children in the Darfur genocide. She and her diminished family then walked for a month through the desert, carrying only food and water, to get to the safety of a refugee camp in neighboring Chad. In the camp, there was no water, little vegetation, and no escape from the heat. Yet here was Fatima, graciously inviting us in.

The translator and the writer I traveled with were male; as Fatima spoke, she looked toward me – another woman, a stranger from far away. I felt her quiet strength, her calm. When we got up to leave, she pushed a packet of powder, like Kool-Aid, into my pack and would not let me refuse it.

Back home now in the land of abundance, I often think of Fatima's gift. I wish I could tell her how much her generosity affected me. After everything she's been through, she still exudes grace and dignity ... and I, who have so much, am richer for meeting her.

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