Thursday, November 13, 2008
Last weekend was the big finale of the Tents of Hope campaign. Across the country, citizens who care about Darfur bought large canvas tents and painted them. Some sold squares as fundraisers; others gave the painting opportunity away for free. Last weekend, the tents from all over came to Washington D.C. where they were all set up on the National Mall. This moving display of such colorful, meaningful tents was quite impressive. Afterwards the tents are being sent to Darfur to serve as meager, yet cheerful, dwellings for refugees.
I liked Tents of Hope because it engaged so many people and offered so many opportunities to touch lives. First, the people painting the tent had fun being creative as they become more aware and more connected to the crisis. Second, the display in Washington must have been a powerful show of unity and passion (although I did not get to be there due to a family wedding, I've seen pictures and heard reports). Third, the tents will touch the lives of refugees living without much hope in Darfur. It will not only be a symbolic gesture (the paintings) but also a practical one (providing a living space). I like awareness events that are more than just holding hands and singing kum-ba-yah.
Kudos to Tents of Hope and their entire team. I hope and pray that the people inspired by this campaign will in turn take up the fight and press on. For more info and photos of amazing tents: www.tentsofhope.org.
In the photo: I am painting my squares on a tent at a Tents of Hope event in Raleigh, N.C.