The impossible task we've been attempting is drawing to a close and I feel both absolved of responsibility and drowned in sorrow about the people we've had to leave behind. I'm not allowed in anymore and am suddenly redundant. Strings of half made thoughts race around my brain; jobs I never got around to, referrals lost in the depths of my phone.
Our final day of distribution started at 6.45am. Topless Louis from the woodyard/cold food had walked into Secret Sudan intending to write down the tent number and shoe size of one man and predictably found himself unable to escape until a downpour cut him off at 210 people. In a purely Sudanese area of a few thousand people, most of which only have flip-flops, I was stuck in a loop of manic laughter for several hours at the thought of how we could orchestrate this feat without causing more distress than we were solving. With a team of the eleven most energetic maniacs I could gather, we set out in darkness, wasted half an hour opening every bin bag with numb fingers so the CRS could check each shoe, rolled up into Secret Sudan and began silently delivering to sleeping refugees. We were done before the sun came up.
The remainder of the morning flew past and our suddenly twenty-odd-strong team delivered dozens of sleeping bags, shoes and jackets in a couple of hours. The third drop off was more problematic. Feeling they'd lost their voices, a few people directed their anger at us in the afternoon. Our shoes never made it to them, their feet were cold and hurting, but mostly their desperation wasn't for anything material. We failed at the last hurdle and couldn't deliver our final van-load of referrals to people in serious need. A man with a broken leg never got his backpack, many teenagers were left without shoes and we couldn't deliver any replacement clothing to people who were left with nothing after the fire. That was the tip of the iceberg, but the convoluted game was up. In desperation, bags of supplies were somehow taken from the van as Becca drove along and once people knew what was inside we could no longer pretend there was nothing of worth. There was no time for promises of tomorrow, even if we had been in the habit of giving them and we couldn't continue that afternoon. I've never had to make that call before and it wasn't the way I was hoping to leave the jungle forever.
I will write more when I can think about it.