By Akosua Albritton
Accompanied by his daughter Sharon Daughtry and Mr. Yahya Ousman, an ex-patriot of Sudan, Rev. Herbert Daughtry, National Presiding Minister of the House of the Lord Pentecostal Churches and Chairman of the National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry Concerned About Darfur (NRLAA), boarded an Air France jet for N’Jamena, Chad, Monday, October 15, 2007. His objective was to meet a delegation to get status on the civil war in Sudan and deliver a shipment to the refugee camp in Gaga, Chad. The genocide resulting from Sudan’s civil war in the Darfur region is such that millions are a part of a mass exodus to neighboring Chad. Gaga is one of the huge tent cities that have developed.
By October 20, Daughtry and company entered Gaga, bringing enough clothes, food and household supplies to fill 700 boxes, weighing a total of 1,800 lbs., filling a 40-foot container. The crowd cheered and followed the two trucks into the parking lot. This mission is the fulfillment of promises made in March 2007 wherein the NRLAA went on collection drives in the US and Daughtry assigned himself the task of personally managing the delivery.
Sharon Daughtry conferred with a group of twenty young women. Using French- and Arabic-speaking translators, Ms. Daughtry expressed wishes for social development and empowerment. Ms. Daughtry said, “African-American women are disliked, too, because of our skin color and because we are women. But we still achieve our goals and you can, too.” The other young women described their life of no formal education, early marriages and violence. In Sudan, marriage is permissible at age thirteen.
The other objective was not as clear-cut a success as the delivery. Rev. Daughtry had hopes of observing the United Nations African Union-sponsored negotiations between Darfurian and Sudanese leadership. These negotiations were slated for October 27 in Tripoli, Libya. While he wasn’t initially invited to this meeting, the president of southern Sudan, Salva Kiir, invited the group to another one in Juba, Sudan, wherein parties discussed whether they would participate in the October 27 meeting.
During a recent telephone interview Rev. Daughtry explained that due to the inability to get a flight from N’Jamena, Chad to Juba, Sudan, the group departed Africa on October 23, 2007. Daughtry said, “Many Darfurian leaders did not make the Libyan meeting. The United Nations and African Union continue the efforts to convene a meeting with full representation from both sides of the strife.”