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mia farrow

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February 7, 2010

The most abandoned people on earth

In  2007 only two aid organizations were working in the lawless and extremely perilous  northeast and northwest of Central African Republic. Various armed groups  were (and are)  killing, raping, destroying villages, tearing peoples lives apart. I was traveling with UNICEF regional director, my friend Esther Guluma.  At one point we had been driving for about 3 days in the northwest, passing the charred remains of village, after village after village. It was numbing. We didn’t see a soul. At one point we stopped the car and just waited. We had been told that people, those who survived the attacks upon their villages, were living in the brush,. They are profoundly traumatized. Maybe, if we waited long enough and if they saw that we were not armed, maybe they would come out. So we stopped the car and waited. After some 20 minutes  emerged two,  ten, then 50, then 100 or more people. They were emaciated and caked in dust, were wearing rags or no clothes at all. They greeted us warmly and asked for news-”did we know where the militia are?” and for food. They told me they had been eating leaves and roots and drinking swamp water. Many of the  children looked ill, they had skin and eye infections and their teeth were rotting out of their mouths.
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