Educating Darfur Refugees
A Jesuit's Efforts in Chad
By Patrick Samway S.J.
As a result of the genocide in Darfur, tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee Sudan and seek refuge in overcrowded, desolate desert camps along the Chadian border. Educating Darfur Refugees is the unforgettable journal of a Jesuit priest who spent nine months in 2004 and 2005 working in three of those refugee camps. Samway’s diaries, deeply informed by his perspective as a religious scholar but as engrossing as any page-turner, are an unflinching eyewitness account of one of the greatest tragedies of our time.
Charged with the considerable task of setting up schools for refugee children, Samway recounts his experiences with scarce food and water, nonexistent educational resources, and the remarkable people he encounters along the way. The life-changing story that unfolds, an engaged personal narrative capacious enough to embrace both George Bernanos and Walker Percy, is necessary reading for anyone concerned about Sudanese refugees and those who share their plight all over the world.
Patrick Samway, S.J., a former literary editor of America, the nation’s premier Catholic weekly, is an emeritus professor of English at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He is the author of Walker Percy: A Life (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997), a New York Times Notable Book; and editor of Percy’s Signposts in a Strange Land: Essays (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1991) and A Thief of Peirce: The Letters of Kenneth Laine Ketner and Walker Percy (University Press of Mississippi, 1995). He is the editor, with Ben Forkner, of the noted two-volume anthology Stories of the Old South (1989; rev. ed. Penguin, 1995) and Stories of the Modern South (1977; rev. ed. Penguin, 1986). He is most recent book is The Letters of Robert Giroux and Thomas Merton (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015); next book, based on the correspondence of Robert Giroux and Flannery O’Connor, is forthcoming from the University of Notre Dame Press. Among his recent honors is the Newbridge Silver Award presented by the Gerard Manley Hopkins Society at their 30th annual Festival in Newbridge, Ireland, on July 23, 2017.