Response Magizine Online Logo : Seattle Pacific University

Response Autumn 2007

From the President



Books, Film, & Music



My Response

Letters to the Editor

From the Editor

Response onScreen



Response Home

Seattle Pacific University
Autumn 2007 | Volume 30, Number 2 | Features

Allison Hosley

Home is where God needs her

Allison Hosley
Allison Hosley

Night Life in Darfur

You’re getting used to the gunshots. A canvas of stars is sparkling tonight over this humanitarian aid camp in the western region of Sudan known as Darfur. Most nights, you sleep in a concrete building you call “the team house,” back in the capital town of El Geneina in West Darfur. Tonight you’re at the camp, falling asleep in your clothes, resting your head on your arm, and staring up into the African sky.

Soon, your sleep is shattered by the blasts of massive 50-caliber machine guns mounted on trucks. These inspire more explosions — retaliatory fire.

By now, you’ve learned the difference between the sounds of mortars and bombs. The violence is too prevalent to ignore, moving about like thunderstorms. Just a few blocks from the team house, troops are preparing bunkers to stand as the front line of defense against tribal aggressors from Sudan’s western neighbor, the country of Chad.

Between 2004 and 2006, Seattle Pacific University graduate Allison Hosley ’98 experienced 18 months of danger like this, sleeping in the middle of the 21st century’s first genocide. The African and Arab populations she came to serve were in conflict, and continue to be today. African villagers rebelled against Sudan’s Arab-dominated government. The government-supported Arab fighters called Janjaweed — which means “devils on horseback” — attacked the villages of the farming tribes with devastating consequences.

And yet, when Hosley describes her life as a nurse and aid worker in some of the world’s most turbulent zones, her storytelling exudes passion. With her smile (not to mention her tan), she might be reminiscing about a trip to Fiji. She lives for challenges that would give other people nightmares. This, she says, is her “calling.”

The Sudanese heat runs between 100 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit on an average day. “There’s dust in everything that you own,” explains Hosley, now stationed in Uganda. “You’re never clean, except for that first minute when you’ve finished your shower.”

Even as they fight the heat, newcomers to Sudan must adjust to the food and water, and they often experience what Hosley calls “the Darfur weight-loss plan.” Some take antibiotics. Others give up and go home. Hosley decided to risk illness and abstain from medication. She was sick for six months. It was the cost of showing respect to the people of Darfur: “In that culture, if you show up at somebody’s home and turn down food or water that they’ve offered, that’s a slap in their faces.”

With daily news reports of slaughter and famine, Westerners may expect the suffering Sudanese to be despondent and hard-hearted. The opposite is true, claims Hosley. “I’ve never met people with bigger smiles, who are quicker to trust,” she says. “They open their hearts, invite you into their homes, and give you the last of what they have.”

Next Page 1 of 3

Back to the top
Back to Features Home

PRM agrees with most yourng artisits who describe photography as both empowering and dangerous for street-involved youth. It may strengthen their identity, but at the high cost of vunerability. Hosley collects water for testing from a Medair "water point" (a borehole and a hand pump in Uganda.

For more photos, visit the Photography Gallery.