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Crump's documentary delivers stark look at tragedy in Sudan

WBTV reporter went with Charlotte minister, relief group on trip to ‘little shop of horrors.'

By Mark Washburn
TV/Radio Writer
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

Sudan: Suffering and Survival

10 p.m. today, WTVI, Channel 42

Steve Crump, after his fifth journey to Africa, brings his latest documentary to WTVI tonight, an examination of the ravage and slaughter of the Sudan through Charlotte eyes.

Crump – the WBTV (Channel 3) reporter who is an accomplished documentarian on the side – accompanied the Rev. David Chadwick, senior pastor at Forest Hill Church, and a Charlotte relief delegation in March. They delivered survival kits to refugees displaced by civil war and the ethnic conflict in the Darfur region.

Raised through donations and publicized by Al Gardner and Stacey Simms of WBT AM, more than $400,000 was delivered by Chadwick in relief bags called “Sacks of Hope” to the impoverished in Sudan.

In his stark travelogue, Crump describes the Sudan, the largest of the 53 nations of Africa, as a land divided by color and faith, “a little shop of horrors” where 200,000 have died in ethnic conflict and genocide and 2million have been displaced. It is a place where Arabs have battled Africans, Christians have fought Muslims.

Crump and camera venture into the mountain regions where children attend school in thatched huts with teachers borrowed from Kenya. According to estimates, more than 20 million Sudanese are illiterate.

Even finding safe water is a struggle in the hardscrabble region, Crump demonstrates, where conditions are barely above stone-age standards and public health issues are part of the fabric of the landscape.

Chadwick's delegation, greeted curiously but graciously, brought relief sacks, each containing a tarp for shelter, blanket, mosquito net, cooking pan, water container, sickle, fishhooks and millet, a staple food.

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