Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 26, 2009-Moba, DRC

April 26, 2009

So it has been non-stop!

Marisa and I have been ALL AROUND Moba, Moba Port, Kirungu, just all over...we are running into returnees from Kala camp left and right! we have interviewed schools kids, teachers, business men in the markets, NGO staff, etc...We are getting both sides of the story which is honest and we are pleased with what we have done thus far. The returnees too are responding positively. It is obvious that this has never been done before- personally I beleive they are feeling empowered just by the opportunity given for them to express themselves- openly and honestly.

UNHCR has been beyond helpful, OCHA, ACTED, SFCG-so many organizations here have been exceeding all expectations in assisting us with information, stories, people, subjects etc-

As for the birthday- honestly had an AMAZING day :) we went down to Moba Port and were joined by some UNHCR, COOPI and local people :) Marisa had baloons and candles, it was a lot of fun! (And thanks Jamie for my bday smile smile).

OK, for the BIG news.....Guess who found me!? (even though yes, I had been looking for days)KAPONDO!!!!!!!! A few days ago as Marisa and I were returning from the field there was a woman waiting to speak with me. She had in her hand a binder and a photo of Kapondo and me (from Kala camp- 2007). Turns out she is Kapondo's sister! When I arrived at his house he was running to great me with the biggest cutest smile on his face-heartbeating our of his chest! We have spent the last few days together, he joined us for lunch on my birthday (he is 5 now and ate enough for 2 grown men!!!), we took him to Moba Port in the UNHCR vehicle (that was fun!) and then one of our drivers took him home on the motorcycle! I am going to attach photos-
Unfortunately, I have learned that he nor his 7 brothers and sisters are attending school- mom says she cannot afford it (it is US$12 a year per student), so Marisa and I are going to sponsor all of the kids for ONE year and purchase pencils and notebooks. It's terribly sad because many of the village kids are attending and those that don't become outsiders- complicated.

Ok, well we have a HUGE presentation tomorrow on our project...we are presenting the 5 min short (currently translating into French, then subtitles....ugh). OCHA set up the meeting and has invited EVERY NGO in Moba to attend-pressure is on :-/

Plan for next few weeks:
This Tues Marisa and I leave Moba for Lubumbashi on ECHO (European Union Humanitarian Organization), it is a small plane that literally lands in a field-used only by ngo's. We will be in Lubumbashi for a week for research and interviews. Back to Moba to receive the first convoy of returnees from Zambia (by boat), then we will travel south to 'FUBE' for a few days, back to Moba then Kalemie and return for final briefing to Moba- depart via boat to Mpulungu (DRC/Zambia border town)- then to Lusaka and fly from Lusaka to Joburg June 1st where we will spend 2+ weeks in post-production-editing. UGH- that was a lot to type out!? lol

ok, gotta run.
aksanti sana, tutuanana!

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