Friday, May 15, 2009

May 15, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Where to begin…
Convoy arrival: Moba Port Monday, May 11 2009

The first Convoy arrived early morning on Monday, we were waiting on the dock in the pouring rain. 321 Congolese ‘returnees’ arrived by boat singing and dancing praising safe arrival. This is a day I will never forget. To return ‘home’ after 10 years of living in a 5X5 square mile camp- I could only imagine. The tears, songs and physical emotions poured out through the drops of rain upon our heads and hearts. The process of departure from the boat to the transit camp- the entire town of Moba, Kirungu and surrounding areas were out of their homes and lined the streets singing and clapping, welcoming the arrival of the returnees, Home.

On Tuesday we deployed for Fube via UNHCR. Our truck had 11 people packed liked ‘sardines’ I can’t begin to account the number of times we got stuck, had to dig our way out of the mud via shovels and sticks. We were following behind a convoy of 5 large UNHCR trucks, 3 full of people and 2 full of their belongings. The program was to arrive and deploy in FUBE the same day, Monday- but our 7 hour journey turned into 13 and we had to stay in Pepa, half way-point, at the Transit Station. (See photo of boat arrival)

Pepa is an agricultural farming land what used to be home to many cows- healthy fat cows. During the war however all of the cattle were either stolen, slaughtered or ran from the land and only now are they slowly returning. The land is so fertile there is no need to fertilize. Pepa sits between mountains in a valley where its’ pastures reach the sun from sunrise to sunset.

We deployed Pepa the following morning at 5am for FUBE. Getting stuck along the way a handful of times, we didn’t reach FUBE until mid day Tuesday. Upon our entering the main road into the village, we were greeted by hundreds of kids, mothers, sisters and friends singing and rejoicing the arrival of the returnees. This again, was a moment that will not be forgotten.

Because we were unaware of our ever-so-changing program, we drifted off to a small farm where we interviewed 4 women farmers. They discussed their crops, the soil and FUBE as a whole. We then happened upon 'Mama's house' where we were in search of food- anything, water and a bath. Mama helped us, cooked us potatoes, gave us water to bathe and loaned us mats for our non-existent sleeping conditions.

We departed FUBE very early (5am...ugh) and arrived safe and exhausted to Moba by mid afternoon yesterday. I think my headache from the 'off-roading' trip is just now disapaiting...

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