Wednesday, June 10, 2015

June 9th/10th 2015

June 10th, 2015 7:19am- Kalemie

Woke-up this morning just before 7am, another beautiful morning here in Kalemie. The train runs right behind the house we are staying so Rocco gets to see it pass a couple times a day- always a highlight. Everyone on the compound knows the word ‘choo choo train’ now and they come to find Rocco (to pick him up so he has a better view) it’s pretty sweet. Guy Marie and mama T’s kids and Rocco have grown quite close, especially Michael and Sevan (13 and 9), they play together constantly. J

In front of Malela's house 
So our trip into the Nyemba camp was quite the day. It took us about 3 ½ hours to get there and another 3 ½ to get back so the time we had in the actual camp was limited. We managed to walk around and meet a few representatives of both the Twa (Pigmy) and LUBA peoples as well as with the committee, but I wish I had had more time…there were a couple sick sick! babies that we saw, that was heartbreaking really. In all my time spent in Africa (8 years now!) I’d never seen such a site L

I have to meet with Guy Marie (OCHA) and UNHCR to compare notes/statistics as well as find out which organizations plan to visit the camp (as of now no one is consistently visiting Nyemba -and it’s only 13 km from Nyunzu-apparently all of the NGO’s are all in Nyunzu). Nonetheless…we will do what we can on our end (TRP).

Mama Kapondo and Kapondo left on the boat yesterday L such a short overnight trip!!! But it was 100% worth it, I thought for sure we were going to have more days- like a week together but, due to the boat schedule and Kapondo’s studies, we had no other option.
I took him shopping for a school backpack in the market, just the two of us, what a joke!
mama Kapondo sister Odile and myself
They wanted to charge me $20 USD for a pair of used tennis shoes :-/ not to mention $20-$25 USD for a cheaply made backpack that would barely withstand one, let alone two books! Finally we managed to find one suitable in both material and price. We got him a couple other necessities then searched for reliable shoes- not a chance. They wanted to put him in Sunday dress shoes (it’s kind of a thing here…). Finally I called Malela and asked for his help. He and Kapondo were able to find not one but TWO pair of shoes for the price of (less than) one I could find. So Kapondo scored
J Then I gave mama Kapondo money FOR FOOD, sister the $ for Kapondo, Duba and Katempa’s school fees for all of 2015/2016. Finally as we approached the port I provided mama Kapondo with a donation from Johanna and Ernie (Portofino!) of $200 USD, which she is going to use to start a small business and thus provide for her family. She was over joyed. Also, as soon as I stepped foot into the port I almost immediately made eye contact with Agustine Kubikonse!!!! He had just arrived yesterday morning, went straight to our house but we were just leaving (we had an early- long and busy day yesterday!). He
view of Lake Tanganyika (back of house)
didn’t have our number so thought we missed each other. But we didn’t and that was just awesome, it had been too long. Augustine was in Kala camp (Zambia) and we have been good friends since 2007- he is working with the ‘floating health clinic’ along lake Tanganyika (distributing mosquito nets etc). He’s doing wonderful things and enjoying his work- family is good etc. I couldn’t be happier for him.

View from upstairs
Yesterday morning we had an appointment with Madame Flavienne at SFCG (Search for Common Ground). She was leaving for Lubumbashi via Moba/Pweto yesterday so we didn’t have many options. Our scheduled appointment was at 8am, Guy Marie loaned us his car (durable land rover!) so we agreed to put petrol in it, loaded up our equipment and picked up Malela and Kapondo, got to SFCG 10 after 8 but then had to wait for about an hour :-/ lol, she was in a meeting. Once we got the green light we started our set up and went over some basic questions and started the interview. It was interesting to hear about another NGO (on the ground) take on the current situation. SFCG does a lot of sensitization activities from theater to comedic acts, radio and dance. I inquired how the community involvement and overall reception has been, it’ll be interesting to see this and film is in actuality on Friday as SFCG is organizing a trip for us to go to Bandera (another IDP camp not more than 40 km from Kalemie). It’s cutting it close for us since we leave Saturday but it is what it is.
     We semi-made plans to film the fishermen this morning (5am) but they couldn’t confirm till late yesterday so we pushed that back till tomorrow morning (which is a good thing because we have been burning the candle at both ends all day everyday- and going without eating till sometimes 4pm L) –Rocco is eating A LOT don’t worry- mama has him covered ;) Today I made sure we had some fresh avocado and bread with salt, for lunch we will have rice with carrots and mama T gave us a cpl cans of mushroom! So lunch today will be a treat J

     Our plan is today is to get an interview with OCHA (Guy Marie), get the painter to paint over the new TRP wall so Ethan can apply his artistic ability and design the TRP logo- then we will solidify our shoot for tomorrow am with the fishermen, confirm our WFP mtg with Justin, swing by ECHO to complete registration of TRP, sit with the pastor to discuss the vulnerable/orphans at local schools in Kalemie (for the distribution of donations I collected from Portofino friends J).

     It looks like due to our overall schedule, we will head back on the boat Saturday afternoon, arrive once again in Uvira, overnight there one, maybe two nights get back to Kigali on Tuesday June 17th and leave Kigali for the states on the 20th of June. We were not planning on staying in Uvira but Malela and I have a lot of admin stuff to do (translating interviews/accounting/budget/project planning etc.) that we have not been able to allocate time to so, we will work on the boat and in Uvira.

     This trip has been quite a whirlwind. I am usually on the ground much longer; so my return in January I am going to have to plan a much more detailed schedule. Hopefully once our ECHO (European Commission humanitarian Organization) flights our next trip will be a lot easier (ECHO flights are for Humanitarian organization staff- they are free of charge; a small plane that travels between Lubumbashi, Pweto, Moba, Mwitabwe, Kalemie, Goma, Bukavu etc…all the ‘humanitarian/ spots). The only drawback in taking an ECHO flight is you are only allowed 20kg of luggage :-o    ;-)

     I will sign off for now. I think I will make my way to the OCHA office, speak with Guy and schedule a time for his interview, send this off and get our day started!



1 comment:

  1. Wow, exciting trip! However with all you can do for the people must fill your heart with love and joy. Just hearing about this makes me want to also do this, need help? I bet Rocco is loving the train and playing with kids, he is such the social butterfly. Have a safe trip honey, Beso's for Rocco....LUBTTU