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Wednesday, June 10, 2015
June 9th/10th 2015
June 10th, 2015
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!