Saturday, June 6, 2015

To Nyemba (IDP camp) we go!

June 6, 2015

It’s 9am on Saturday morning here in Kalemie, apparently there was another party at the club last night, we were in bed before it started so we were spoiled for about an hour thinking maybe they wouldn’t start…they quickly proved us wrong :-/ Rocco was getting bit left and right even with the mosquito net so it was a rough night for all of us L but today is a new day!
So yesterday was quite the day. After meeting with Mr. Guy Marie at OCHA (and using the Internet!) we came home for lunch then went to UNHCR to meet with Guening who is the head rep for UNHCR protection (as Mr. Roger Hollo is out of the office till next week). We spoke briefly about our mission, TRP and what we would like to accomplish while in the field. Guy Marie gave us some good information in terms of requesting assistance (i.e., if it falls within the immediate cluster of UNHCR’s current demands etc…). He was receptive, said he would revert back to me once he spoke with Mr. Hollo.  So last night, Ethan and I prepared dinner (spaghetti and avocado tomato salad) for the family and Malela, while we were cooking I got a call from Guening asking if we had permission from the local authorities in Nyunzu to film. Technically we do not, we have permission for TRP to operate in the Katanga Province but not specifically in Nyunzu. So today/this morning Guy Marie said he would accompany me to the CDD, which is the Central Deputy District of Kalemie I assume. If we register with them, they can grant us the permission to operate in Nyunzu. Overall, getting permission and clearance and transport to do this work is overwhelmingly difficult L however, by the sounds of UNHCR and the way things are going thus far, I’m feeling hopeful that we will get there! Also, yesterday I sent money to Kapondo and his mom to come to Kalemie so they will leave Moba today on the boat and come visit us for a few days- they will stay at Malelas house while in Kalemie.
So while waiting for Mr. Guening to arrive for our meeting, I visited with Mr. Nyebo who was head of office UNHCR in Pweto a few years back. We were friends then as I was in and out of Pweto, he left there when they closed office and transferred here to Kalemie, Nyebo has been here since the very first IDP’s started arriving. He is a plethora of information!!!  We sat for a good time talking as he was giving me a history lesson on the current situation-especially pertaining to those in Nyunzu. I will attach some of my notes at the end of this blog- I doubt most of you will find it as interesting as I do but I can’t wait to delve into this matter personally. I will return to UNHCR today to speak with Nyembo more and we are going to interview him as well.
This afternoon Malela asked if we could take the kids to the beach for a little break, Guy Marie and mama Theresas kids have been more than kind to Rocco (right now Rocco is sitting with Michael and Sevan playing). So that will be nice. Also, there are train tracks literally behind the house and as we are on the second floor we have a clear view when the train passes- one of Rocco’s all time highs of the day!
I’ll write more before I post this today- or tomorrow. It’s very possible we will leave tomorrow for Nyunzu, maybe Nyemba.


Ok, it's 10:20am, I am here at OCHA, just met with Guy Marie. Tomorrow morning (6am) we will depart Kalemie for Nyemba which is an actual IDP camp (Nyunzu is a village where the IDP's fled from then back to after their IDP camps were burned down). He said the problem is the same, it is before the river so we do not have to cross over (saves us $60 USD) and we can make it a round trip in one full -long- day.
I am going to leave here shortly and go to UNHCR to speak with Nyebo a bit more, plan our interview and head back to the house. 
Should have a lot more to say tomorrow/there after.
bye for now,

notes: IPD's 5/4/2015 UNHCR-Kalemie

1st Setback:
Local Authorities were not accepting, or NEGLECTED to recognize the situation. They blame local and Intl NGO’s for filling the minds of Pygmies of humanitarian, human rights (see local and current News)

NOW- the local government for not doing anything upsets the Pigmy population so both they and the LUBA are strengthening themselves and forces to attack one another. The Pygmies claim/overtake X villages forcing the LUBA to flee.

2nd Setback:
LUBA used to take the Pygmy wives but the LUBA will not accept Pigmy wives. Rather, the community (at large) will not/cannot accept the Pigmy. In general, minds of African tradition, the father of a wife equals RESPECT. But, the Pygmies receive ZERO respect.
3rd Setback:
One former LUBA chief took a pigmy for a wife. They had children. Since the death of the chief, the ONLY living son is to become the chief. However, the community/population has refused! They claim witchcraft and ‘black magic’ and say that never can a pygmy become chief. So, the son then goes to the bush and organizes his own army to fight against the community.

Recent News:

Dozens of Congo Pygmies killed in escalating violence: UN

Wed May 13, 2015 3:08pm GMT
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Dozens of Pygmies in Democratic Republic of Congo's southeast were killed by Bantu militiamen in the past week, the U.N. peacekeeping mission said on Wednesday, in an escalation in a two-year ethnic conflict.
The Luba, a Bantu ethnic group, and the Twa, a Pygmy people who inhabit the Great Lakes region, have been in conflict since May 2013 in Katanga, a vast province known for its rich deposits of copper and other metals.
Local NGOs say that the violence is driven by social inequities between the Bantu villagers and the Twa, a hunting and gathering people who have long been denied access to land and basic services.
"Luba militiamen ... massacred several dozen Pygmy civilians and burned the residence of the chief of the Pygmy community," the U.N. mission's interim military spokesman Major Faycel Ben Youssef told a news conference in the capital Kinshasa.
The killings, which took place near the town of Nyunzu in northern Katanga, were revenge for attacks by hundreds of Pygmies against Luba villages and army posts, Ben Youssef added.
The Twa-Bantu conflict and violence by a local secessionist militia has swelled the number of displaced in Katanga from 50,000 in 2011 to about 460,600 by March 31.
In November, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR labelled the humanitarian situation in Katanga "catastrophic."
After a spike in tit-for-tat attacks in mid-2014 that prompted tens of thousands to flee, violence waned late last year before surging again in recent months.
The clashes, hundreds of kilometers north of the provincial capital of Lubumbashi, have not affected the province's industrial copper and cobalt mines.
Experts say that Katanga's security and humanitarian needs have gone largely unserved as foreign donors and U.N. peacekeeping troops focus on violence in the eastern Kivu provinces and Oriental province, ravaged by two decades of deadly conflict.

1 comment:

  1. Oh sweetheart please be careful, thoughts and prayers going out to all of you.....Beso's for Rocco