Sunday, February 21, 2016

Saturday, Sunday and today, Monday :-/

Saturday February 20th 2016

It’s a lazy and hazy Saturday morning, I am JUST now having my coffee (my excuse is there is no electricity…) and it’s well after 10am :-o
Rocco is downstairs playing with the kids, Ethan went to drive mama Tete around to do some errands and in a little over an hour, we are taking all of the kids to the beach- they are pretty excited! Kaka came by last night and we discussed plans for this weekend much of prioritizing what needs to be done etc…Today is going to be a work at the beach day as we all need rest. I was thinking yesterday, even if we do one vs. five interviews in one day- it’s still draining, the loading, waiting, the ridiculous traffic to get there and the dusty streets, the HEAT, it’s like it never fails, and it’s just exhausting. (Then when you get to the UNHCR office, for example, you are blasted with AC and then you melt, lol). Not to mention the setting up of the equipment, Rocco, and the depth of the interviews…they are usually pretty heavy questions.
Speaking with Mr. Yacuba Sere yesterday was an eye opener. He had just finished a conference call with Geneva and looked exhausted, I felt terrible that we were to add to his fatigue, but a champ he is. Mr. Yacuba is the program officer at UNHCR Kalemie, prior to his post here he was in Chad, Niger- all over Africa. He is a man of few words but the words he elects are significant. There is a lot that I found out about from him yesterday that I was unaware of. Currently the IDP situation or ‘population movement’ is approximately 55% due to armed militia groups; and less than that due to the IDP’s. Now, that is not to say that some of the IDP’s are ‘moving’ because of the armed groups (ex: the Batakatanga using the Batwa then the LUBA blame the Batwa for being ‘tattle tales’). And, to confirm what all others have said during the interviews; there continues to be a gap in funding and most certainly with regard to latrines (which is so odd!). Why can’t they fund an additional amount for even the simple-pit EMERGENCY latrines, they are much cheaper and SO NEEDED!? Ugh
Nonetheless, Mr. Yacuba was very thankful for TRP’s contribution and is going to assist us in opening a bank account here in Kalemie so that upon my/our return, should I succeed in fundraising for more latrines, we can more easily send the funds direct. Additionally, we are going to get registered with UNHAS (PAM) for humanitarian flights (it’s a TINY plane and costs $100 per person but is pretty reliable and it’s great for back-up)- ECHO we will re-register with OCHA, but flying ECHO is never a guarantee as if someone of higher rank (which is ALWAYS, lol) chooses to fly, you are ‘bumped’.

In addition, we  briefly talked about doing an all-encompassing humanitarian film that will act as an information and peace cohabitation film. We would work with all current partner organizations and each would contribute their work, we would need very little funding and once complete, we could literally travel with it as could/would UNHCR and other NGOs. We would reach a much larger audience etc… Further to this, there is a push for returning Rwandese refugees from DRC back to Rwanda. This is something I will discuss during my meeting with UNHCR Kigali and counter with UNHCR here, and Kinshasa.
Ok well, bathroom is free and it’s my turn to bucket shower ;-)
I’ll write more later and post pics as well.-k

Sunday February 21st, 2016 
Yesterday was Saturday and today is a very-already- hot Sunday! It’s just after 9am, I’ve kind of been up since 4:30am :-/ as our weekend comes to an end so does the start of our last week here which means there is all too much on my mind and way too much yet to do.
I can’t beat myself up for taking a little break yesterday however, just the pure joy of watching all of the kids play in the water, volleyball and eat and drink ‘sucre’ all day was pleasure enough! Literally, mama Tete and I had to tell everyone to get out of the water as it was after 5pm! I made dinner for everyone, spaghetti, when we returned to the house as I had only eaten ‘chips’ or French fries all day lol.
I was up most of the night thinking about everything there is still to do…yesterday we visited the office en-route back to the house and met with the artist who has done a great job (again); hopefully this time the rain won’t wash it away L Rocco and I are about to head out now to the office as kaka and I need to spend ALL OF TODAY going over ALL we can as tomorrow he works (and the rest of the week , until we leave). Accounting, Education Initiative, Vulnerables, the Latrines follow-up, translations, office in order (rent etc…)- and the list goes on L Ugh- breathe, just need to breathe…
Off for now.

Monday February 22nd, 2016
I am here at the UNHCR now, yesterday was a day of kazi kazi kazi (work work work), we finished the office painting, signage and the outside TRP sign…we are meeting with more carpenters today (I met one this morning already), and I’ll visit UNICEF, OCHA and I am at UNHCR now. It’s just after 9am :-o
We had a bit of an issue with electricity last night…it’s been off for the past two days and probably today and tomorrow as well. So trying to get the printer for the office connected and everything downloaded and charged has been tough. Nonetheless, we are working with what we have/can.
Yesterday we spoke with the sister in Moba regarding school fees, exams etc… for Kapondo and kids, we will send the money for the next year today. Furthermore, we are almost done with the Education Initiative and will be able to get that up on TRP’s website once 100% complete. I am hoping that I can collaborate directly with UNICEF on the EI front to support the vulnerable children in need….going out and finding them and monitoring, follow-up etc…is a task and a half, it would be nice to trust an org that specializes in assisting with education and those in need directly. Once we have our own system in place it’ll be different, but for now…my fingers are crossed.
Well, I am going to post a few pics and these entries as my mtgs here should be started momentarily…hope all is well on the home front and wishing everyone a safe and happy Monday!

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