Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bobi IDP Camp

Children of the Bobi IDP camp

Lending a hand...

A wonderful group of 4 students (Matt, Amber, Veronica & Travis) came from San Diego, and together we visited the Bobi IDP camp (Internally Displaced Peoples) where Restore International has built and repaired wells. As the area continues to recover economically after years of war, the government and the World Food Program have begun cutting their food supplies to encourage the people to resettle in their home villages, and begin to live off the land again. One difficult challenge in that process is that many parents have been killed, or have died due to AIDS, leaving many orphans in the hands of the elderly. The majority of these elderly have lost their social security (their children). Traditionally, the adult children would work the land, supporting the elderly and their own children. With the parents now gone, these vulnerable segments of the population remain in the IDP camps, dependent on the waning food support of the WFP. One "Mosee'", or elderly man, that we spoke with had custody of 20 children who's parents (many were his own sons and daughters) had died from either the war or AIDS. He is struggling to feed them, using the last of the WFP's allocated support food. He is not sure what he'll do now, but he continues to hold out hope that he can provide food and school fees for the children to escape poverty. It is not yet determined how the government, or the WFP plans to support this vulnerable segment of the population.

It's incredible to see how the people utilize nearly everything. This door is covered with tin from cans of US AID vegetable oil.

Restore International has built and repaired several wells at Bobi. Before this, many people were forced to gather drinking water from a nearby bog, which lead to dysentery, typhoid, worms, and a host of other health issues.

One of Restore International's wells in Bobi

Despite the challenging realities of life in the IDP camp, we were received with bright smiles and greetings of "Munu..Munu!" (White-one, White-one!) After surveying the community and wells, and participating in a prayer meeting in the church hut with the pastors, women and children, we joined hands for a game of duck-duck-goose, which was an absolute riot for the kids. The elderly joined in the laughter as dust flew, and the children ran.

Photographs courtesy of Matt, Travis, Veronica and Amber.

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