Bahai beach

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bahai Beach 18

Bahai Beach 18

CBS 60 minutes show hits like a bomb.

UNHCR must be very pressed. On the second day of Id the refugees were surprised with the official news that the camp would be displaced. It is one of the most holy days in Islam and cultural sensitivity is not high up on the list in UNHCR. The reaction of the leaders of the camp was as united as predictable. Under no circumstance will the refugees vacate their houses in Oure Cassoni to the preposed site in Biltine. For the refugees this is the region where the Janjaweed came from the same Janjaweed that chased them from their houses. ‘Like jumping in a put with a stone around on a rope around your neck’ . ’Sending us to hell’ It seems the home work by UNHCR has not been done well. Part of arguments mentioned maybe be valid. There are Arab tribes living in Biltine (the new site) The second argument is that the cattle/goats are being herded in Sudan by the men can not be taken to the new site. The third argument that the present region is like their homeland. The host population is from the same tribe. After a while (4 hours) the meeting was suspended to respect the day of Id and to be able to spread the message to the whole of the camp the next day.
We are so blessed with the cooperation of other NGO’s. Bless the International Red Cross and International Medical Corps for sending nurses, surgeon and anaesthesist. All the wounded can finally get the required traction to their broken legs. There will be one hall in the hospital with about 12 men with a sandbag hanging on their leg. Great photo op. Even the young man whose leg was considered to be amputated yesterday is being given another chance to heal. In fact all patients are stable. Even the boy who got shot in the abdomen. He had blood in his abdomen and an injured kidney but he is going well. And our man with a bullet in his brain is smoking cigarettes. All soldiers smoke in the hospital after all. To make sure the smell is not too bad tons of incense is burnt on a daily basis. By now Dr Ponce my Cuban-Congolese brother needs a break. He has been doing an amazing job since October 7th non stop surgery and molding plasters, cleaning wounds. I wonder how we will organize that. At the same time plans are being made to move the camp. And he will do an assessment of our counterparts in other words the ministry of health in the new site. I have heard it looks much better. It has a functioning hospital. Which reminds me that in a meeting yesterday our Medical Director of the hospital showed up. He has still not bothered to inform us about the fact that he has found a new job in Abeche. Well I guess we are better off without him.
The camp in the mean time is a strange place. You can feel the mounting pressure. As the registration for the move has opened on day one no people came for registration. I am told that it is always like this when a camp is moved for usually security reasons. The manifestation of rebel infiltration in the camp in the mean time is more and more clear. It is highly likely that there is active enrollment of men and boys in the respective rebel fractions. Jeeps and weapons are found in the camp at all times. In an environment like this we can not work. The Sudanese Government may decide to bomb the camp as they can rightfully claim it is a rebel stronghold and that the status of refugee camp is being abused to create a base for their enemies.
Finally I have been able to hear the documentary on sixty minutes. It was about 13 minutes but it send out such a strong message. The storyline was about the schoolbooks of boy called Jacob found in Sudan after a village had been razed and the quest to locate the boy. Eventually he was located in Oure Cassoni camp and ended up being interviewed. He told the reporter that he lost several of his relatives and that he wanted his schoolbooks to remain in the Holocaust museum to assure that people can see what is going on presently in Sudan. I had the good fortune to air my views on the lack of involvement of the world community. And ended up being quoted the next day on CNN to emphasize the plight of the refugees but more over the impotence of the local and world community to address the issue. I can tell you that viewing the documentary really shook my world yesterday. Shawn, John and their team congratz. No Emmy required. Perhaps this can tip public opinion to intervention in this devilish conflict. You did a hell of a job.
In the mean time it is back to the camp. Today we have an HIV sensitation day and I have been asked to attend this training. Also I am working on a plan of action for the transfer of the camp. Like in an absurdistic novel I have visions of setting up shop. creating great facilities to realize after several months that the deafening silence is due to the lack of playing children in the camp.
Shall we suspend educational services in the mean time until it is confirmed when the move starts? How do we address all these challenges?

I will look in my crystal ball.

Chicken are under threat of night frost. Planning to build them a nice and cosy stove so they do not end up as ice statues.



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