Once in Bunyakiri, our team split up and I went off with Jacques and Bavon
to check out some recently built latrines and a school. One of the things
that the IRC RRM (Rapid Response Mechanism) team does is construct (or
sometimes donate the materials for others to construct) temporary/emergency
latrines and schools in places where there has been an influx of IDPs
(internally displaced persons). Bunyakiri has thousands of people who fled
their villages in the hills after violent rampages by the FDLR. For the most
part, they are living with local families — friends and relatives that they
know — which makes them somewhat invisible. However, they are definitely
putting a significant stress on what little local infrastructure there was.
Since February, there have been several waves of new IDPs moving into
Bunyakiri. In May IRC deployed a team who built this emergency school and
around 34 blocks of latrines at various locations throughout the area.
Since the entire village evacuated, they came with nothing, but among them
were their teachers. So IRC built the school (with UNICEF plastic sheeting,
15 benches per class, and blackboards) and provided a pack of materials for
each teacher, a pack for each student and a recreation pack for the school
with footballs, nets and that sort of thing. We went to check on the school
and for the most part were pleased at the shape it is in. There were a few
benches missing, but all the blackboards were still there and all but one
square of the plastic sheeting. When they build the school, they cut each
panel of the plastic sheeting for two reasons: a) to allow the wind to pass
through and b) so that soldiers who might want to steal the sheeting are
discouraged (since it would only provide them with a leaky roof). Our
inspection was well-attended by local children. I was also pleased to see
the boys latrines on one side of the school and the girls latrines on the
opposite side — yet close enough so that any disturbances could easily be
heard or noticed.
More on latrines in the next post.