Field Trip pt 5: spontaneous IDP camp near Kalehe

We left Bunyakiri by 11am and as we were driving along, Stefan said we
weren't going straight back to Bukavu, but up past Kalehe so Susan, the
photojournalist could get some photos up there. There is a "spontaneous" IDP
camp there — that is, not one that is yet being managed by UNHCR with the
collaboration of the local aid organizations. As you can see from the
photos, these folks have used banana leaves to construct huts to live in.
And there had been at least one distribution of food, because I saw many
boxes labeled "USA — vegetable oil" on them. We made our way to the pallote
(an open hut that is used for meetings) and talked with the President of the
local displaced committee (that's Stefan and Peter listening in the photo).

At this camp, we provided the materials for the latrines (Wamama is Swahili

— I think you can guess what it means), one of which has
a lovely view of the lake! As we were walking along, Stefan, Peter and I were
again completely surrounded by people, including two young men who stridently
asked us why the international community was doing nothing about their
situation. Stefan was masterful in his reply, getting them to see the
complexity of the situation (for instance, that both FDLR and FARDC troops
attack them and run them out of their villages), and talking about current
efforts in the US Congress to place an embargo on mineral exports from Eastern
Congo, which are one of the root causes of the conflict.


After this we all climbed back in our trusty Landcruiser
for the 3 hour bumpy ride back to Bukavu. I returned home hungry, pretty
filthy, but very, very fulfilled by the whole trip.


About Seth Longacre

primal health coach, vision fast guide, itinerant discalced Episcopal Deacon, barefoot runner, photographer, spiritual director, yoga teacher, minimalist, pilgrim
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