Our team leader, Wikus eventually gets his turn to preach and he does a short teaching about provision and trusting God. Whenever we talk to the people there is a translator as all the people speak either Swahili or French. Very few are able to speak and understand English.
Henry with one of his volunteers
I ask Henry what he gets paid to do this every single day... I get tears in my eyes as he tells me with a chuckle - as if I'm a little stupid for even asking such a question - that what he and his team do is voluntary. He does this for the love of it. And he has just about nothing with which to do all these activities... a little paper, a few pencils. I immediately wonder how I can try to get a whole container with art supplies duped in front of his door.
The youth's "Trainer" - a very strict
but also very proud French-speaking
- The camp is about 5 kilometers squared in size.
- At the moment there are about 28,000 refugees in the Dzaleka Refugee camp.
- There are people mostly from DRC (Congo), Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia and Ethiopia.
- Once a month each person gets rations as follows:
- 12 kg's of maize
- 3 kg's of beans
- 1 kg porridge flour
- 0.5 liter of oil
- One cup of Sugar
- Half a cup of salt
- 1 cake of soap
- Only Malawians are allowed to have jobs within the refugee camp.
- Refugees may work for a donation on a voluntary basis - there are not many of these "jobs" and therefore very few actually have "jobs".
- Some of the them have small businesses such as restaurants or hair salons or selling their rations in the market place.
- Malawian people are allowed to sell fresh vegetables and meat like chicken, beef and goat meat in the camp.
- There are 64 churches in the camp - from all denominations.
- Upon arrival at the camp, you are on your own and have to find your own way. Some churches make provision for accommodation until you are able to buy your own house or build.
- Refugees are given land for free but housing and electricity must be paid for.
- Most refugees depend on the money that gets sent to them by their families who have been lucky enough to be "resettled".
- Families may apply to get "resettled" but this is only granted to very few of the people. There is an application process to be followed and not all applicants always get chosen for resettlement.
- Due to the lack of facilities, teachers and the various languages spoken, less than half of the children are able to go to school.
It is not so much their state of poverty and brokenness that touches me. It is the attitude of these people. Regardless of their poverty and brokenness, they appreciate, they have respect, they have discipline, they have big dreams, they have ambition, they are positive, they are busy doing something!