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Kiara's Amazing Travels

IDP (Internally Displaced Person) Camp

KENYA | Monday, 22 June 2009 | Views [1396]

Hello all,

So just wanted to share with you a little bit about my experience at the IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camp. I went there with a group of volunteers to help distribute food and clothing.

Arriving into the IDP camps we were surrounded by stunning scenery. Its located in a valley almost so the surrounding hills are vegetation are just gorgeous. When you see the tents and conditions these people live in though, the scenery is totally forgotten. The whole camp is dusty and filthy and the people have been carrying water in containers that used to hold sulphuric acid. They have to walk about 2km to get water and carry it back to the camp. Children covered in dirt and mucus, coughing and spluttering but still smiling and trying to play. Mothers welcoming us into their tents and showing us how they live. Pregnant women – imagine bringing in a child to such a desperate situation! Majority of these people used to work and be middle class or at least have enough to feed their families. After the elections last year they lost family members, homes, land – everything. Everything they have is donated.

We were taken through the camp and welcomed into some of the homes by the women. Izzo ( one of the guys who helps organize the trip) translated some of the stories and hardships from these women. Literally rags, wires, plastic bags and wood were all put together to help create these homes. The tents were originally donated by the UN but that was as far as they extended their support. I broke down in the last house we visited when a mother was holding her severely malnourished child while crying and sharing her story. He was so young and shy and you could see his bloated little tummy through his shirt as a result of not getting enough nutrition and food. I wanted nothing more than to pick him up and just hold him.

I can't explain how it felt to see it first hand. It really is an eye opener and made me appreciate what I have so much more. I am so lucky to have my family and friends, who are all healthy and have options in their lives. But this experience, as heartbreaking as it was, was exactly what I pictured when I first decided to come to Africa to help. I felt like we really did help and make a slight difference at least. It obviously wasn't life changing but everything helps their situation. Before we got to the camp we all put our money together and bought food to distribute to the 100 families that live there. We rationed out rice, sugar, potatoes, lard and clothes. At some points the crowd became a bit rowdy and aggressive, fighting amongst each other which got pretty intense.

This will definitely be an experience that affects how I think and something I won't forget. Hopefully I get the chance to do it again before I leave.

Love you all

Ki xoxo

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