LIFE AND EXPERIENCE IN MOLO IDPS CAMPS.

What happened?

In the latest cycle, violence began in the Rift Valley almost a month before Kenya’s December 27 elections as minority communities started being hounded out of their houses by rival ethnic groups.
            Rift Valley Province had been most affected by the post-election violence with more than 1000 people killed, 250,000 displaced and 80,000 houses torched.

In Kenya’s Rift Valley town of Molo, about 200km from Nairobi, displacement by conflict has become a recurrent feature of life, and not only at election times.
            In Molo district alone, there were about 60 sites hosting the displaced, 16 in Molo town itself. Some of the destitute families sheltering in makeshift camps in churches and government compounds in Molo this was the fifth time that they had been chased from their homes in the last two decades. People started camping as early as November even before elections. Some voted as internally displaced persons expecting the situation to be worse.   

Life in the camp.

The story of 21-year-old lady Jane Wanjiku from Nyakinywa Farm was typical, showing how far back the roots of the ethnic conflict in Molo district has affected her life.A young woman washes her cloths at KAG camp in Molo town

As a young lady she stayed with her family in Nyakinywa Farm before they were evicted after the post election violence.  

“Before I came to the camp on February 2008 I was helping my parents with farming activities after completing my form four education. My ambition was to join a college and pursue Mass media and Communication but now I don’t know. Currently I have no future prospects due to lack of funds. Here in camps am idle, psychologically affected and think of being employed as a house girl just here in town so that I can start a new life.” Wanjiku tells Miscc Coordinator.

She said the greatest need in the camps was to get food, good sanitation and Psychological healing particularly because they were traumatized by the experiences and the atmosphere they had experienced before.

“Currently I live here in the camp with my grandma and rest of the family quite far in Nyahururu about 120kms away. Am sometimes worried on how they live there and how they feel on returning back home campaign. Sometimes communication is a problem and I just get few coins to know there whereabouts and say hi. “Wanjiku explains further.

When Wanjiku joined the camp she had to face major problems such as lack of food, poor sanitation, clothing and shelter. As a lady she needed good sanitation such as sanitary towels, a bathroom, privacy and more to maintain her hygiene and health, which wasn’t also available.

 “Currently most of the problems have been solved except the problem of shelter. I experience cold night and fear of common cold outbreak and long rain next month.” She explains. Wanjiku said she was too scared to return home but had no idea where she would go when the camp closed.

Parents and family life in Molo IDPS camps.

        The greatest need in the camps was to get displaced children back to school, particularly because they were traumatized by the experiences and the atmosphere back home. Children are beaten by their own parents because of small mistakes they make, sometimes because of the trauma of their parents, the psychological state they are in. They get angry fast and beat their children terribly. Humanitarian workers had set up a group to give psychosocial support to children.

            Management in the camps had to see paralegal services were being provided in the camps to tackle cases of child abuse and set regulation to curb misbehavior conduct. Such cases included  a woman from PAG camp on1st March 08 claimed her 4500/= was stolen, one tent caught fire from a candle and campers quickly put it off and it was said the owner had gone to see his lover leaving his child sleeping in the tent ,child labor and rape cases.

            In the camps we found an old man a father of eight children who narrates the difficulties he encounters in the camps. The youngest child is a 3 year old child living together at the camp while the oldest is a 19 years old man also in one of the camps. “Thanks to the KAG church for sustaining us here. I don’t know what would have happened to me and my family. I sometimes wonder how the situation could be. All what I had perished during the skirmishes and others got stolen. Since then I have never gone back to see the remains. The government and NGO’s have really helped us a lot. Life here is a different thing altogether from fathering the children to Parental support.” He explains. 

A lactating mother of 3 children from KAG camp told Miscc that the food provided by the aid donor lacked proper food supplements for the baby. The mother mentioned how they used to farm in an 8acre piece of land which provided them with milk, maize, beans, potatoes and other farm produce. “My husband and I used to work in the farm since it was our only hope for survival but know since we have been evicted, we are stranded on the way forward. All our cows and goats were stolen; our house looted and latter burnt and we didn’t secure anything else except our lives. Know we don’t have a home; the children keep on asking when we will go back home and what I can tell them is hope for the best. The little we get here in camp can not sustain us too. Another problem we encounter that seems minor but was a problem is the donor food it’s foreign and we had problems adapting the food. We experienced lack of appetite and some children and adults could not eat due the appearance and taste. The food also took too long to be ready for consumption ad required a lot of firewood which wasn’t available. Currently we have adapted a lot since we have no alternative.” The mother comments after an interview from Miscc staff.

            After the Kenyan government announced the resettlement of the IDPs back home campaign (Operation Rudi Nyumbani campaign in Swahili), the IDPs also have there response to it.

One of the principles relating to return, resettlement and reintegration states: “Competent authorities have the primary duty and responsibility to establish conditions, as well as provide the means, which allow internally displaced persons to return voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, to their homes or places of habitual residence, or to resettle voluntarily in another part of the country. Such authorities shall endeavor to facilitate the reintegration of returned or resettled internally displaced persons.” A message from the resettlement operation committee.  

 

 The resettlement of IDPs and livelihood recovery are some of the main areas we (Miscc) are now focusing on. We are putting in place measures to ensure that those affected can rebuild their lives. As the operation continue we are positioning ourselves to provide support to IDPs that complements what is provided by government we are determined to assist the IDPs rebuild their lives opinions some of the internally displaced persons from different camps.
            Under IDPs digest Vol 3 newsletter we have included some activities that took place during provision of food, sanitary towels,
Relocation to Molo Saw Mill Camp and much more. For more information read the articles under publications.

 

 

 

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