Dzaleka field in Malawi, has completed 20 years and has one of the most precarious budgets southern Africa. Hosts more than 17,000 refugees
On repeat loop. The slim hopes vanish with every sunset and face a new day requires more than willpower. Dzaleka, the only refugee camp in Malawi , is the home of some 18,000 souls lost to the uncertainty. Twenty years ago he opened the field of hand of government in the country.Twenty years spent many there. Forgotten.
A little less than 50 kilometers from Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital, between hills that line towards the town of Dowa, covered concourse with some scattered branches and bright aluminum sheet appears. The adobe brick houses and extend the plateau at which the sun beats relentlessly.
“Life here is tough,” sums Kibakuli Basilwango Celestin. He is an example of the many who have arrived in a cargo truck from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Another fleeing war or persecution, as Patron Mushamuka, Tresor Nzengu Mpauni or Kalis Kalombo. All Congolese and who represent the majority of the population of Dzaleka. Some, like Percy Uwimana came from Rwanda, while marriage Byamungu Bahat and R. Joseph did from Burundi. Somali Dzaleka just make a stop on his road, which continues to the south to a new life could begin, if everything goes well, in South Africa, the country that receives the largest number of refugees in the South.
Dzaleka is a compendium of languages and looks. Whispered stories in tiny wet and gloomy houses. Silences that speak and Greetings sour mood lifting installed on the dusty streets transformed into swamps during the rainy season. A multicultural kaleidoscope sharing destination in the central region of Malawi.
For most, Dzaleka is the only option to stay alive and forget the nightmares even though the routine is sometimes a bad joke that keeps them awake. The UN Agency for Refugees ( UNHCR ) and other organizations such as the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) attempt to manage a camp with one of the budget lowest in Southern Africa.Moreover, they have to face the obstacles placed by the Malawian legislation that does not allow the inclusion of refugees.
“Only if you’re a doctor or a lot of money in the bank,” claimed Chabani Bahat on the privileged few who are accepted by Malawi. The others simply they forget. Less than an hour from Lilongwe, Dzaleka is one of the fields close to a refugee state capital. This causes many to seek solutions to not rely solely on the 14 kilos of food per month provided by UNHCR.Refugees can only open businesses and working inside the camp since the law prevents them from working on Malawian soil. However, there are few who dare to take some coins, those that make a difference to anything.
“Malawians complain that they are taking away business, but until our arrival there was no store,” said Tresor Nzengu Mpauni, who remembers how many grocery refugees have been looted by locals in the villages around Dzaleka.
The Malawian law does not allow the inclusion of refugees
These difficulties are the present of these men and women who also carry the past. They drag the memories of a vanished family, a home that was burned and a horrendous way to the heart of Africa to get to Malawi. And the future is crumbling with each sunset, with each passing day without anything happening.
Chabani Bahat, along with his wife Haw Ed, are the owners of Rafiki, a humble Dzaleka restaurants. She Hutu Tutsi and he fled the hatred and decided to open their business because UNHCR assistance was not enough to feed her four children and an orphaned nephew. “They have no future,” he says emphatically Chabani. “I want a future for my children to go to school and be educated,” says Percy Uwimana hopeless.
Kalis Kalombo, Congolese primary teacher, agrees with both. It keeps the poor educational system of the camp, where the shortage of teachers in contrast to a classroom full of students . The language barrier and the different formations of the children also complicate the task. “There is no motivation to get an education,” says Kalis on young people who are resigned to a planned future where they are mere spectators. Even those with determination are given face down after high school because they can not extend their studies. Nor refugees are admitted to universities Malawians.
Before the collapse of education, young people who wander to find a job opportunity. Something that allows them to pass the hours. But alcohol and drugs become the best friends of youth stranded where child marriage is rampant. It is common to see young people concentrated in barbershops, leisure centers where, while the hair is cut, the TV showing music videos to enliven the idle hours.
Pessimism is installed in the alleys of Dzaleka, while refugees are trying to cling to a yearning. Many harbor a god, a resettlement, a stunt. Others try to face reality and not give up though perfectly aware of the circumstances in which they live. Here’s loophole for utopia.
Tresor is the case, that thought just survive more than three days in Dzaleka. Rapper and Congolese journalist, left Lubumbashi because of political persecution and is now the founder of the cultural association of Dzaleka. “There are young people and artists here have a platform for their work,” he explains.
The field has low budget, food shortages and poor education system
Another alternative to the hard to forget this is projected on the community radio Byamungu R. Joseph, a name no one recognizes. This electrician, whom everyone calls Pope, is in charge of Refugee Voices, a project that prayers emitted from the siren that crowns the roof of his house. The prayers gave way to news programs, social spaces to address issues such as education or AIDS and funniest emissions greetings and congratulations. 90 minutes have benefited radio communication between refugees Dzaleka. “I programs at five in the morning and nine at night when everything is quiet,” said Pope, whose radio broadcasts in Swahili, Kirundi and English.
Dzaleka has very little to encourage their refugees. The routine proceeds slowly and sarcastically target faces. There is much bile and unanswered questions here for all courage to face a life lost. Sometimes the surprise gives hope to a family who are resettled in Australia, Canada or Norway.Some say the least, opt for voluntary repatriation, and be counted on the fingers of one hand those who get the Malawian nationality. The rest, is just passing them and spend hours and turn the present. Because there is no tomorrow.
Information Dzaleka managed projects in southern Africa by the Jesuit Refugee Service