Jacob’s Report from the field in Africa: Schools
Baar El Naam Girls’ and Jebel Mara Boys’ Primary School
The above mention schools are the one that I was given permission to take pictures and videos. (It took me about three days to get the permission letter.) The numbers of students in both primary schools have increase rapidly because of the war in South Sudan and other nearby countries. There are students from Somalia, Congo, Ethiopia, and mostly South Sudan. The school have not enough teachers, rooms, chairs, books, nor food. Many malnutrition problems are affecting all the students, especially little one that are in first to fourth grades. It’s difficult for them to study when there is no food, security and healthcare. Most of the students sit on the floor and others use stones as you can see below.
It’s very challenging for students here in Kakuma refugee camp to get medicine when they get sick. Some of the students I talk to have lost their parents in the war and they are now living with some of their relatives that are not able to provide medicine, school uniforms, books, and food. There’s no light for students to study at night so they have to make sure that they study during the day. Malnutrition is common here because of foods insecurity and diseases that are not treated.
The lack of mosquito nets here in the camp is also causing malaria to those who cannot afford to buy nets. There’s also shortage of clean water here in the camp. The water pump here is only open twice a day for about an hour, so some people do not get water when they need it for cooking and others proposes. The most common diseases here in the camp are typhoid, malaria, tuberculosis, kidney stones and general malnutrition. Most of these diseases are caused by drinking unclean water. While people are sick, they skip a day or two without food, to make sure their food does not run out before the date they would receive sorghum or corn from the UNHCR. What is provided for one person cannot even last five days if they eat only once a day. So the people stay in groups to manage what they have by sharing their food and skipping some days without food. They have to wait for 15 days between receiving food supplies from UNHCR. If they finished their foods item before that time, it can be difficult for them to survive. Below are some of the food items distributed to refugees twice a month. These food items are for family of four for 15 days.
The permission letter for me to take pictures wasn’t accepted at the hospital, but I did learn from community members that many people die every day because there are is no medicine and not enough beds in the emergence rooms. As the results two or three people share the same bed (which is really scary). Some people said they do not even think about going to the hospital when they get sick.
Also people here live in fear. There are people that come to the camp at night with guns and demand money. It’s horrifying and I witnessed it during my first night here in Kakuma–I heard a person crying out for help and I asked what was going on. I was told that someone was trying to take his property if he didn’t have the money they demanded. There are so many problems facing people here. Especial the children can hardly understand the reason there is so much suffering. Hopefully the God who created all human kind will bring change soon.