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Arriving in Dadaab

Well, when I arrived Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, and hit Nairobi town, I tried to enjoy all the little luxuries I could and I braced myself for five months in the little known North East of the country, working to Save the Children in a somewhat “forgotten” Refugee camp near Somalia.

I also braced myself for the heat since it is a semi-desert area and shopped around for long skirts and headscarfs since it is a predominantly Moslem culture. I was relieved that I could wear T-shirta and not be considered indecent so that is what I survive on.

I’ve now been here for the last four month and it has been quite an experience. One similarity it has with my home area back in northern Uganda is that the rebel insurgency has been going on since 1986 (it has since cooled down).

When rebels abducted children and committed other grave atrocities, it did not make headlines anymore. The press apparently got tired of that news. Actually, it ‘wasn’t news anymore’. I fear that it is the same situation with the refugees here in Dadaab. The first arrivals in this camp came in 1991, when the government of Somalia was toppled.

Dadaab now hosts about 200,000 Refugees (estimate that more than 50% are children). Although the majority are Somalis, others are from Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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