A Weekend In Dadaab
Friday passed very quickly and it was night time before I knew it, Save the Children staff in Dadaab are very friendly and around 6pm I was invited to the CARE International Christmas party in the compound by one of them.
At the party, when music hits the air and you can be forgiven for thinking you are in a town and not stuck deep in the bush as we were. I learnt that a party is not a usual thing at the camp but rather a rare occurrence that all the agency staff look forward to .
At the party there was plenty of barbecue and beer for everyone. The dancing was what was most fascinating at the party as I could see people dance to their own tunes not necessarily for the ones the DJ provided.
I found myself thinking if I was to be based here I would create a competition where each of the agencies competed with the other for the best dancers. I am not convinced though that Save the children would take the trophy not at all if ever one of the dancers was me. The night went on well the DJ was not disappointing and kept all the people on the dance floor but heat was unbearable for me so I retired to bed early, the party continued up to the morning.
Unlike in Nairobi here we work on Saturdays, I had been told about this and so I woke up earlier and headed for the bathroom. My whole body yearned for a cold shower and from the bathroom you could hear me curse from a kilometer away. After your first night in Dadaab, trust me you need a frozen shower.
Every person gets to the office before 8.00 am and are busy with their work. As I sit at my computer the heat is already unbearable for me but every one else looks very fine. My sweating was unstoppable and I found myself missing the Nairobi office. My body has refused to adapt to these temperatures. Before long it was lunch time and the working hours have ended and from this point I was free till Monday that did not feel as good as it sounds, what was I to do in this heat? After lunch I packed my laptop and headed for my room where I worked from, I had to work in order to beat the temptation to sleep as that would mean I stay awake during the night.
The nights are filled with all kinds of insects, some of which will fascinate you with their beauty and others that have been changed by the desert like conditions to creatures that will easily give you nightmares. The worst of them are the mosquitoes. They bite without mercy. As I made my bed some managed to get inside my mosquito net.
I spent Sunday morning sleeping and in the afternoon we sang some Christmas carols with June and Carol the newly recruited Best interest Determination Officers in my room. I then enjoyed a drink with a staff from the Norwegian Refugee Council at the Grease Pit this is a small pub in the CARE compound which got its name from its location next to the CARE garage.
As Monday approached I felt less and less prepared I did not know what the camps had in store for me. I knew the situation for the children in the camps was dire . I knew i had to face Monday, I had to face these children and hope that my work in the next three days will have positive impact on their lives.