Dolo Ado, Ethiopia
July 20, 2011
Save the Children intern David Klauber has been blogging from Ethiopia, click here to read his first post.
I sat down to meet a 28 year-old mother named Halima, surrounded by her five small children who were quite busy eating their porridge. The littlest one watched me curiously from upon Halima’s lap, nestled in the cloth of her dirac (long Somali dress). As she helped her son navigate his spoon she began to tell me her story:
“We lived in a place called Halu in the Dedo region of Somalia. The long drought caused all of our animals to die there. We didn’t have enough food to go around and there was also violence going on around our home so I feared for my children. Together we walked 60 miles and I was scared for them the whole journey. When we came here we lived 10 days in the pre-registration center and have lived 10 days here [transit center]. We have experienced a lot of hunger, but here we have something eat. We have no hope of going back home now that our animals our dead. We have nothing.”
After our somber interview came to a close, I found the quiet gaze of Halima’s 8-year-old son, Hassan Nuur, and I could not help but to ask about his experience living in the refugee intake centers thus far:
“Things are better here. At home there was no rain and no food. But I miss my friends; they are still in Somalia. Sometimes there is nothing here to do during the day and it is cold and windy and night…I miss my home. I just want to move ahead.”
I met several mothers and their children in the tent and they had all faced similar hardships in their journeys out of Somalia and through the Ethiopian intake centers. Most of the mothers had walked for multiple days with their children to reach Dolo Ado. But it was encouraging to learn that on this particular day we were able to feed more than 400 of these children.
At our feeding site we also screen these children for malnutrition and refer them to Doctors Without Borders if they require medical attention. As well, we had a staff member dedicated to helping children wash their hands both before and after they eat. Definitely pretty amazing to see how fast we were able to setup here and already have such an impact. This particular supplementary feeding program will be duplicated in the pre-registration site and the fourth refugee camp, Halewen.
Tomorrow, I will head onward to the Kobe and Melkadida camps. I was last in the Kobe camp about a month and half ago when it was completely devoid of people and infrastructure so it will certainly be interesting to return now that is fully operational and now completely filled. Until then…