Life in Camp

View from the camp

The camp was situated on arid land, sparsely dotted with abandoned Turkana huts, stunted trees and shrubs. A line of hills in the middle distance marked the border between Sudan and Kenya. (The Lost Boy by Aher Arop Bol)

I’ve been reading The Lost Boy by Aher Arop Bol and have been quite moved by his account of his escape from Southern Sudan at the time of the first civil war (1987). I’m two-thirds of the way through and he’s reached Zimbabwe where the UNHCR has reluctantly agreed to pay his school fees to a mission school. Whenever I think my life here in camp is bad (and it’s not really that bad, cold water at 5.30am notwithstanding), I think about Aher’s journey down from Sudan without a passport, very little money and facing untold hardships along the way.

For now, I’ll just share a few pics with you before I head off for a lecture on “mine awareness”. Should be riveting I’m sure.

The inside of our weatherhaven

My bed before the shopping trip

And afterwards


8 Responses to Life in Camp

  1. natalian says:

    May I congratulate you on your corner digs! Its amazing how one, regardless of the surroundings – like sharing a ‘tent’ with 7 others – still makes a ‘home’ for oneself.

  2. Pete says:

    Natalian – Absolutely. I had to make a home out of that corner-space (even if just by buying an African-style duvet cover and another pillow) otherwise I would probably have sunk into a mild depression.

    Incidentally, not sure why your comment showed up in my spam folder (where I rescued it). Has happened to me before and then it went away so I’m holding thumbs it’s just a once-off.

  3. Harriet says:

    Hmm, all the comforts of home? I do like your duvet cover and pillow though. As for the mine awareness lecture – if it was me, I would be riveted. If there is anything to be aware of I would think mines would top the list.

    • Pete says:

      Harriet – Well it was actually quite interesting but since there are unlikely to be any mines in Darfur, I could afford to be a little relaxed about it. I’m more concerned about the armed rebel gangs, the scorpions and the range of diseases that we might catch if we’re unlucky!

  4. litlove says:

    This reminds me of when I was living in France, boarding at the lycee I taught at. My room had exactly that kind of bed, and stone floors and empty stone walls. It was a little prison cell in one ways, but it became home in others. I don’t know that I could manage to sleep dormitory style, though. I think you are doing fantastically well and proving yourself remarkably adaptable!

    • Pete says:

      Thanks Litlove! It’s nice to hear that I’m adaptable since it’s easy to get a little down in this place. I’ve also been reminded very much of boarding school (not the best six months of my life) but at least this time I haven’t got a hiding from the housemaster! I’m planning to bunk out for a night on Sat, which makes me think of Harry Potter bunking out of Hogwarts. Although of course Harry had magic on his side and exciting adventures to live out.

  5. smithereens says:

    I love the landscape from the camp but I suspect I love it more from afar! Good luck with camp life, I hope it’s not too tough. I learnt about mines when I visited Cambodia, it was pretty scary.

    • Pete says:

      Thanks Smithereens. I’m having fun with my camera at least and the sunrise today was pretty good (will post later). When things get really dull I play with the GPS on my phone. Today I ‘navigated’ from Paris to Prague (since L is going there soon for a conference and I can’t join her).

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