Fieldset
Day 10 - swamp

Our team is trapped at KM18. There was a downpour just as they were leaving the clinic and the landrover got stuck. They had to turn back and bunk down in the clinic overnight.

Our team is trapped at KM18. There was a downpour just as they were leaving the clinic and the landrover got stuck. They had to turn back and bunk down in the clinic overnight. We weren’t yet set up for overnight stays so 20 staff had to somehow share 7 mattresses and food supplements used in our nutritional programmes. But there were few complaints. You do what you have to do.

I woke to a lake outside my tent....literally. That was quite a storm last night. Thunder, lightening, water dripping on my head and the mattress sitting in puddles of water.  And now my tent was an island with no way to get across. Why oh why did I give my wellies away last night?!

But if it was bad for us it was 100 times worse for the refugees at KM18. They only have the plastic sheeting and a blanket we gave them in the NFI distribution and that would have been almost useless against the wind and rain last night. And today they would have been lying in mud and water. Jamam is basically a swamp. Consisting of black cotton soil, there is no natural drainage and during the rainy season it becomes, as one colleague described it, ‘Hell on Earth’.

Even Jamam camp had barely survived the storm. It looked like one big lake. Hundreds of tents were blown over or flooded and the refugees were rushing to save any of the food and few possessions they had. Then our car got stuck in the mud and suddenly we were surrounded by refugees helping us to push. Even when things were going so badly for them, they still reached out to help us. All of us covered in mud together. We could only laugh.