Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Painful anniversary for Nubians living in Kibos camp one year after displacement

Today marks one year since Nusrah Hamisi, 48-year old single mother of six lost her residence at Kibos, in Kisumu County.

The night of February 5, 2021, harbors horrifying memories for her and 3, 000 fellow Nubians who were displaced by Kenya Railways Services.

“It was a cold night and there was a light drizzle,” she recalls.

After the unfortunate event, many were moved from the place they once called home, to Kibos Camp in Kunya.

She never imagined she could live in the tent for more than a month.

But when Lake Region Bulletin visited the camp last week, Hamisi and her colleagues were still putting up there.

With one year gone, and little efforts from the area leadership to give them permanent home, Hamisi fears that she may have to live here longer.

The woman who was widowed in 2015 pitched her 2 by 4 meter tent near the edge of the camp and has been living here with her children since.

Even with two of her young ones in boarding school, it is still suffocating to be squeezed in the small space with the four.

“The space is very small but we just have to make do with it, it is all we have,” she expressed with a sigh.

She says it gets extremely worse during rainy seasons when the water from outside encroaches into the camp at night.

This is always cumbersome and frustrating as their sleep is often disturbed due to soaking bedding that then forces them to wake up and make adjustments.

“Just the other day I contracted pneumonia because of the cold,” Hamisi says, adding that the camp is usually very cold at night and unbearably hot during the day.

The drainage in the camp area, as she reveals, is poor. She has since made adjustments to her tent to try and combat this challenge.

During the night they use solar for lighting. Those without, use candles and this presents the probability of a whole new disaster.

The temporary mosque built within the camp is the only structure with electricity.

Hamisi’s tent donated by the red cross at kibos camp. (Photo: Joseph Obonyo, LRB)

They have to prepare their evening meals earlier before darkness creeps in.

But she admits that they are however grateful for the presentable toilets, the piped water which Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company (KIWASCO) installed for them and the mosquito nets which were distributed in the camps.

“We use the mosquito nets and they have really saved us the trips we would have made to the hospitals due to Malaria,” she says.

Another temporary structure built entirely with iron sheet for the elderly also stands a few meters from the mosque.

No more aid

Life has become increasingly challenging for Hamisi who says the aid they used to receive stopped after a few months.

“We used to get help from well-wishers but all that stopped after some time,” explained the dark friendly woman.

She adds that some of their tents leak when it rains.

Security, though not an issue within the camp, is a wanting scenario just outside, in nearby areas. She recalls an incident in which one of them, a young man, was attacked just near the camp.

The small space Hamisi uses with her six children. (Photo: Joseph Obonyo, LRB)

As Lake Region Bulletin had a one on one with her near her makeshift tent, Hamisi receives an urgent call.

She proceeds to give directions to a motorist who must hurry to the camp to help ferry a sick elderly man to the hospital.

He is one of the leaders in the camp.

With two of the nearest health centers approximately two kilometers from the camp, time is of the essence.

The free medical services that crowned their earlier days here are long gone.

A former grocery stall owner with a descent daily income, Hamisi now sells potatoes, making much less in days.

With her former stall now a sorry sight, a victim of the same disaster that occurred close to a year ago, she struggles to make ends meet in the difficult reality she is forced to face on a daily basis.

“I used to make enough money to feed and care for my children’s needs. Today, however, I am financially crippled to a point I cannot keep up with their school fees which pile with every passing month,” she said.

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