Author Topic: ETHIOPIA-MALAWI: Demeke Zualede, "Living in a camp is hard"  (Read 1632 times)

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BALAKA, 7 September 2009 (IRIN) - Demeke Zualede, 28, fled drought, conflict and hunger in his homeland, Ethiopia, in 2008. He reached Mozambique but was deported and now lives in Dzaleka Refugee Camp in central Malawi. This is his story.

"There are so many problems in Ethiopia and I had to leave. I was a farmer and when drought hit my area for two years there was no food for everyone. The war in Somalia has affected us too - young men have to join the army to defend our country.
"I left Ethiopia with many other friends, seeking a better livelihood in other countries. We arrived in Kenya some days later, but even there life was not as good as we expected. We kept moving and arrived in Tanzania. There, too, things did not work out for us. The journey from Ethiopia to Malawi took us four months. Most of the trip was covered on foot, hence the long time to arrive in Malawi.
"When we arrived in Malawi we were put in a refugee camp. Most people think we are soldiers, and a danger to society, but some of us are just farmers. The authorities won't let us live in townships. They say we have to be in the camp, but life in the camp is not easy. The food is not enough. We receive a food ration of six kilograms every fortnight.
"In the refugee camp we face a number of problems. We need money, enough food, and all the essentials that one needs to lead a good life. We can't be offered any employment because our status is that of a refugee. We have to live in a camp until the time for repatriation comes.
"The other day we escaped and thought of going to Zimbabwe, where some of our colleagues are working. We heard that our colleagues there are doing fine. With no money, we have to walk long distances. When we crossed over to Mozambique we were arrested and brought back to Malawi.
"My dream to work in South Africa or Zimbabwe has been shattered, but I am not going to give up easily. If an opportunity avails itself I will jump on it and travel to South Africa. I cannot live in camp forever."



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