Today I travelled to Goboro on my way to Moyo but we stopped at two places. Strange contrasts within five minutes of each other and only about a hundred metres between them.
On the way to Goboro we passed a UN operated transit camp. Having seen various refugee camps in a number of countries this was in fact my sight of a transit camp. These are areas where refugees, often suffering from exhaustion, wounds and trauma, are first brought before being taken to a camp proper for care and registration.
Transit camps are bleak, haunting places which, as the picture shows, are built to be very secure with barbed wire atop a solid wall. Stark and soulless, these places are set up to make the refugees secure. In every emergency situation security is the primary issue above all else, even above food and medical care. People cannot be helped when they are in danger and not safe.
Just a hundred metres down the road we were met by Yango’s nephew Emmanuel Murye who is a school teacher at the local primary school which has both local and refugee students. They greeted us with welcome chants in perfect English together with synchronised dancing. They were such beautiful and delightful children and obviously fully trusted and loved their teacher, wanting to please him the whole time.
I have never felt in my heart such a drastic change of perception in so short a time and place. One representing all the bad in the world the other all the good and pure.