The Dream To Find My Family Keeps Me Strong

Coming to Uganda was not an option. It was the only guarantee I had for safety.
Kambese Mubawa, Congolese refugee

By Emilly Niringiye

Kambese is a 40-year-old from Democratic Republic of Congo, North Kivu Province. He fled the because of the conflicts in the region. Just like many of the refugees, Kambese unfortunately lost some family members to these conflicts. “I watched helplessly as the rebels killed my brothers. I couldn’t do anything to save them. And as for my wife and children, I do not know where they are,” he says.

He says coming to Uganda was not an option, it was the only guarantee he had for safety. “Even with my poor eyesight and leg problems, I had to forget my disabilities and get to safety,” he says. He moved through Rwanda, and managed to get to Nyakabande reception center, where he waited for two weeks before he was transported and resettled in Mukondo C.

Before the conflicts disrupted his life, Kambese was a businessman, “I used to travel to Butembo, a nearby town, buy clothes and sell in my shop at home. I was also in a butchery group that would sell meat, and share the dividends,” he says with a proud smile. But life has drastically changed for Kambese who now relies more on neighbours to move around as his eye sight has since detoriated and currently has un diagonised problem with his leg. 

"I have  gone through so much shock but I have not lost hope. I still hold on to the hope of finding my family some day. This will make me forget the situation am in for a moment."

Since late December 2017, the situation in Kyaka II has dramatically changed, with increasing numbers of new arrivals from DR Congo arriving via border crossings in South Western Uganda and transferring to Kyaka II through Nyakabande transit center. Total refugees and asylum seekers in country as of 30th June 2018 are at 1,470,981.  Between Jan 2018 – 16th July 2018, 92,650 new arrivals have been received. Information from the new refugees suggests more may be expected.

Oxfam is working to ensure that people with special needs such as Kambese can still access proper sanitary facilities among other services.We are excavating and constructing pit latrines for people with special needs to curb sanitation related diseases. We are also in the Kyaka II settlement zones of Kaborogota, Mukondo B and Mukondo C implementing an intergrated WASH program as well as raising refugee and host communities' awareness on gender and child protection as well as peaceful coexistence.