Visiting Soetwater Refugee Camp

06 Jun

Today, we visited and took some medical supplies to the Soetwater refugee camp, which is situated in the middle of nowhere halfway to Cape Point. It was terrible. Very cold down at the sea, (it is winter here and freezing in the Cape), and we sensed a tense, volatile atmosphere. It felt like a time bomb ready to explode. We were told there are 3500 people there! 1500 are Somalians who are staying in a camp on their own, away from the other nationalities. The few volunteers that we saw were sorting clothes, working in the ‘operations tent’, looking after babies in the ‘babies tent’, and doctors in the ‘medical tent’, and there was a heavy police presence at the entrance. The Zimbabweans are in 4 tents, the Congolese in their own tents, Rwandans in theirs, etc. There was a feeling of organized chaos. Again, with everyone scared to go back to their communities, and not knowing what to do or where to go. We came away with heavy hearts and feeling very depressed and sad that this has happened in our country. We are facing a huge crisis and I hope a solution will be found to this problem soon.

After visiting this camp, we realized how fortunate our refugees are to be at Chrysalis (we took a Somalian with us, who no doubt will report back to our guys!). At least we are managing to cope with up to 300 people, but for how long? How they manage at Soetwater with so many, I don’t know.

Note how the refugee’s must charge their cellphones as there is no electricity in the tents.