From My Diary at Food Distribution Center
Volume 1, Issue 5-6 / May-June 2009
From My Diary at Food Distribution Center September 19th 2007.
Fatuma her name and sex changed to protect her privacy. Let alone being a refugee or being in exile and how hard everyday life was for being a victim of HIV/AIDS.
In addition to her refugee life, the camp circumstances doomed her shape and was always waiting and counting for the next food ration. She rations only for two weeks to live and consume economically for the limited days. What was given and available. Her logic of basic right are in relation to basic needs irreconcilable. Refugee and the others are equal where it comes to the amount of ration received being a victim and service one more days has no special treatment all must stand in queue .
At the last day of ration distribution in the camp, known as complain day. She day, which those who missed their ration may get second chance to collect food rations. Fatuma was among them. She had one card of family size one and supposed to only receive 6kgs flour, oil, lentils, salt. Those who are kind and have income may give her their card for her to collect the food ration but that was the only option of her survival and she has to live by. She is thin, her face skin color becomes pale, and her lips lost its nature and become red and dry.
She has been waiting an hour to get her ration. It possible the ration card was still in her hands. She waits an additional one hour. She queued line standing still. the line does not move. No one pass through the gate and collect the items, which listed out, on the centerboard. Lastly, after complains from eagerly awaiting refugee.
The distribution starts in what looks like people in a slow motion towards the coopers. On reaching at rationing points there are some items missing: Maize was given half. Oil absent. Uji (porridge) also not here. Everyone obeys the rule; “never! why some food items missed? what you have given? you the master of the feeding supply!. Fatuma shouted, she added my ration- this not the amount this are not the listed items we have been waiting. the food distribution supervisor surprised as if fatuma is looking like a sick woman.
I was by her side when I saw her, what I missed does not touch me like her but I know she was living alone. She is a HIV/AIDS positive. When she reaches at the place of oil print or drops to what refugees describes was got finished at the spot and she was given nothing. ” it just got finished and today is complain day” said a staff at distribution desk. However, it had not finished at the nearest store, which is fifty meters away. As she walk to maize line no maize, “pass it quickly” said a scooper . it was half of ration which one observes as as imaginary existence . She has only had wheat flour to fight for existence to sustain her life.
No one strongly ask why this is my ration. People fear to raise and ask? some they need their card not to be punched because if the card is not punched today, they will miss in next food ration- this is second rule then the card got erased completely by people like me in this camp and this really fair? Fatuma said angrily and weak. Her lips were dry when reaches at the exit point before the card to be punched; last item is soap that was not there. Why all this? She shouted again and tried to argue but no one gave attention.
It is common for servers and some of them are the fellow refugees staffs but they can not assist because they were incapable. No one cares for Fatuma , no one realized she is fighting to exist to live as human being in small part of this world and To continue living one more day possibly to reach the next distribution cycle.