Not Forgotten... Help Comes Full Circle

Posted on
Thu, 12/01/2011

This week, guest blogger, Niki Clark joins us again!  As the CARE Emergency Media Officer in Dadaab, Kenya, Niki has been able to follow the story of Muya, a resident-employee who lives in Dagahaley- one of the three camps in Dadaab.  Muya now provides aid to those who are in a similar position he was in years ago. 

“Every day, every day, I’m on the job,”— Adulkadir Adbullahi Muya—simply known as, Muya, is in a hurry and hardly has time for a handshake before he is off.  A resident of Dadaab, Kenya since 1991, Muya went back to Somalia in 1997, and after nearly a decade, returned to Dadaab once again.  He works with an unceasing determination, often skipping lunch to squeeze in one more visit. His pride in serving his clients comes through in his stance. Sweat beads on his brow in the intense heat, making him resemble a musician who just finished a high-energy performance. In many ways, Muya is a rock star.

Paracounselors like Muya are specially trained, identifying the most vulnerable and handling initial consultations. Right now he is headed to meet a new client—a victim, severely attacked during a hijacking of a bus in route from Somalia to Dadaab.  Women were raped, people were burned. The details are fuzzy but he knows it’s serious. His pace quickens, his fingers furiously texting, always working, even as he walks. He briefly turns, “Dadaab is growing and growing,” outstretched arms for emphasis.  Indeed—the population of Dadaab has more than doubled in just three years. 

On the way to meet his client, people stop him at least six times.  “Every day, you get a new client.” He jots down their information and refers them to the medical center before he is off again.

Muya finally meets his scheduled client at her home, near his own block in Dagahaley.  As he makes his way to the woman’s house, her family surrounds her.  She lifts her dress, revealing a painful and hideous wound, where a group of men covered her with paraffin and firewood and set her on fire. It was her punishment for resisting rape.

After her bus was hijacked, women were brought into a nearby forest and raped – in her case, while her husband watched helplessly. The hijackers stole the bus, and the other refugees had to carry the women to Dadaab. 

“I still feel the pain.  Like my skin is on fire.  It was difficult but I’ve accepted what has happened to me. What is disturbing me is my wound, my physical pain. If I can get treatment, and I can’t see the scar, I will be able to forget about it.”

In a world where violence, loss and death are everyday realities, this may be true. But Muya will not forget. He promises his colleagues will follow up and ensure that the woman receives both the physical and psychological care she desperately needs.  “I don’t want her to lose hope.  I’ll keep listening. I want her to know she hasn’t been forgotten.”    

Muya and his “band mates” of CARE staff are all rock stars- constantly performing with great dedication to provide food and water supplies, shelter, and psychological counseling and support for victims of gender based violence. Additionally, CARE’s training programs provide education and resources for long-term development. Muya is a great example of how aid in the form of training programs creates opportunities for ongoing development-- help comes full circle, and movement is continuous.

Tune in next week as my colleague, Rick delves into more of the positive effects as result of aid and educational programs—especially in the case for women and girls.  - Niki

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