> Just outside of Ghana’s capitol Accra lies Budumburam, the vast refugee camp for Liberians with was founded with the help of the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR in 1990. A volunteer describes the camp like this:
Spatially, the camp is divided into twelve zones, ten of which are in the main camp area and two on the other side of the main road from Accra. Beyond the entrance to the camp is the main square which is surrounded by small stalls. In the middle are the UNHCR notice boards, which are checked regularly in hope of resettlement placement in the U.S.
Around the main square are the principal public amenities such as the camp clinic. The two main streets leading from the square are lined with small shops, stalls, bars, video clubs and Internet cafes. In addition to the official camp zones, there are also four “Gaps”: areas outside of the officially recognized organization of the camp. Mostly young people who came without parents or other relatives inhabit the Gaps. Together they form a sub-culture based heavily on black American youth culture and Rastafariah identity. The Gaps tend to be shunned by most people in the mainstream camp.
Between midnight and 5am there is a self-imposed curfew at camp and there are neighbourhood watch teams who patrol the camp at night. Even if I were allowed to walk around camp at night I for sure would not as there are no electricity which means you can’t see shit and the camp it self is a enormous labyrinth of small streets and allies so the possibility to get lost is as big as it gets.
The water and sanitation facilities at the camp are poor, and together with waste disposal need urgent attention. Due to the poor and expensive sanitation facilities on camp, many residents are resorting to “The Gulf”, a patch of bushy land at the outer perimeter of the camp. This is a problem because the Gulf is where accounts of molestation, rape and murder are taken place.
What is going on in this camp is a real shame, from just driving by it looks like a gigantic slum that has been misplaced. When reading the account above, I realize it is worse. Luckily as of recently many NGOs, researchers and volunteers walk the camp and shed light on what is going on there.
What is going on in Liberia itself, and why you should go there for vacation is discussed in this personable Washington Post article. Reading it I realize I have a lot to learn about the new Liberia.
For instance, did you know they have Star beer in Liberia too?
Pic with the Liberia flag with embedded map borrowed from www.feedmypeople.org.uk.