Have you ever heard of the name ‘Kanisa Ndugu’? Maybe not. Well, the term is Swahili and it translates to ‘Sister Church’. Setting up a church in a foreign country, especially when one is a refugee, can be a hard assignment. Many refugees lack the financial muscle, material and even moral support to plant churches or run those already established.
It was dark when the attackers crept into the refugee camp. The girl was fast asleep when the first gunshot rang. She woke up with a start. She had been exposed to a conflict zone before to miss the unmistakable clap of gun fire. More shots followed and bullets whizzed past. The camp went berserk. Screams from terrified people flooded the scene.
Somewhere in Dowa district, in a village called Lilambwe, there is a girl named Esinala. Every morning at 8 AM, she bids farewell to her parents, shoulders her bag and sets for Dzaleka Trading Centre – a journey that takes about an hour on foot. Although the trip is long and exhausting, Esinala keeps a smile on her face knowing that she will return home later that afternoon with some money.
When we walked into the compound on that cloudless Thursday afternoon of 6 March 2017, the place was buzzing with kids. Jolly male and female schoolchildren donning sky blue ponchos as uniforms played within the premises, some chasing each other around while others simply watched the fun from a distance. A group of teachers meekly supervised the kids as a few other teachers who sat on chairs socialized with some of the children.