Humanitarian aid with Caravan of Mercy in Cameroon, West Africa, Ramadhan 1438/ June 2017 by Hamid AbuBakr, a brief account.
Brother Hamid was born in CAR and now lives with his wife and children in Leicester UK and has been a volunteer for Caravan of Mercy for 4 years, making humanitarian visits to Cameroon every year.
274,000 refugees, mostly Muslim, have fled from their native Central African Republic (CAR). Almost all of them live in very poor conditions within isolated refugee camps throughout Cameroon.
Br. Hamid and Molana Ebrahim (head of CoM), traveled from Leicester UK to Birmingham UK airport. Their flight was to Istanbul (Turkey) with a final flight to Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport, Cameroon.
The two CoM humanitarian volunteers spent 1 day in Yaoundé before they could board a 7:00pm train to Ngaoundéré (east Cameroon). This arduous train journey took around 14 hours.
The duo purchased food for the refugees in Ngaoundéré and then proceeded to load a rented truck which left before them for the Borgop refugee camp.
Hamid and Molana Ebrahim then took a car journey to go to Meiganga. From there they took another car 81 miles to the Borgop UN refugee camp and arrived the following day on Sunday at 2:00pm.
Distribution took 2 days.
There are 14,000 CAR refugees in the Borgop camp which is very small, over crowded and cut-off from everywhere else. The UN is supposed to support the camp residents but they didn’t receive food for 3 months. Some people couldn’t fast due to not having food to start and break their fast. The two CoM volunteers had purchased food to feed 1,500 people although they were faced with 14,000 needy people. Hamid AbuBakr stated that it was very hard for them to make a decision as to how to distribute the food. They made Mashourah (consultatiion) to break down the parcels so that more people could benefit from what they had. In the end they managed to feed 2,000- 2,500 hungry refugees.
Hamid said: “We slaughtered eight cows. Some people never ate [meat] since we gave them meat the same time last year.”
He further remarked: “It is very sad, you feel for them when you see how they live, the life over there. They are only depending on what Allah SWT and what people give them.”
Thanks to the CoM donors they were able to distribute rice, oil, sugar, tomatoes, pasta, onions and tea etc. around 10 different items to the needy CAR nationals.
Hamid added: “For last 4 years I have been going there, on the behalf of Caravan of Mercy, but this year I have found it to be completely different. And it is very very hard to make a decision because they have run out of food and the UN is not supporting them enough like the way they used to support them. At the moment the UN is only giving them cornflour, 15 kilos a month, so can you imagine 15 kilos of cornflour they have to just make that cornflour and dry it to become powder.” (Preparing cornflour is a 2 day process to make it into maize which they can finally cook with.)
“Alhamdullilah today we managed to give them rice, with rice it is much easier for them just to cook and for the children to eat. So we are trying our best by the help of Allah SWT and to support them and to give them at least food for a couple of days maybe for one week. And until that food is finished and then they go back to their normal life again, waiting for what Allah SWT provides them from our brothers and sisters from the UK, and [they] remember and send them their Zakaat, Sadaqat and Lillah. We really appreciate their help. In the refugee camp they are so desperate to see Caravan of Mercy over there because Alhamdulillah CoM is the only organisation which is on the ground in Borgop, supporting them and helping them and giving them hope to live.”
“Alhamdulillah we thank all those donors who remember them and send especially their donations through CoM and help those refugees in Borgop. It was a very frustrating trip this year. We saw a lot of things we never thought existed in even in the refugee camp. For example there is one boy we met there, by Allah, the whole day I was crying when I saw that boy. His leg is broken for 3 months, he has been sitting at home without any treatment. Without medication without any, even painkillers even Paracetamol. This boy was walking like this with a broken leg for 3 months. So we had to go to the office, UN office and shout at them and speak to them, then they managed to take action. So now we are working with Mawlana Ebrahim (head of COM) how we can support this boy to send him to hospital to get treatment. We thank all the donors and all the supporters who contribute their time their money their Du’aa (prayers). May Allah SWT give them long life, may Allah SWT give them Barakah (blessings) and may Allah SWT give those staff who work in CoM as well and ability to support because this is all that we are for.
We ourselves when we are going on the ground, Alhamdulillah we are sacrificing our time, we are taking risks to go there because even the area by itself there is no food. The area is a very risky area but we have to go there and help them for the sake of Allah SWT. So we thank everyone who contributed, may Allah reward you with good.