Rise Up & Talk: Refugee Radio, Ep IV
Rise Up & Talk: Refugee Radio (5/6)

Rise Up & Talk: Refugee Radio, Ep IV

Refugees share firsthand accounts of arriving in Uganda, being screened and processed at UNHCR distribution centers, then dropped off in the bush with thousands of other refugees and nowhere else to go.

In the fourth episode of the series, producer and host Richard Akim asks members of his community to remember their moments of arrival in Uganda as refugees. We hear what they encountered on their first days in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement and what they expected to find in the camp: safety, employment, means to support children and siblings, education opportunities for the youth, a better standard of living. Some of their aspirations came to fruition; more often they did not. Those interviewed have chosen to share with the world a rare knowledge they’ve acquired about what is means to be vulnerable, what it means to be victimized, and what it means to endure.

Scenes from the collection, screening, and distribution centre, and the drop-off.

Packed onto the flatbeds of UN lorries, an inconceivable mass of survivors were dropped off on the side of a dirt road, given buckets and matts, and told to create a camp in the bush despite the roving packs of wild pigs, monkeys, and snakes. The environs were so feral and disorienting that many were unsure which country they were actually in. It didn’t matter; one way or another they had to start rebuilding their lives from the ground up. And they had to do so without the benefit or burden of tribal councils and political partisanship.

rending in black and white of bidi bidi refugee settlement
A rendering of Zone 2 of Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement with the South Sudan border in the background.

Bidi Bidi rapidly grew in to a refugee district of 250,000 residents, defined by its melange of ethnic backgrounds, languages, belief systems, cultural histories, and tribal hostilities. Today, it is one of the largest, most dynamic refugee congregations in the world.

Rise Up & Talk, Episode IV

Bidi Bidi Podcast episode IV (22m, 04s). Produced and hosted by Richard Akim. Edited by German Andino.

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