Sunday, May 13, 2007

from the "a visit to Krisan" dept.

I have a ton of things to write about this week, but unfortunately time is short. What I'll do is post the latest in bits and pieces.

The big news is that Skyy reporter Christian Baidoo and I finally got a chance to visit the Krisan refugee camp located near Eikwe, Ghana, just west of Takoradi.

We've been trying to get official permission to visit the camp for more than a month, but we've been treated like a hot potato -- bounced from one agency to another. So, we decided that we would just go out there and sniff around.

In December 2005, there were riots at the camp over what many residents claimed were poor living conditions. Read more about the event here. We wanted to follow up on the story and see if things had improved.

When we arrived, we decided the best course of action was to wander around Eikwe, looking for camp residents to talk to. It didn't take long.

We spoke to man who is a Krisan resident and, within a few minutes, we were surrounded by at least 10 more refugees.

We interviewed a variety of people who had fled places like Sudan, Liberia and Togo. One 17-year-old girl has called Krisan home since she was four. A 35-year-old engineer explained how he was prevented from working (and earning money) and is forced to sell part of his food ration every month.

There were many stories about life in the camp and how the situation remains tense and dire, 18 months after the violence.

Christian and I then tried to enter the camp -- but camp security politely told us to leave and get official permission. To be fair, we just showed up on a Saturday afternoon, and the camp manager was not on site.

We're now going to sift through the video tape interviews and then try and get the United Nations High Commission on Refugees to comment. We hope to return for that side of the story very soon.

I didn't have the opportunity to shoot very many still pictures as I was shooting video. And several of the camp residents didn't want their faces shown.

But, here's a few still images (more on flickr) :

The only sign marking the location of the camp.

Several residents near Krisan's main entrance.

Residents inside the camp.

A refugee cycles to Eikwe.

Krisan, as seen from the highway.

One of the stories:

This man came up to Christian and me outside Krisan's main entrance. A refugee from Sudan, he said he had been living in the camp for several years.

He told us he had been diagnosed with throat cancer and is in need of special treatment. The file he holds contains his health forms and doctor's assessment that confirm the need for treatment.

He says that he doesn't have the money to travel for treatment and the various organizations that run the camp won't help.

His story will be part of documentary Christian and I have started on the camp.

That's it for now. More to come soon.


No comments: