Of the more than 16,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, and Ethiopia, who live in Dzaleka Refugee Camp just outside of Lilongwe Malawi, the vast majority are women and children.
Opportunities for employment within the camp are scarce, even for the male refugees, so often the women of Dzaleka engage in whatever activities they can to keep busy and make a little extra money. Life in the camp is a day to day struggle for survival.
A young woman named Bebe has lived in Dzaleka for more than four years now. A refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she and her husband started a small restaurant not too long ago to try and bring in some income to help support their young daughter.
When you enter the modest home where the restaurant is operated you cannot help but feel the love the small family shares for each other. Bebe does everything she can to have you share that feeling, even passing around freshly baked bread she pulls off of her husband’s baking tray and sharing cold drinks with friends. Speaking with her you come to learn that times have not been so great in Dzaleka since a food crisis hit the camp. The small garden the couple had planted out back was uprooted in the night and all of the vegetables stolen.
Although visibly frustrated by the conditions, Bebe calmly expresses hope that God will bless the thief, because surely he needs the vegetables more than she does. She is the lucky one; she has two hands and the ability to plant again.
Bebe’s story is a true testament to the human spirit. It is a lesson in learning to see opportunities in even the hardest situations, no matter how hidden they may seem. She, along with millions of other refugees in all corners of the world, represents a spirit of survival which stands as an example to the rest of humanity.