Nyibol, 17 years old

I am from Sirba, in Sudan. We had to flee. The enemy chased us from our village. It was the Janjaweed and the Sudanese government. First they bombed the village and then the Janjaweed came thru on horseback. They wounded and killed many people. 45 dead, 35 wounded. I can testify to that. I witnessed it. They killed my grandfather and my brother and my brother’s wife. I saw it. I was terrified. I fled, but afterwards, I came back to the village to bury the dead. Only after that did we leave to come here. We took nothing with us, We had nothing to take - everything had been destroyed – burned or taken. That was in February 2008.

In Sudan, I worked. I have never been to school. But in Sudan, life was good.
Here, though, life is very difficult. Life has changed terribly. Water is the worst problem. The women suffer the most as it is the women who have to go get the water. It takes 5 hours walk in each direction to get water. The closest place to get it is in Beersheba which is over the border in Sudan. And the other problem is that we don’t have containers for the water. This really limits how much we can carry at a time. The ones we have are old and broken.

Some people have donkeys, some don’t. Some carry the water on their heads. But without containers, we can only bring enough water for drinking and cooking. We have to make a choice, and we choose to drink and cook, rather than wash. We have no choice. We have no donkeys, no containers. And, we have to do this every single day.

You can imagine – to carry so many litres on your head for so long, so many hours to come back here, only to have to go back again the next day. Imagine. It is terrible. We are scared too, to go into Sudan. Scared that they will attack us. Sometimes, it happens – they attack, beat us and then take our water.

We leave after dinner in the night, to go get the water and we return in the morning. I have no time to sleep. We have no food here, we have to go to Birak. The ones who have animals sell them one by one, but those without animals have no way of buying food. The men can go to Birak and try and get work, but even getting work is not easy.

Sometimes, we have some dried food and we need to find sauce, sometimes we eat the leaves of the trees, but there is never any meat.

We are far from doctors, with no possibility of transporting the ill to doctors. Sometimes we try traditional medicine, but that is all we have. We don’t go to the refugee camps because we have a problem with our old people. We can’t get them to the camps and we can’t leave them here. We need so much. What I want is water, and for the children clothes, and food and medicine. I would like the children to go to school.