Thursday, April 01, 2004

Most of us think of refugee camps as bleak, temporary places made up of tents filled with wretched souls.

But doing some research for my proposed trip to Zambia and Angola it became clear that not all refugee camps are the same.

I'm hoping to visit the Meheba camp in northwestern Zambia. It was only when I read this report that I realised what a huge place it is.

It is, in effect, a town -- with more than 30,000 people living there, mud-brick houses, schools and its own system of self-government. It takes a hour to drive from one side to the other.

If I manage to get there, a key part of the story will be looking at how Angolan families who have spent most of their lives living in the camp in Zambia adapt on returning to a homeland many of them have never known.


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