Dreams in The Land of Hope

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

The area of Relocation at Waai. The Land of Hope

 ”Why would they come here every day?” thought Usi Kos in the first days of JRS’s visits at the warehouse turned makeshift shelter at Vitas Barito. “I thought Ms. Ning and Mr Edi are teachers because they liked to gather the children,” she continued with a laugh.

Usi Kos belongs to one of 29 refugee families living in an old warehouse that is unfit for tenancy. The Vitas Barito warehouse, located in the city of Passo, Ambon, is dire, dark, without air circulation. Under a leaking tin roof each family here lives in a room partitioned by plywood. The plastered cement floor has holes; the wooden beams holding the roof seem fragile. Access to clean water here is minim and disposing of used water a challenge. Living in an old warehouse over years is certainly not what any of the families dreamed of.

Before living Vitas Barito, Usi Kos’s family had to migrate repeatedly after fleeing the conflict that erupted in Kariu, Haruku, on February 14, 1999. The dream and greatest hope of the displaced people here is to one day have a decent and healthy home. JRS, present in the midst of them, tried to help the displaced people to achieve their dreams of a safe place to stay by searching and securing the ownership of land for the families in the village of Waai. After land titles are secured they can begin to build a house and a new home.

Usi Kos said she learned many new things during the last year spent together with JRS. “I am very grateful that JRS came to Vitas Barito. My family now owns land in Waai. I will take best care of what JRS has helped to realize for me and my family. I do not know how to thank JRS” said Usi Kos.

“I hope in Waai later, my family and I can build a house, cultivate gardens and raise chickens,” said Usi Kos. “I also want to have a small kiosk in Waai” she added excited.

Usi Kos’s story is only one of many encountered by JRS providing services and companionship during 2012 in Vitas Barito. Her story bares the hope of many other Internally Displaced People still scattered in the corners of the Ambon Island and Maluku. For many of them it is still a long way to achieve a real durable solution.

JRS lessons learned during its presence with internally displaced people in Vitas Barito have been presented in a Focus Group Discussion of Decision Makers on February 18, 2013 and will be published in a case study soon. Stakeholders including local government representatives, representatives of the Regional Council in Maluku, Local NGOs, the National Human Rights Commission Maluku and members of displaced communities were present to express their concerns about the conditions of long term Internally Displaced Persons in Ambon and identify opportunities that can inspire future solutions. For JRS, these discussions also were a sign of commitment, of those attending that day, to continue to care and accompany displaced communities until they achieved a durable solution.

Berkat Tuhan par katong samua… May God bless us all.

JRS team Ambon

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