Twenty-two-year-old Jacque Mweso fled his hometown Bukavu in 2016, he sought refuge at his uncle’s home in Bigo, Bunia only for him to be caught in a tribal clash that displaced and scattered his remaining family.
“Earlier this year, tribes were fighting; the Bajegere, Bahema and Balendu started killing each other. On the morning of the attack, at around nine, we heard screams across the village, the men were killing everyone that was not of their tribe. We fled in different directions, I joined a large group of people that was fleeing from other villages. For three days and three nights, we walked until we reached the shores of Lake Albert.
We took a boat.
Each one was charged 20,000 Congolese francs. Luckily for me, I had some money in my pocket. We were twenty people on the engine boat. After several hours on the lake, we were on the other side, at Sebagoro in Uganda. At the shores, there was a refugee bureau that received us. The following morning, a bus came for us and we were taken to Kyangwali refugee camp.
At Kyangwali, I was given a piece of land about ten by ten meters, they gave us meals. I was hoping that my uncle would join us soon. My uncle never came. I have never heard from anyone again.
I made a Ugandan friend that came to the camp frequently, he told me about Kampala. I wanted a job. He promised me one. In April, I came to Kampala with my friend. Then I arrived, things were not as clear as I had imagined. Days later, I never saw him again, he had disappeared in Kampala’s large crowds.
Here I was, I don’t know Luganda, neither do I speak English. I tried to speak Kiswahili but almost all the Ugandans I spoke to did not know any Kiswahili. One night I slept on a woman’s veranda here in Katwe, she asked me why I was sleeping outside. I narrated my ordeal. She told me that she knew a church that had many Congolese refugees. She took me to the church. They received me. In my bag, I was carrying a mosquito net that I had been given at the camp. It is one of my few possessions so I thought it was a good idea to add it in my small backpack. The pastor of the church told me that they would offer me a place to sleep. Two months now, I sleep on the floor of the church. I lay my mosquito net on the floor, and I sleep on it. I got a job to work as a porter on a building, the project is complete so the job is over. I am looking for another one. I was studying welding when that clash in my village broke out. I can weld, I can porter at buildings, I can do all sorts of menial work. I am desperately searching. I hope that something will come up soon.