Maria Feck and Christoph Titz traveled to Uganda and were particularly impressed by the large numbers of refugees taken in by the small country. In an interview, the reporters talk about unusual refugee camps, corruption and the soundtrack of their trip.
Adventurous travel, unforgettable encounters, anecdotes and impressions from foreign countries: In the Hörweite podcast series SPIEGEL ONLINE reporters talk about their reporting trips around the globe (in German). In this edition, political editor Christoph Titz and freelance photo and video journalist Maria Feck talk about their research trip to refugee camps in Uganda. Here, you can read an abridged, English-language version of the interview.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Christoph, what was the idea behind your reporting trip?
Christoph Titz: We wanted to describe the apparatus which ensures that so many people in South Sudan and Uganda affected by the conflict in South Sudan are provided with enough food. This whole operation is very large, technically complex, very expensive and is operated for the most part by the World Food Program of the United Nations, or WFP.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: You visited several refugee camps in northern Uganda. Do they look the way they are depicted in TV news stories about refugee camps around the world?
Maria Feck: The two camps we visited, Bidibidi and Imvepi, actually looked more like villages. Each refugee family is given 900 square meters, or 9,687 square feet, of land, where they can build a house. They can also grow vegetables and earn some extra money by selling them at a small stall in the camp. Everyone has a relatively large amount of space, and it is simply quite different from the images of refugee camps we are accustomed to seeing. But we also went to the registration center in Imvepi, where the buses arrive with large numbers of people. Things get backed up there and the atmosphere is a bit tense, because the new arrivals spend days or weeks in large communal tents before they are given their own piece of land. There were supply bottlenecks because food deliveries were arriving too late.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: But the fact that everyone gets a piece of land is a sign of a very generous refugee policy.