A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City

Around the world there are an estimated 33 million people who have been forced from their homes due to war and conflict. Starting this morning and running through Sunday, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders will be in Houston, outside the Wortham Center, to allow you to see firsthand what life is like for refugees. Houston Public Radio's Rod Rice reports.

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It's called "A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City"

"We have a food distribution unit. We have a therapeutic feeding center where we treat the most malnourished children under five years old. We have a water distribution point where people can get an idea of what it would be like to carry their family's daily water ration from the water distribution unit to their tent. We also have a dispensary set up and a Cholera Unit."

Visitors will get a tour of the exhibit from Doctors Without Borders veterans like Aide Worker Jennifer Vago.

"I did three mission in Sri Lanka in the north and the east, sort of the bad side of the war front, I've done two missions in Liberia, I worked in Sierra Leon, and I just returned from my third mission in Sudan. Most of my missions have been in countries where's there's armed conflict and it can be kind of an intense working experience, so I usually divide my time between some time in the field, and then I'll come back and take a year off or two years off and do something a little bit more stable."

Vago and the other guides will use their experiences to give a first hand account of what they seen in the field.

"We give people an opportunity to go through this exhibit and actually put their foot prints in the place of refugees to see what it would be like to run away from home, to try to find shelter, to build a shelter out of almost nothing, and then to sort of languish for days or weeks or months in this kind of limbo that is not quite home but is the only place you have to live."

Each tour takes about 45 minutes. They begin at nine this morning and the last one is at 5:30 each day, rain or shine. You don't have to sign up for the tour, Vago says it's run just like a refugee camp, if you show up they'll take you in at no charge. For more on the exhibit and Doctors Without Borders, you'll find a link at kuhf.org.

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