I Had to Run

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Manage episode 218658735 series 1951941
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Imagine you have to leave your home immediately, and you have little time to grab anything to take with you. You don't know where you are going—you just know you have to flee for your life. Many people face a similar situation—one in every 113 people on the earth, in fact. There are 65 million people living in a state of limbo, and they don't know what's going to happen to them, but they do know they can't go home. After losing their homes, often their loved ones, and sometimes their identity, they desperately hope for safety and a new home. This episode is where data science meets refugees. Transcript: Hadidja Nyiransekuye: “It wasn’t until I started having as a teacher and a principal of a school when people come in the middle of the night to come attack my house. That’s when I decided I think I need to run again.” Ginette Methot-Seare: “I'm Ginette Methot-Seare, and you are listening to Data Crunch, a Vault Analytics production.” Hadidja: “Just think about something threatening you. Your first reaction would be to duck away from the noise or from whatever is threatening you. Now think about somebody coming with a gun or with a machete, threatening not only your life but the life of your loved ones. You run, you run. Everybody does.” Ginette: “And that’s exactly what Hadidja Nyiransekuye did twice.” Hadidja: “The first time I run, I run because I needed to run.” Ginette: “She was fleeing from bombs.” Hadidja: “It was a mass exodus. Everybody was running, so we run like everybody else.” Ginette: “Hadidja had to flee in her PJs with four children. One of them, a baby on her back.” Hadidja: “My little girl, Lydia, was eight at the time, and I had two of my nieces.” Ginette: “Her husband, who was imminent danger, fled first. And her boys also ran before her.” Hadidja: “It was hot. We were thirsty and hungry. And these young people were perched on . . .” Ginette: “pickup trucks” Hadidja: “And they would say, ‘Keep moving, keep moving! There’s a nice place called Mugunga; that’s where you’ll get food and you’ll get water and you’ll get shelter. And I remember saying to myself, ‘People are dying of Cholera, and I’m going to Mugunga on foot—like 50 miles?’ I just didn’t think I was going to make it.” Ginette: “As a child, Hadidja had polio. Everyone one in 200 polio cases leaves its victims permanently paralyzed. For Hadidja, while her virus didn’t paralyze her, it left her disabled. She walks with a cane and a leg brace.” Hadidja: “At the time, I actually ended up at the Center for People with Disability in the Congo because I had been treated there in my teens. And of course, you just wished people would just let you spread your mat or something you have on their door so you can spend the night there. But they were asking us to get out of the city, to go to that place where they were going to be building refugee camps, so in those conditions, you actually, you hear what other people are saying. Well you just follow because it’s not like you have a choice. Nobody knows where they are going when they are refugees. That’s why they’re called forced migrants.” Ginette: “Let me go back and fill in some holes for you. Hadidja’s story starts . . . ” Hadidja: “in the town of Gisenyi. That’s where I was born and raised.” Ginette: “Her town is right inside the border of Rwanda.” Hadidja: “It’s at the border of former Zaire, now Democratic Republic of Congo.” Ginette: “As she grew, she gained an education, became involved in women’s movements, and taught modern languages with an emphasis in applied linguistics. During that time, she married her husband, and they had four children. But then in the 1990s things became precarious in her country.” Hadidja: “People tend to think that the war in Rwanda started in ’94. Actually the war started on October 1, 1990.” Ginette: “Hadidja is referencing an invasion of a group of mostly Tutsis, a minority group,

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