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Michael Arunga: How I cheated death while working in war-torn Congo

September 22, 2018
Collins Ogutu
for Chams Media Digital

He has been caught in the middle of many conflicts in various countries in Africa. His line of work demands that no matter the situation, life or death, he be there to offer support to the vulnerable and to tell the world the reality of human sufferings across Africa. And that, he has done, at least to the best of his knowledge.

Today on our continued African edition of Daring Abroad, we feature Michael Arunga, a Kenyan humanitarian communication specialist who tells us that from 1996, he has missed death by a whisker.

Not once, not twice but on numerous occasions. “We don’t choose to be born in peaceful countries,” he says. “All of us could have been born anywhere." That is what motivates him.

Michael Arunga: How I cheated death while working in war-torn Congo 1

Michael Arunga says what motivates hims is his quest for a peaceful continent. PHOTO| COURTESY

Michael Arunga's journey traces back to 1996, when he joined World Vision. A Non Governmental Organization that offers support to the vulnerable people in the society and victims of conflicts across the African continent.

His work, clearly cut out, is to go to the areas effected, share stories of victims and to call for support from agencies. And in that line of duty, he has lived in tents among internally displaced persons (IDPs), with no food, water and even latrines.

He has been in every major African conflict since 2006 and where he is needed the most, there he has been to. Including places he almost lost his own life.

“There was this day I was to go to the field but decided to ask my assistant to replace me on that trip and they were attacked,” Michael narrates. “Three of my colleagues, including my own assistant was shot at.”

Michael Arunga: How I cheated death while working in war-torn Congo 2

Michael has been to all major conflicts in Africa. PHOTO| COURTESY

But that was not all. On another occasion, while on duty in Goma in the Democratic Republic Of Congo, Michael says he had to abandon his team and run for his dear life.

Rebels had attacked the town at midday and struck, there was a looming war since this happened near a military barracks.

“In Goma, our office was next to military barracks and the rebels struck the town at midday,” he adds. “I was forced to flee under a hail of bullets.”

So what kept him going despite all the risks in his line of duty?

Catch more on this inspiring and captivating story on Daring Abroad in the video attached.

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