By our community in Ukusijoni, Uganda
In our common project in which we collaborate closely with the Missionaries of Africa, we are at the stage of needs assessment, and we have just finished in one of the refugee settlements. We go to the refugee settlements and meet people, listen to them through group discussions, home visits, interviews and questionnaires.
It is a very enriching and necessary time. We have an opportunity to discover with details the reality in which the refugees live, their struggles, pains as well as their aspirations and hopes. However, at the same time, it is a challenging experience as we meet face to face with real human suffering. The most heart-breaking sharing is about the lack of food: reduced ratio given by the UN, rocky place or no land where to cultivate for oneself, crops destroyed by cattle… many find themselves in a hopeless situation. There was a sharing among others, of a woman who crushes rocks to sell them and get some money to buy something to eat for herself and her family. Exhausted after the whole day of work, she manages to crush about two small containers of stones that do not give enough income to feed even one person that day…. while sharing she cried… Another heart-breaking reality that we discovered in one of the settlements is a big number of elderly people living alone, who because of their physical condition do not manage to find other ways of getting food, who always finish the month hungry, who depend so much on the help of others and get ready to die in foreign land. Another experience is the reality of many children and youth forced to drop out of school because of lack of school fees, and that leads mothers to shed tears for those children who want to go to school like others.
Many lose hope as their dreams of going back to South Sudan are shuttered by the continuous violence in their country. They ask us to pray for them, for peace in South Sudan. They ask us to hear their cry and speak for them to those who can bring some change to their living conditions.
In face of all the sufferings we encounter, we learn to accept our own vulnerability and powerlessness. In our hearts resounds even louder the call of the Lord: “I have heard my people’s cry, whom shall I send?” and each one of us has to take courage each day to say anew: “Here I am Lord”.