SS Refugee Crisis Blog 7: My son would be buried now
Whilst we’ve been in Uganda The Baptist Convention of South Sudan asked us to help with Pastors conferences on disability inclusion across northern Uganda. We’ve had the privilege of helping to equip 120+ leaders through 6 different conferences. It’s been incredible to see peoples perspectives change and plans for inclusion programmes subsequently emerge.
On Saturday we were invited to a disability day organised by one of the churches as a result of the training. It was truly incredible to see their efforts to bring people together, some who’d never been to church and spent much of their life isolated at home. We had nothing to do with this day, nor did we provide any funding (in-fact they turned down our offer of support as wanted to do this out of their own means). To see transport put on, gifts (Bibles) given, a meal provided, all by the local church, themselves struggling in poverty, was humbling.
As an example of the challenges, outside the church were 300+ jerry cans each one or two representing a family awaiting for water (a common scene through out the camp). As an aside, how do you participate in such a system if you’re housebound? This particular church is responding and is already planning their next event, alongside follow up house visits in the coming weeks.
The individuals at this event really were amongst the most vulnerable we’ve met and truly needed hope and love. Many shared in confidence harrowing stories which we cannot share. Such grief we cannot imagine, but to see individuals touched by this day and the message of Jesus’ love for people with disabilities, made this whole trip worthwhile.
We’ve completed our disability needs assessment now and the challenges for individuals like this women are widespread. The biggest needs expressed were food and nutrition (rations have dropped from 12kg per month to 6kg), access to health and disability services, and basic care packages/shelter support. We’re now submitting our proposal to the Ugandan Government to respond and really ramp things up.
Then, on our final day in the camps, we dropped by Modi’s house briefly. Some of you may remember his story. He was the little boy I’d met in March, in a desperate condition (malnourished and covered in sores), tied to a tree. I left fearing I’d never meet him again, such was his physical and emotional condition…I doubted how long he could survive.
What transformation to come back, and thanks to HHA’s efforts, see this precious boy progressing. His mother explained that on their way to the refugee camps they lost him a few times. ‘Whenever we don’t have food, he runs off searching for food, that’s why we have to tie him up’ she exclaimed. Fortunately, thanks to HHA’s help this has become less of any issue through the simple food provision we’ve provided. The mother had greater joy and peace than before. Thanking our efforts, she said that had HHA not responded, her boy would have surely been buried by now. Sometimes HHA’s aid isn’t as black and white as this, but on this occasion I give thanks that we were able to respond in a way which has literally saved a young boys life. He is now healthier, becoming more vocal, and evidently more engaged in family life.
We’ll continue to support this family, and with your help…can hopefully support many more. Thank you.