The place of God in the life of a refugee

Moyo Kabeya Pierre Morien, SJ

As part of my Pastoral experience, I was sent on a mission with Christopher Mbula, SJ to the Kakuma Refugee Camp. The Camp is located in North West Kenya. We took a United Nations’ plane to get there. Before even touching the ground of Kakuma, I was amazed by the size of the camp. It extends as far as the eye can see on an arid and very hot ground. After a few days of introduction, we joined the JRS staff group to fulfill JRS’s mission which is to accompany, serve and advocate. My original question was: “What is God’s place in the life of a refugee who left everything behind to save his/her life and his/her family?

The situation on the ground is really precarious for the refugees. They lack almost everything. Less than 6% have an economic activity worthy of the name. The help provided by agencies like JRS working with UNHCR is necessary. In my contacts with refugees, I realized one thing; beyond their lack “refugees are real persons.” They “Are men and women, children, young people and older people looking for a place to live in peace.” And their generosity will surprise you. God is part of their lives, their challenges and their hopes. No doubt JRS Kakuma does a lot.

As Pope Francis recommends, we are to “welcome,” “protect,” “promote” and “integrate” refugees. It is everybody’s business, not just the different agencies like JRS and UNHCR, because we are all members of the same human family.

Their situation is a call for our action.

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