Hope for Refugees

by Christina, DTS student

A mother and her infant at the refugee camp on the Uganda - Tanzania border.

A mother and her infant at the refugee camp on the Uganda – Tanzania border.

My team ate breakfast together at a gas station, excited and nervous for what the day would hold. We were going to a refugee camp near the Uganda/Tanzania border, one where sickness ran rampant and food was in short supply. We didn’t know what to expect, only that we had some baby clothes and food to give away.

We were going to “do small things with great love.” (Mother Teresa)

The ride took about an hour. Huts, covered in plastic tarps stood in endless rows upon rows. The tarps were barely enough to keep out the heavy rains. And while days here are hot, the nights are cold. I could hardly imagine how three or more generations lived in one hut — children with their parents and grandparents sharing 7″x15″ of space.

Carsten, our guide, told us that this same refugee camp had been in Tanzania but that all of the people were forced to leave the country. Where should they go? Last August they all moved to Uganda. Carsten said Uganda didn’t want to have the refugees in their cities either. So the people were here, without passports, without anywhere else to go. For many, this refugee camp would be their home for the rest of their lives.

Our team brought our supplies to a church in the camp. Once people learned what we had to give, more and more people came. We soon ran out. It was hard knowing we couldn’t give things to everyone–but we could give them all a little hope that God had not forgotten them.

I thought about what it must be like to be a refugee. To not have a hospital, or a school, or a place to grow food. A refugee lives day to day. The more I thought about it, the more impressed I was by the strength of the people who came to receive our gifts of food and clothes. They haven’t given up. They have hope for today and the next day.

I had to step outside of my comfort zone to help them. And I can continue to give to these precious people who are loved by God.

This is what we are called to do. And this is what life is worth living for!