A longed-for welcome

Staff_team_2015 Posted by Roger Cooke, 23 days ago | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Since the days when the holy family escaped there, Egypt has been a nation that hosts refugees.

Dr Ibrahim (not her real name) works in a busy Cairo clinic sponsored by the Diocese of Egypt – part of the Church’s response to the large refugee population. She told us that she used to think the Somalian women were very difficult and ungrateful, until an appointment with one seemingly hostile woman.

This woman had no husband and lived with a group of Somali women in a particularly impoverished part of Cairo. She presented to the antenatal clinic for care during pregnancy, but refused to give any medical history or discuss her present circumstances.

Despite her frustration, Dr Ibrahim was determined to care for this woman, so she persisted in questioning her with as much compassion as she could manage. Eventually, the woman explained through tears that in fleeing the devastation in her own country she had lost all five of her children.

Throughout the pregnancy Dr Ibrahim took special care of this woman; what she previously thought of as aloofness she now understood as profound grief. For the pregnant mother, this Christian doctor provided a much longed-for welcome in a city which still did not feel like home.

Refugees in Egypt are often treated harshly, they face poverty and loneliness. The Church’s response is to provide a welcome through educational opportunities, food assistance and clinics like Dr Ibrahim’s. In a nation where the Church’s message is often restricted, the good news of Christ rings out loud and clear in the welcome given, even to the most difficult of strangers

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