Of all the items on the team’s programme, we were probably most apprehensive about our visit to the Rhino Refugee Settlement. The 3 people, Mickey, Moses and Mark, who have being working with the refugees in the settlements on behalf of the diocese (in partnership with CMSI) kindly agreed to lead our visit.
Our first stop was the reception centre through which every refugee has to register, currently up to 1000 per week, and we were remarkably surprised at how organised everything was. Many of these refugees had come from South Sudan and DR Congo to be screened before being allocated a space within the settlements.
We then visited one of these settlements to see first-hand the programs that Mickey, Moses and Mark are involved in. We discovered that a number of self-help enterprises had been set-up so the refugees were being enabled to support themselves, their families, the church and the wider community. These enterprises included things like soap making, a barbers shop, craft and jewellery making and the biscuit baking.
As the saying goes, “God helps those who help themselves!” These refugees, with a little bit of encouragement from their friends from Madi West Nile, were indeed doing all that they could to improve their circumstances!
We had worried unnecessarily about this visit as this program is without doubt making a huge difference to the people who’ve had the opportunity to participate in it. We are also very aware that what we were witnessing, good as it is, was just a tiny light of hope shining in a very dark place, but light none the less!