Above: Ethiopian artist, Tsegamalak, unrolls some of his work as part of “Destiny Art Group”, a refugee artist collective. Tsegamalak heard that my children were artists when I preached in his church last Sunday and he was eager to show me his work. He was also quick to tell me that he lived a very different lifestyle before coming to know Jesus. Today he is filled with peace and joy – even here in Kakuma.
Above: While walking back to the NGO compound, we saw a film crew and photo shoot going on, so we decided to have a look. We were quite surprised when Miss World Refugee Day 2017 (Kakuma) walked away from the cameras to greet us. Her name is Lillian and she has quite a story (taken from a UNHCR report).
Lillian Ochan, 22-year-old refugee and model from Ethiopia, was forced to flee her home country in December 2006 after armed men in military uniforms attacked their town killing many and forcing many more to flee. During her flight, Lilian and her younger sister, Lucy, got separated from their mother. For two years, the two little girls had no idea of their mother’s whereabouts. Lilian was only 11 years old, just two years older than Lucy.
In 2008, the two girls were reunited with their mother before crossing the Kenya – South Sudan border. The family of three has spent the past 9 years as refugees in Dadaab refugee camp before being relocated to Kalobeyei settlement early this year.
Alexandria, Lilian’s mother was a refugee before meeting and getting married to Lilian’s father, Mr Ochan. She fled her home country in the year 1994 during the Rwanda genocide. “I have been a refugee all my life. I have no idea what to expect from such a life,” she says.
During her flight from Gambella in Ethiopia, Alexandria lost her baby, barely a month before her expected date of delivery. “ What hurts me most is knowing the person who killed my unborn child and drove me from my homeland is walking freely while my daughters and I are seeking refuge in a country that’s not my own,” says Alexandria.