Please take a moment to look at each face. I think you will agree that these are not people of whom anyone should be afraid. Yet they are stuck in a refugee camp with no way out because of rampant misrepresentation and fear mongering. Any one of us would be blessed to have such people as a neighbor and friend.
Refugees are people in need of protection and place. They are not a threat to anyone. Pass it on.
Professor George Kalantzis started a 3 day theological training intensive of church leaders from the refugee and surrounding host communities this morning. He’s continuing from where he left off last October.
These remarkable women and men play an instrumental role in helping people cope and even thrive in a context of protracted displacement.
A supportive community and life-giving faith/worldview are essential to strengthening human resilience and keeping hope alive.
Two water stories lead this first post from this visit to Kakuma.
We’ve been working on a massive project for several years that aims to provide drinkable water to a camp of over 2000 Internally Displaced People (IDP). We reached a major milestone last week. We struck water!
The drill first found some water at around 40 meters. It looked promising, but our NGO partner in Kenya encouraged them to keep drilling. At 80 meters they found nothing more and recommended to stop drilling. Our partner encouraged them to keep drilling.
Then it happened. At 110 meters they hit a water source that appears to be very promising.
The next step is to test the water quality. If it checks out as expected, this is the well for which we’ve been praying together all these years!
There are currently 15 wells serving the refugees and locals. Only 2 are still working. And one of them is no longer producing much. One well is trying to serve 200,000 refugees plus the local people. If it fails, it will be a humanitarian disaster on top of a humanitarian disaster.
We’re only getting water in the NGO compound for 2 hours at night. Every measure is being taken to conserve water.
This is a semi desert and people won’t last long if water fails. The rains aren’t expected for another 4-6 weeks. We can feel the tension in the air.
Would you pray with us that God will provide for the women, children and men here?
How strange it is to strike water at a time of an impending water emergency.
Photo: A Kakuma landmark visible from most of the camp. When the camp was first being built, many of the NGO staff were Christians and were known to often climb to the top of this hill and pray for the refugees. They called it “prayer mountain”.
It is time to say farewell to our friends in Kakuma. We are packing up our bags and getting ready for a final debrief with our NGO partner agency (NCCK) before we take the 90 minute UN flight back to Nairobi.
Our flights back to the US (via Europe) depart tomorrow night.