Our first visit to Kakuma in 2019 has come to an end ant we are soon to begin the long journey back into the frozen world of Minnestoa.
We ended our day with a late afternoon visit with friends in the camp. We sat on plastic chairs in the humble compound of a Somali mother and had a remarkable conversation.
A Somali man shared his impressions from his time in Switzerland earlier this month. He was among the 6 co-chairs at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Imagine going from Kakuma to Davos – from one of the world’s forgotten places to hanging out with some of the wealthiest and most powerful people on the planet. And while he got a lot of attention while there, in the end he had to journey back to the camp. Forgotten again?
A Congolese mother shared that she is enrolled in a special training on developing a fashion business and brand. She’s actually already got a business set up in the camp and is highly sought after.
Our Somali host has a generous heart. She doesn’t speak English, but the others translate for her. She lectured me about having not stopped by to say good-bye when I was last in the camp. She had a custom made bedspread and pillow case made for my mom. She presented it to me today.
The challenge of keeping hope alive punctuated much of the conversation, as did the theme of how the refugee identity is dehumanizing, stripping them down to one part of their life – that of having been forced to flee their home and country.
These friends would be wonderful neighbors. But they have no country willing to take them in. It is a crime against humanity to leave them in a camp with nowhere to go. We all lose.
Still I pray – Father, please lead them to a city where they can settle. Amen.