To be a “refugee” in your own country is a stark cutting pain, that slices through your identity, as one who questions his/her worthiness, to be an equal South Sudanese with all others.
The “Internally Displaced Persons” (IDPs), in camps throughout the country, seek protection and security from the fragmentation and continuous conflict of war that plagues this newest country in the world. (South Sudan became a Nation on July 9, 20ll.)
Cramped in city tent-dwelling areas, offered by Government and Church authorities, these escaping rural citizens find themselves lost and traumatized, having had to leave the familiar countryside and sustenance farming, which was their stronghold and family’s ground of being. More than 88% of the population has been in the countryside and involved in farming and pastoral activities.
Refugee Settlements outside of South Sudan (eg. Uganda), can be much more spacious and accommodating for living and even farming; and thus seem more humane.
The traumatic struggle of the IDPs is trying to find some semblance of their ethnic and national life, while being uprooted from their homes and villages for safety’s sake. They struggle for survival in urban centers, not being prepared for work there and vulnerable to the ills and misfortunes that city life provides.
We, of Solidarity with South Sudan, accompany and carry out trauma healing programs in the IDP Camps, as well as preparing Youth and Adults to be Agents to continue to carry on these programs and accompany individuals in their trauma healing.
All of us are traumatized in South Sudan! Killings, raidings, disrespect and destruction of persons’ property and very persons cry out for justice, healing and a way forward. So far we can only continue to offer our solidarity and services in the hope of preparing groups and individuals for a better path into the future.
Pray for South Sudan!
~ Thanks to Sr. Thérèse Hope Merandi for this witness from South Sudan