Farewell to Doctor Jonathan. The time of the MAF flight was checked numerous times before final departure, after Tuesday’s change of plan. The departure lounge was the cool shade of a large tree just off the grass airstrip with a few plastic chairs, a wooden bench and a tree stump for seating.A bell sounded not for the arrival of the plane but break time at the neighbouring primary school. All the children dressed in bright yellow shirts and deep blue skirts or shorts appeared to watch the plane, which appeared in the sky like a big bird over the treetops in the distance a few minutes later.
A bell sounded not for the arrival of the plane but break time at the neighbouring primary school. All the children dressed in bright yellow shirts and deep blue skirts or shorts appeared to watch the plane, which appeared in the sky like a big bird over the treetops in the distance a few minutes later.
Then the short journey of only about an hour took us to the refugee camp at Belemaling, where a large number of the Kajo Keji escaped to after the violence broke out in January. The camp is so large that it’s divided into different zones. Our meeting in Zone 1 was organised by the mother’s union and the participants were invited from all zones. Our welcome at the camp reminded me of the reception we had on arrival at Bishop Anthony’s house in Kajo Keji in 2013. The women started singing and dancing, waving palm branches and moving us towards our seats. I felt a mixture of joy at being reunited with this community and sadness about the different circumstances in which they now find themselves.
The women were so delighted to see their ex Bishop’s wife Jane Poggo, and also the 2 new Bishop’s wives, Cecilia and Yango. They were desperate to greet them and shake hands and embrace to share their pain.
As guests we sat under a shelter decorated with brightly coloured fabrics, the poles adorned with colourful pieces of crochet work. We were officially welcomed to the camp with a speech and prayers. There were a number talks interspersed with dancing and singing. Caroline talked about CRESS and the Mothers Union initiative to train people in the camps to make reusable sanitary pads and she talked of the generosity of our supporters in providing a thousand pairs of pants. They was great hilarity and joy as the pants were produced. Mama Jane Poggo reassured them that they were not forgotten since they have been displaced from their homes and that we share their sorrow.
For me, their sadness became real on meeting mama Jane sister, Beatrice, who is suffering terribly mentally in the camp.
Dr Jane Guy
Thursday 28th September 2017