Most people are aware that Fred Taban’s visa to stay in the UK was not extended and had to suddenly leave the country on Tuesday 25th October. This came as a huge shock to him but also to everyone who knows and loves him. He was particularly sad at not being able to say a proper goodbye to everyone he has met and the huge number of people that have become his friends during his two year stay in the UK.
All Nations College where he was studying for a degree in Theology and Intercultural Studies, a two year course said this had never happened before. However, ‘before’ was preceding the new tough immigration rules for overseas students following Brexit. Even though Fred had just 5 weeks of term remaining to complete his studies he was not allowed to stay. Sadly there is a UK Home Office blanket decision that all students who need or wish to extend their studies have to return to their home country to do so ! A totally unrealistic expectation.
Fred flew back on Emirates and was met at Entebbe by his wife Peres Pita and his oldest son Sunday, the three then stayed in Kampala. Unfortunately, while there Fred took to his bed for three days with complete exhaustion due to the shock of transition from one world to another with no time to prepare himself mentally or physically.
Fred then travelled to Arua to his family home at Rhino Camp. This is a refugee camp where his family have been living for several years and were at least safe, Fred having been certain violence would break out in South Sudan while he was away. Sadly his prophecy on this has proved true, the country is particularly unstable and violence a regular occurrence, caused by the President and Vice President fighting each other and creating tribal hatred.
Rhino camp is now three times over capacity as hundreds of South Sudanese flee from places such as Yei to seek sanctuary.
Fred was given a marvellous greeting on his arrival but this soon naturally changed as large numbers came to seek his wise counsel. Consequently, he got very little peace and was struggling to cope – overwhelmed by people’s genuine need and family tragedy.
It was soon apparent rather than managing to settle down to some academic work Fred would be expending his energy in just surviving and supporting others. Therefore, Caroline suggested that he took Peres and look for accommodation outside the camp.
Fred and Peres found a simple brick house with some light and power to charge phones and laptops just a few miles away (see main image). With CRESS funds he was able to move his family, for Peres another blessing is that the water bore hole is very near – which will make her life much easier.
Fred has now left his family in their new home and has travelled to Kampala where he will stay in simple lodgings whilst he finishes his academic work before having Christmas with his family in their new home.