The Anguished Plight of Refugees in Eastern Africa
Produced, written and directed by Gerard Thomas Straub
Set in Eastern Africa, We Anoint Their Wounds tells the inspirational story of the noble and heroic work of Jesuit Refugee Service, a world-wide ministry serving both refugees living isolated lives in remote, massive refugee camps and refugees living marginalized lives in the bleak, lonely shadows of urban centers.
In Eastern Africa countless people are left outside the circle of life; they are shunned, disempowered, ignored and forgotten. They are refugees, desperate people fleeing hunger and violence in such drought-stricken and conflict-riddled nations as Somalia. They live in huge, secluded over-crowded refugee camps. This film features the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwest Kenya. It is home to 95,000 refugees. Under the burning heat in Kakuma, life is direct and raw. To be a refugee means to live on the edge of society, socially and politically ostracized. Around the world there are more than 50 million people who have been forcibly displaced, and 80% of them are women and children.
Jesuit Refugee Service has been bringing life into these dreadful refugee camps around the world for more than 30 years. Their sole mission is to accompany and serve refugees and to advocate on their behalf. Their motto has been reduced to three simple yet powerful words – accompany, serve, advocate – that taken together form a tangible sign of love and hope. JRS works in 50 countries around the world.
The film will also look at the harsh, hidden and solitary lives of refugees who fled the camps and are living in the shadows of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Many refugees live in massive slums. In order to survive some refugees have no other option than picking through the rotting waste of garbage dumps, desperately searching food to eat and recyclable items they can sell.
To be a refugee is to live a life of fatigue and long journeys. It’s a draining, dreary life, filled with fear and anxiety. For many it can be a life of constant uncertainty and unbearable physical and emotional suffering. For the most part, it’s a life of being ignored and scorned. Refugees are often greeted with deaf ears and hard hearts, forced to face a wall of indifference. To be a refugee is to endure a life of mental anguish, a life of being unwanted and unloved.
People who are starving, homeless, friendless, so easily lose the sense of their human dignity. It is not enough to give them what they need. We must restore their self-worth, their human dignity, in such a way that their hope and trust in humanity are rekindled.
From the very beginning, Jesuit Refugee Service was a ministry of being with refugees rather than doing for refugees. At its core JRS shares love, hope and faith with people living in intensely difficult situations. In the eyes of JRS, refugees are all God in exile.