We Anoint Their Wounds
A film by Gerard Thomas Straub
currently in production and
anticipating release in early 2013
We Anoint Their Wounds will be the second feature-length documentary film produced by Pax et Bonum Communications. Set in Eastern Africa, the film tells the inspirational story of the noble and heroic work of Jesuit Refugee Service whose mission to the suffering refugees living in remote, massive refugee camps and in the bleak, lonely shadows of urban centers can be reduced to three simple yet powerful words: accompany, serve and advocate. The principal filming was done in Kenya during the last sixteen days of January, 2012.
In Eastern Africa countless people are left outside the circle of life; they are marginalized, 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, isolated, 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 lonely 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 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 ingratitude. To be a refugee is to endure a life of mental anguish, a life of being unwanted and unloved.
There are basically two types of refugees: those living isolated lives in camps and those living marginalized lives in cities. Both realities are dreadful, just in very different ways. We’ll explore both realities in this film.
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 in intensely difficult situations.