Posts Tagged 'Refugee camp'

We Anoint Their Wounds

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.

Fragrant Spirit of Life

Highlights from The Fragrant Spirit of Life: Misery and Hope in Uganda:


In this scene from The Fragrant Spirit of Life, we found Sam, Esther, and Jane outside the small village of Serere in eastern Uganda. They are currently being cared for through the nonprofit organizationVillage2Village. They now have a future and are embraced by the whole community with love and care.

A Note from the Director
The war-torn nation of Uganda, located in sub-Saharan East Africa amid lush landscapes offering an almost Eden-like existence, is one of the saddest places on earth. Death from the AIDS pandemic and the cruel violence of a brutal civil war and ethnic genocide have left countless numbers of children with nowhere to turn. They are tiny nomads, aimlessly wandering the streets, exposed to a host of dangers on every corner. Many of the countless orphans and their frail grandparents are digging up roots to eat. Untold numbers of children have their lives prematurely snuffed out by preventable diseases.

Childhood in Uganda has become a cycle of fear and despair. 40,000 children in Uganda have been violently abducted to fight as child soldiers or forced to serve as laborers or domestic slaves…or worse, sex slaves. I will spare you the bitter, numbing statistics that document the relentless, endless march of suffering and death that tramples the people of Uganda, destroying in its bloody wake families and communities. This film is about Uganda and four amazing people who are bringing the light of hope into this dreadful darkness.

You can feebly feel the pulse of infinite love beating within the rhythm of life in Uganda. Here you see the hands and feet of Jesus nailed to scrap wood over and over and over again. But the agony of poverty and violence cannot still the Spirit in the soil of the earth, in the souls of the people. The fragrant Spirit of Life smiles through the pain of living and the mystery of death.

In The Fragrant Spirit of Life I invite the viewer to enter into something beyond what is seen on the screen, and share deeply in the wonder and the sweet fragrance we inhaled in Uganda, the sweet fragrance of life, hope and joy we found in the midst of the pain, sorrow and death we encountered.

The Fragrant Spirit of Life is actually two, separate yet connected feature-length films. Spread over three trips, the two films document a five-week pilgrimage through dreadful darkness and into the heart of goodness. As you watch each film, pray; breathe in the Spirit, exhale the Love, and give birth to faith and hope in the dark corners of your life.
Gerry Straub

Sam, Esther, and Jane in January ’08 at Mama Helen’s home, four months after we first found them.
(January \'08) Sam, Esther, and Jane at Mama Helen\'s home, four months after we first found them.

Sam, howling with laughter as he dances to the beat of a song crackling through an old radio.
Sam at Mama Helen\'s

Some of the Village2Village children at the primary school, across from the new V2V Children’s Center.

More photos from Uganda (slums of Kampala, IDP camps of Gulu, and rural life)


*Please do not use our photos without permission.  Thank you.

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