Hundreds of thousands of people have returned to South Sudan since it became independent a year ago. We are working with our partner Caritas South Sudan and with local churches to support returnees as they rebuild their lives. We recruited local parish volunteers to help to build a transit camp in Juba, using tents and other resources provided by the International Organisation for Migration [IOM].
Gismala Gift, one of the volunteers, tells his story:
Our brothers and sisters in Khartoum have been suffering a lot. That’s why I make this sacrifice. We set up this camp with the International Organisation for Migration.
On the first day we offloaded huge poles from trucks. On the second day we constructed the tents. We sang as we made the tents. IOM would say, ‘Caritas, we need help here.’ And another group, ‘Caritas, come help here.’
On the third day they arrived. They feel they are welcome. We sang to them. Some of them cried because they are seeing South Sudan.
I did Arabic-English translation at the camp clinic. Many people had diarrhea, nosebleeds, cough, malaria. Some aren’t using their mosquito nets. We put up the mosquito nets for them.
We also cleared the ground, cutting the bushes. It was hard work. The day after, you’d wake up and your whole body would be in pain. But we love our brothers.