Many of you will have seen our recent video announcement about the opening of a new office in Oruchinga, in Uganda's South West. It's a very exciting season for us and so we've asked Sophie, one of our field facilitators, to write a blog about her first few weeks on the ground there.
My name is Sophie and I am a field facilitator with Tutapona in the newly opened Oruchinga Field Office. Our team here are giving thanks to God for the opportunity we have been given by entering into a partnership with the American Refugee Committee (ARC) and are excited by how it will enable us to extend our services in this area. We are bringing emotional recovery to people here by helping them to manage stress, reduce symptoms of trauma and develop resilience.
Oruchinga is a smaller settlement compared to some others in Uganda. It is composed of 6,993 Congolese, Burundian, Rwandese and Eritrean refugees. Similar to the other settlements, here you can see the best of humanity; and although the stories we hear break our hearts, the strength and resilience we see shown has us that there is always hope in the world.
The first two weeks of fieldwork in Oruchinga have been incredible, especially as we’ve already seen a huge impact among the participants that took part in our first Empower program there. The refugees in this settlement are living in limbo, unsure of what’s to come. They’ve escaped the worst back in their home countries, but they are still waiting to have their lives restored from the traumatic experiences they faced. We hear unbelievable stories, but also ones of courage, hope and beauty – about how people have fled, running and leaving everything behind, and the struggles they still continue to face now. Some lost all they had - families and property; they think life is against them and that it’s meaningless. I’m moved by the fact that they choose to trust again, forgive and have their hope back working through the struggles with Tutapona.
Each day I go in and I keep my emotions at bay as I work, but I would be lying if I said there aren’t moments after a long day when I just want to sit down and cry. To be honest, there are a couple of times I’ve done it. While it’s very important to process things, it doesn’t change the pain refugees have gone through.
I can’t thank our donors enough for working tirelessly to enable us to keep moving and restoring hope of the broken hearted. All I can do is to give Glory to God.