Those we perceive on “the margins of life” often open to us a glimpse of God’s kingdom.
I have been a refugee for most of my life. I remember clearly the day, years ago, when I fled my country, Burundi, to go to Zaire with my parents and five younger brothers and sisters. We moved to a camp for Burundian refugees where I was to live and work for the next 21 years.
I became a catechist, serving Catholics in the camp, which was a substation of Mboko parish. After 10 years I became the head catechist. I met a Congolese woman, Murishi Janette. We married and started a family.
Today, my life continues as a refugee. My mother died and is buried here in Nduta where my ninth child was born. We are sheltered from war and we receive food every two weeks. But camp life is very hard. Our family and friends are scattered, I do not know where some of my brothers and sisters are. I continue to serve the church, working as a catechist with JRS. Part of my work involves teaching and preparing young couples for the sacrament of marriage.
There are many difficulties and little joy for us refugees, yet it is impossible for a Christian to lose hope. The patience and endurance I need come from God. After more than 30 years of being a refugee, I am confident God knows when I will return home.
Adapted from God in Exile, 2005