Eradi, one who notices others
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Eradi, one who notices others
Thursday, May 02, 2013

Eradi Salumu, JRS driver, 39-year-old father of three, one who notices others, Masisi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Masisi, 2 May 2013 – On his job contract it says he is a driver for the Jesuit Refugee Service team in the eastern Congolese town of Masisi. In reality Eradi Salumu is much more to JRS.

The 39-year-old father of three has been forced to flee conflict in Congo on several occasions. Although he has never been formally recognised as a refugee, he has lived in exile in a number of African countries. From South Africa he tried to get into Europe, but was sent back from Bulgaria and from Turkey. In the end, he gave up trying to reach his safety in Europe and returned to his native Congo.

"Throughout the last three years, Eradi's commitment to the JRS mission has only grown. Full of generosity, he often works long hours; when he receives you in his car he will say, 'welcome to my office'", reflected Sr Inés Oleaga, a colleague of Eradi's in JRS Masisi.

"A member of the tightknit minority Muslim community, Eradi enjoys speaking about 'things of God'. He believes that working for JRS helps him become a better Muslim. Without expressing it in words, the reason he is driven to share his pride of being Muslim and a JRS staff member is the priority the organisation places on providing compassionate service for those in the most vulnerable circumstances".

Many times along the road he is the one who notices when there is someone in need of assistance on the edge of the path.

"Many women owe him for helping them arrive to the hospital in time to give birth after wandering for almost 20 km! When conflict breaks out, which frequently occurs, he always supports the decision not to evacuate immediately and abandon his fellow Congolese compatriots. His decision is often to remain put and continue working".

On one occasion after the project dealing with sports and cultural activities had been suspended and the teams evacuated, Eradi remained behind refusing to leave behind, in his words, the young people. He organised several championships and continued to nourish their hope that someone would be able to come, take charge, and continue the activities as originally planned.

It would be fair to say that Eradi is the person in Masisi who best characterises the JRS mission – of accompaniment, service and advocacy.

"Many other organisations, even those from the local church are surprised to learn about his dedication to JRS, a Catholic organisation. However, the JRS team in Masisi sees it as a gift and a challenge, reminding us about the presence of God within all of us".