Karen Stiller of Ottawa is a senior editor at
Faith Today. She visited Uganda for seven
days in May 2017. In addition to the war-related
crisis, South Sudan and neighbouring countries
also faced famine this summer. Learn more at
slips out of her hand and another
woman in line picks it up and hands
it back to her. The wallet must hold
the commendation letter she tells
me she has from the charity she
worked for in South Sudan. She
was a child protection officer.
I thank her for speaking with me.
I tell her I’m going to write a story
about all this. I wish her every
blessing in the world. I turn away
from her and leave her to the line.
Later, at the end of the day, I
think about her again. She stays
with me especially, I think, because of her perfect English, her
adorable son and commendation
letter that is so much proof of the
Refugees work their way through a warren of checkpoints and registration spots as they continue their journey to settlements. A group of refugees
acted out some of what they had survived for a group of journalists brought to Uganda by Samaritan’s Purse. The settlements are filled with mothers
and their children, many of whom lost their husbands, fathers and older sons to the conflict in South Sudan.
life she left behind.
I imagine Atite making her way
down a Toronto street, or maybe
Halifax, a smaller, more manageable landscape. In my mind’s eye
she walks down Barrington Street
through that stretch where it gets
very windy, and she is holding her
son’s hand. He has plumped out
and stretched up since arriving in
Canada. He has friends.
Atite looks down a side road and
notices the harbour sparkling in
the sun, like it does on a certain
kind of day. I imagine she is making
her way to an event she has organ-
ized to help other newly arrived
refugees, because she seems that
sort of person, a woman with a plan
and a heart and strong hands, ca-
pable. Atite and her son are safe,
and happiness is coming.
My fantasy brings tears to my
eyes. I know none of it will happen.
Atite will be in a refugee settlement
with her son, her wallet and commendation letter, for God only
knows how long. What I really wish
for Atite is what she wants – her
own country returned to her in one
piece, and she returned to it. /FT
B Y THE CONFLIC T IN