From Kakuma to Adjumani, reflection from Fr Lasatha, SJ

12 February 2023|Paula Casado Aguirregabira

Related: Kenya, Pastoral, Uganda

Father Lasantha Deadrew, SJ, has been accompanying refugees under the JRS flag for many years now. His masses in the camps are attended by hundreds and they can last for hours without people getting bored of his preaching.

His magnetism and passion for the Word of God and for the mission of JRS is easy to see, to breath, and to feel.  

 After years of service to refugees in Kakuma Refugee Camp (northern Kenya), Fr Lasantha moved station in early 2023. He has been transferred to Adjumani Settlement (northern Uganda) where he will lead the Pastoral department.  

 He shared some words with us as a reflection of the time devoted to refugees through JRS and the new realities he is dealing with now: 


Adjumani has its own uniqueness and beauty. I see the similarities and differences with my first JRS mission in Kakuma, northern Kenya.  

The place is very dusty as the constructions of roads are on. It is warm, same as Kakuma. Adjumani is a settlement, and Uganda as a nation is friendlier towards refugees, refugees and host communities live side by side, they are difficult to identify. Here we have only South Sudanese refugees and mainly from Madi tribe, whereas there were refugees from 21 countries in Kakuma.  

Adjumani is a big city compared to Kakuma, with a mix population of poor and very poor people (there is a few from the middle class who travel in their own vehicles, even ladies riding motorcycles) but all are with broad smiles as it is usual in Africa.

People gathering in dozens around the church to hear Fr Lasantha's preaching
People gathering in dozens around the church to hear Fr Lasantha’s preaching

As I hear, the host community and refugees live in peace and the host community, too, is predominantly made up of people of the Madi tribe.  

The people from both the communities are religious minded
and have great respect for priests. Even a daily morning mass in the parish has an attendance of around 200 and I am amazed by the
devotion they have for Word of God.  

More and more I am convinced of the words of Jesus in the Lucan Gospel: “Blessed are the poor and Kingdom
of God belongs to them.

Lord, give me the grace to accompany these beloved of yours with compassion and with the same passion of Fr. Arrupe
Fr Lasantha Deabrew, SJ

These wise and kind words were shared by Fr Lasantha Deabrew, SJ. 

 Thank you, father, for the work done. Thank you for always being at the service of the most vulnerable. In Kakuma, in Adjumani, or wherever life takes you.