Violence ripped Rachel’s bright future from her fingertips. At just 19 years old, she lost her family, her home, and everything she owned.
Rachel shares a one-bedroom house with her six-person family in Uganda. But it’s not their home—home lies across the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A year ago, rebels violently raped and held her mother for ransom. Trying to defend her, Rachel’s father was severely beaten.
“They burned our crops and killed our cows, so we had nothing to support ourselves with,” said Rachel.
With her father not able to work anymore, Rachel worked even harder to support her family and get her mother back. But they feared the worst: her mother was most likely dead already.
“The rebels came again and killed my uncle, three of my aunts, and both of my grandparents. My siblings and I had taken my father to the hospital, so we were OK,” Rachel continued.
“If we went back home, we would be killed.”
Rachel and her family knew they had to leave immediately, and they started off on foot into the unknown.
After crossing the border, Rachel and her family were taken to one of the largest and most crowded refugee settlements in Uganda.
After a few days in the new arrivals compound, Rachel, her father, and her siblings were given a heavy tarp and a small plot of land on the side of a hill.
This was their new home.
As heart-wrenching as Rachel’s past is, it’s even worse now. She may not survive the coming months.
Rachel immediately got to work planting seeds to grow a small crop and sell it at the settlement’s markets. With this meager income, she buys the rice and beans that her family survives on.
During one of these trips to the market came a bittersweet miracle.
“I saw a face that I recognized, and I said to my dad, ‘Doesn’t she look like Mom?’ He told me it couldn’t be her because she was dead. I walked up to the lady to get a closer look, and it was my mom. But she didn’t recognize me.”
Rachel’s mother now lives with them again, but clouded by the trauma, she doesn’t speak to or recognize her family.
With another mouth to feed, Rachel must work even harder to feed her family.
“Neither of my parents can do much for the family, so everything falls on my shoulders.”
“I still believe in God,” Rachel said with a smile. “One day He will give me my parents back; I believe He will. I hope to be able to leave the settlement one day. I want to go to university.”
Like on the Israelites’ journey from Egypt, faith gives Rachel the strength to continue despite present suffering and an unknown future.
Please help ease the suffering of refugees like Rachel.