By Kiernan Wright
QUITO, Ecuador - At 9 o'clock on a Tuesday morning, Alba Silva, pastor at Quito Mennonite Church and a worker in the church's MCC-supported refugee project, opens a large metal gate, welcoming about 20 people waiting outside. She distributes numbered slips of paper as people file into the church's courtyard.
Within minutes, a volunteer brings coffee and cookies. The sun begins creeping over the walls, warming the chilly air.
By Rachel Bergen and Linda Espenshade
Agnès Ntumba remembers the day her husband and seven children fled the violence that took over their village in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo).
“I saw people being killed. They were coming to kill us, and we had to escape,” Ntumba recalled.
Sharing the pain of loss
By Rachel Bergen
Imagine the pain of losing a child to war, compounded by not having a safe space to express grief.
This is Claudia Antonovna Ushakova's story. Her son, a soldier in the Ukrainian army, died in combat at the beginning of the war in 2014.
The conflict began in early 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea in southern Ukraine. Unrest spread, intensifying from May through November 2014 as waves of people fled fighting in the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts (provinces), which share a border with Russia.
Many Somali refugee families returning home after years in refugee camps lack basic items, like blankets and school supplies.
This past summer, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) shipped 10,120 school kits and 2,930 comforters to Somalia. They were distributed by Lutheran World Federation (LWF), an MCC partner, at five schools in Kismayo, the capital of Jubaland State.
By Rachel Bergen
PIETERMARITZBURG, South Africa - Pastor Samson Matabaro waves at people he passes walking down the streets of Pietermaritzburg and seems to know everyone's name and history. As he makes his way through Little Addis and Little Harare, named for the number of Ethiopians and Zimbabweans populating the areas, he offers a bit of welcome in a country that isn't always hospitable to foreigners seeking asylum.