Kenya + 1 more

Ugandan Christians help stranded Kenyans

Families fleeing killing sprees in western Kenya over the border to Uganda have found their needs met by staff of a rural training centre - and friends in Britain

More than 600 Kenyans suddenly arrived in a small village in the foothills of Mt Elgon in eastern Uganda with nothing but the clothes on their back. Many had just witnessed brutal murders.

Alerted to the situation by CMS and Church Army coordinators in Nairobi, Davis Manana, the director of Bungokho Rural Development Centre , was soon on the scene to see how to help the villagers care for the refugees.

CMS mission partners Bob and Rosalind Arnold , who work at the centre, which is run by Church Army Africa, were shocked at what the refugees had been through.

"Many of them are grieving for their murdered relatives and friends and are traumatised by horrific events that they have witnessed and experienced," Bob reported.

"One man told Davis that he had lost five relatives who had been decapitated."

While the villagers of Bumbo have fertile soil, they only just manage to grow enough food for themselves. With so many more mouths to feed, they needed help.

"Even if the refugees had money, there is not enough food in the village, which one could buy, to feed over 600 extra people," said Bob.

It was clear people desperately needed food, cooking facilities and utensils, as well as blankets, spare clothes and soap.

Bob and Ros immediately emailed friends and family back in the UK for emergency funds to bolster a small grant sent from Nairobi and buy the supplies so desperately needed.

By the end of that week, after staff from the centre had spent hours bagging up the supplies, they were able to load up a specially-hired truck with emergency provisions for 110 families.

Davis, the centre director, had experience of distributing relief aid, the process was efficient and soon each family had a pack containing maize flour, beans, tea, sugar, oil, salt, soap, two cooking pots and more.

The team at Bungokho received feedback from Pastor Amos, the Church of Uganda pastor in Bumbo village, who said that the refugee families appreciated their well-chosen supplies.

But there was also news that a further 60 families had arrived after the initial influx. They too were desperate for help.

"We are struggling to find time to buy and pack up more supplies," said Bob.