Through the eyes of children: Anthony’s story (Part 1 of 5)

This is Part 1 of a 5-part series of stories told from the perspective of refugee children. The stories are based off the lives of actual refugee children, but names and some details have been changed for privacy. The mission of Abba’s House is to welcome children like these into our care. Scripture quotations are NIV.

Anthony’s story (CAR/Cameroon)

I was just 1 year old when I fled with my parents from Central African Republic (CAR) to Cameroon. Violence between Muslims and Christians broke out in my country in 2013, and in the end, thousands like my family were forced out of CAR. Many of us ended up in refugee camps. Although Cameroon is the only place I can remember, it doesn’t feel like my home.

Everything in my life changed when we arrived in Cameroon. We once lived a comfortable life but now we don’t even have access to enough food or basic life necessities. Every two weeks we have to stand in long lines to pick up our food ration from the United Nations people who visit the camp. About two years ago, the started to halve the rations because they got low on funding. I am often hungry.

The worst part of leaving CAR was that we left behind our cows. My tribe, the Fulani, have been herders for generations. Pasturing cattle is our livelihood and passion. Now, we don’t have any cows to tend to. I never thought I would miss the cows as much as I do.

Besides having limited access to food, it is also much harder to get medical treatment. Last year my knees swelled up so big I couldn’t even walk! So my grandmother took me back into CAR to a mission hospital run by Christian doctors and nurses. To get there we had to deal with border-crossing officers and pay heavy fees. I ended up staying at the hospital with my grandmother for three months, and during that time I never saw my own mother or siblings, as they could not afford to make the trip. Even though I am young and have suffered many things, I’m thankful for medical people who take care of refugees.

 

Facts about CAR refugees in Cameroon [1]:

  • CAR nationals constitute the largest refugee population in Cameroon, about 260,000 refugees. Learn more here.
  • The number of CAR refugees in Cameroon has almost tripled in the past 3 years.
  • The crisis of refugees in eastern Cameroon, which houses CAR refugees, has been eclipsed by the crisis of Nigerian refugees entering from the north. The CAR refugee crisis is suffering from a lack of funding and attention.

We acknowledge that God cares for every member of his creation, human or beast. If he cares for animals so, how much more does he care for children? “For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.” – Psalm 50:10

[1] UNHCR data as of 31 May 2018

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