old man
Okech Morris, like Bol (pictured), was forced to flee his home in South Sudan to a camp in Uganda. Photo: CE/ECHO/Malini Morzaria

New hope for an old man

“As the old saying goes, I have now moved from grass to grace.”

“I would rather die together with my family members in Sudan than come to Uganda to bear all this burden.”

The words of Okech Morris, an older South Sudanese man who fled to a refugee camp in Uganda in 2017, are heartbreaking.

Morris arrived in Uganda alone as he lost his wife in the war and was separated from his adult children.  After arriving in Palabek settlement with no close relatives to take care of him, he relied on the kindness of his neighbours in the camp to survive.  

His neighbours gave him food and water and provided him with a small tent – formerly used as their kitchen – to sleep in. When it rained, Morris would sit up all night because the roof leaked, and the water would damage the few belongings and food items that he had. He suffered from cold, insecurity and cramped quarters. The situation continued like this for weeks and months. His mood was understandably dark.

Supported by the Stop Famine Together fundraising campaign, Humanitarian Coalition member Canadian Lutheran World Relief was working in the camp, and recognized Morris’ need for assistance. A team of local young people built him a semi-permanent two-roomed house with fitted doors, windows and iron sheet roofing.

Along with increased privacy and comfort, he has a greater sense of safety and security.

And his spirits have lifted. Expressing his gratitude to those who have brought hope back into his life, he says, “As the old saying goes, I have now moved from grass to grace.”