Noeleen Loughran, formerly Main Street, Emyvale, has been spending her life helping
and supporting scores of displaced people in Africa and at the moment she is working
in the world's largest refugee camp with the Holy Spirit sisters and the Divine Word
Missionaries. She is in a fairly safe environment but one that demands a lot of work,
care and devotion to deal with the situation there. She has sent me the script below
describing her life there and what needs to be done and what she is doing to help.
Many will have heard her describe her life on Northern Sound Radio this week and
one can but marvel at her courage and regard for the people to whom she is administering
medical and emotional support. You can assist her with her work by donating to her
account in Emyvale District Credit Union. We send our best wishes for Christmas and
always to Noeleen and hope that she has a happy and peaceful Season and that 2018
will bring her great gratification for the wonderful work she does.
Hello Everyone: I hope this finds all of you very well and in good health. I stay
here and live on the outskirts of now the world’s largest refugee camp. There are
282,000 people here, all of who have ran here seeking shelter from the ongoing violence
with South Sudan and also seeking food assistance. I work daily among the people
who are all severely sick and tarumatised from the violence and suffering malnutrition.
There are so many illnesses at time I am too much overwhelmed. The people here in
the camp are very relieved to be here. Now they are safe from violence. But although
they present with smiles of happiness, underneath there is a great emotional pain.
Most have lost many of their family, they have lost their homes, their future and
their hope. Their aspirations of a future is somewhat gone, they do not believe there
is a future for them any longer. When you greet them they are full of smiles and
gratitude but when you ask them ‘How was life for you in your village?’ then the
tears run off their faces. The people here came mostly from a town called Yei. I don’t
know if you remember but last year Fr. John Skinnader wrote to you of the killing
of Sr. Veronica in May 2016. Sr. Veronica was a very special lady. A doctor, she
helped so many here. The night she was killed she had taken a dying lady to the hospital,
which was saved but she herself was killed on the way back home. The people of Yei
suffered great torture at that time and when she was killed they all decided that
it was now time to leave. it is most difficult for me to describe to you all the needs
and plight of the people here. It is like a never ending story. I wish all of you
a very very happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas and do not forget that you are
all in my prayers and thoughts. Noeleen
A Cootehill man, John Freeman, has paid a visit to the area of Africa where Noeleen
is stationed and has sent me this news: my name in John Freeman from Cootehill, County
Cavan. On the 13th Dec 2017 i travelled to Kenya to visit a primary school i helped
to build in a slum in Kisumu, Kenya and see the children and their families i sponsor.
I also went to see Noeleen for a few days and she took me to BIDIBIDI refugee camp
where i was able to help the lady in one of the attached photos called JACKI. Her
husband has been shot dead and the lady was also very sick. Noeleen provided her
with medicine and i got her clothes and food for herself and her 2 small children.
We made that lady very happy that day. But there are many thousands like her who
Noeleen would love other people to come and visit her even for a few days to help
her and give her much needed moral support. I will be going back to see her sometime
in 2018. I was sitting beside her when she did the Northern Sound interview and
she mentioned me being there. I sent you also a photo of Fr. John saying mass. I
also sent you a photo of the Catholic Church in the BIDIBIDI camp. I didn't get to
meet Fr. John in South Sudan as he was far away at his new parish. I will meet him
soon here in Ireland and have a good chat about the situation both he and Noeleen
are facing. Happy New Year to you. God bless, John Freeman
March 7th 2018: Dear Peadar and all in Emyvale and wider Community
I can hardly believe it is March already, time seems to go so quickly here. I travel
to the camp every second day to treat the people. The camp is only a short distance
away but travelling is difficult and the roads are dangerous. It takes me 1 and
a half hours to go just a small distance. There was a great drought there for many
weeks but thank God the rains have come here and we now have water again, but not
in the camp, no rain has come there yet. It is a very dry, hot and arid place. We
still have no power and the place that I stay has no solar system but I am hoping
to be able to get one at some stage, I use just a
small lamp for moving around at night. But I don't go out after dark here, It is
not safe to do so. Life in the camp remains difficult and these past 2 months have
been very harsh for the people. Their food rations have been cut back and with very
little water allowed per family. They are going to open another camp to deal with
the steady arrival of more refugees. Some have tried to flee back home in search
of food but unfortunately did not make it.
The people of the camp are almost all seriously sick and medicine is extremely hard
to get. I am lucky because I am sending orders to the cities and the suppliers then
put the medicine on buses, which travel over night, and so I have them the next day.
But Government officials have cut some services from travelling over night because
of High-jacking and loss of life. The South Sudanese have no money for medicine
so thank God so far I have been able to supply those of the camp with medicine. The
people rarely have a priest for Sunday Mass but they have prayers which can last
anything up to 3 hours. Last Sunday one of their "prayers of the Faithful" was asking
God to ask the people of the outside world not to forget them. The people are really
suffering in all parts here.
I myself am doing well, I had a bad case of high blood pressure recently which saw
me sick for 4 days in bed but I am fine now.
I hope you are all well, I think of you very often, and am sorry to hear your having
such a cold snap of weather. We don't have that problem here. I have to wear hats
and scarves on my head to stop the burning sun of up to 50 degrees from burning me.
I hope to write soon again and will be keeping you all in thought and Prayers.