Manna in Uganda


Mothers and children walked day and night for 40 miles with little to eat to flee violence. Safe, but famished, they are grateful to receive clean water to drink and packs of high-energy biscuits.

Unzia Betty, a 37-year-old widow from South Sudan, walked for three days to reach safety in Uganda with 10 children – five of her own and her late sister’s five.

 ‘’Our house was burnt, and we did not feel safe any more,” she explains. As they walked, they ate just roasted corn."The children were sick and eventually got tired of the maize, but I had nothing else to give them.”

After she registered at the Elegu refugee collection center at the South Sudan-Uganda border, Unzia Betty and the children received four packets each of high energy biscuits and hungrily tore into them. The biscuits, which seem like manna from heaven to refugees, contain wheat flour, vegetable shortening, sugar, soy flour, milk powder, salt, calcium and other nutrients, according to the World Food Program, which provides them.

World Vision staffer Hope Lilly Abio says more than 1,000 packs of biscuits are distributed daily at the collection center. It’s a moment of “joy and relief” when the refugees, in particular children, are able to relax and eat.

Most of the South Sudan refugees who register at Elegu say they have lost all their property back home. Others are simply fleeing in fear of fresh reprisal attacks.

Photo©2015 World Vision, Ilana Rose

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