Name: Chris Jenkins SJ
Life: “I returned [a few months ago] to Sydney after a year in Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya, a camp of 8,000 souls, mainly Somalis and Sudanese, with a number of Ethiopians, Congolese and Ugandans. They have all fled violence, conflict and oppression of some kind in their home countries and are now supported by the United Nations refugee agency in the desert of the Rift Valley.
I worked in the camp as Education coordinator running a Programme for vulnerable girls and students with special needs. During the year we also began a tertiary distance learning diploma delivered on-line from 7 Jesuit Colleges.
I survived 12 months of heat, dust, bugs, scorpions and disease, sustained by the support and example of many refugees and co-workers and the many prayers of friends and family. It was tough but I would not have missed it for the world!
It is good to be back in Sydney, my hometown, after many years away. Before Africa, I was in our parishes in Adelaide, Brisbane and Sevenhill and have lived in Melbourne, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for Tertianship during my Jesuit life. It’s a privilege to be here in St Canice with its inner-city attractions and challenges so different from my last parish, Sevenhill, centred as it was in a vineyard in the beautiful Clare Valley of South Australia. There I looked after two parishes, each with four churches. Needless to say, I did a lot of driving!”