More than four months have passed since the first positive case of COVID-19 was reported here in Rwanda. On the one hand, it is normal that a new disease, which spreads with such incredible speed, should scare all humanity. But on the other hand, with an insightful glance, it is possible to recognize some positive aspects in all of this.
In the refugee camp, this time has helped us rediscover an element that is common to all human beings: we are all created in the image of God. Together we have come to understand that the poor, the rich as well as political, administrative and religious authorities are all on an equal footing in their mutual concern to protect our common good, namely, that of good health for all. We are responsible for each other and we are called to defend the lives of our brothers and sisters as well as our own life.
This period of health and economic crisis also makes us think of a possible transformative movement from individualism to positive altruism … a movement that will enable us to say that we are well only when our neighbour is also well; a movement in which we desire the same good health for our neighbour as we enjoy. This is a positive interdependence that this pandemic should inspire in us.
During this difficult time, we have also seen people who carry their scars with dignity, people who have suffered but continue to smile, people who suffer from shortages of every kind but are still kind, people who are disappointed but continue to reveal their good hearts.
All this makes me understand that people condemned to live in the harshest conditions often become the most beautiful people.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who collaborates in our lives here at Camp Mahama during this COVID19 period, especially the FamVin Alliance for the homeless.
Father Henri Matsinga CM, Rwanda
This article was originally published as part of the series “Lessons Learned During the Pandemic” in the Famvin website.