Horrors not forgotten; healing started
By HANNAH ROSS
THE HORROR of Martin Aguot Mawien's escape from Sudan will never be forgotten, but it may be healed somewhat by the birth of his second child.
This child, to be Lismore's newest Sudanese resident, is due to come into the world in two weeks and will be born with the assistance of staff at Lismore Base Hospital and the latest in medical care.
The circumstances will be very different to those under which Mr Mawien's first daughter was born nine years ago, in a hut in Sudan with only her grandmother to assist.
His wife Irene said being in Australia for the birth of her child made her feel safe and happy.
The Mawien family arrived in Lismore last September with the assistance of refugee support organisation Sanctuary Northern Rivers.
The families' arrival here marked the end of a terrifying chapter in their lives.
Mr Mawien said he ran for his life when his home and village were attacked in the early morning by Arab militia. Those who were not able to escape were either killed or captured and sold into slavery.
"People were just screaming and we had to just run with only the things we held in our hands," he said.
The family walked for two months, eventually making their way to Ethiopia and then on to Kenya, where they applied for refugee status. Their application was aided by the sponsorship of Sanctuary Northern Rivers.
Sanctuary president Michael Douglas said the application process was easier if refugees could claim a support network in Australia. Three weeks ago Mr Mawien was reunited with his brother and step mother, who have also come to Lismore with the assistance of Sanctuary.
On Saturday, Sanctuary was seeking assistance from others in the community, hosting a garage sale to raise funds to pay for flights and settlement support for refugees.