Thursday after Ash Wednesday, 15th February

Lenten Journeys

Thursday after Ash Wednesday, 15th February

Qusai encounters generosity in the company of a stranger.

15 February 2018

Thursday after Ash Wednesday, 15th February

From Today’s First Mass Reading:

“The Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to make your own.”
Deuteronomy 30:15-20

As we journey through Lent, we will introduce you to a number of refugees that JRS accompanies. We invite you to walk with them and be present with them as they seek a safe land in which to settle.


Qusai’s Story

In this first week of Lent, we introduce you to Quasi, who was accompanied by staff and volunteers from JRS Europe as he journeyed across land and sea in search of safety.

Once Qusai had decided to travel to Greece, he sought the help of Ahmed who would aid him in making the crossing, as Qusai’s condition made it near impossible to do alone. He paid US$2000 to the smugglers for his and Ahmed’s place in the boat. Together with around 45 others they were taken to an isolated place on the Turkish coast where the smugglers assured the refugees: “We care for your lives so much. This boat is made in Italy, it is a very good one, because I care for you.” Qusai could not afford to pay to have his wheelchair to be taken across and so it was thrown in the sea.

I wondered what would happen to me if the boat capsized in the freezing water. I thought, maybe I’ll make it, maybe not. I don’t care, this is my last chance, no way back, no need to be scared.

After three and a half hours, much of which was spent going round in circles, the boat reached the Greek island of Nera and limped to the shore unseen. However, whilst being carried across the rocks, the man holding Qusai slipped resulting in Qusai’s brittle bones breaking in two places in his leg.

I screamed very loud. They laid me on the rocks and covered me with life jackets to warm me up.


When we hear stories like Qusai’s the scale of the suffering can seem so great that we wonder what we can possibly do to make a difference.  Sometimes experiencing that sense of helplessness is part of our act of solidarity with those we are accompanying.  But it is also worth remembering that even small things can begin to create positive change and make society more welcoming and compassionate towards refugees.

Throughout Lent, we will invite you to #Do1Thing each day to make a difference.


Today’s #Do1Thing is an easy way raise money to help JRS UK support refugees.  If you do most of your shopping now online, you could help JRS raise funds while you shop.

Give as you Live is an online fundraising platform allowing users to shop at over 4,200 online stores (including Amazon, eBay, Sainsbury’s John Lewis and Expedia) and raise funds for charity while you shop.

How does it work?
Sign up to Give as you Live and each time you make an online purchase a percentage of your shopping bill will be donated to us. Simple.

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Image credits: A boat arriving into the shore of Lesbos, taken by Darrin Zammit Lupi

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Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street, London E1W 2QT

020 7488 7310

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