With a new year just now around the corner, I am thinking of the people I’ve seen. Of people who’ve kindly invited, a moment of togetherness where we’ve been. 

It’s simply the case that I’m grateful, for the way we’ve connected and talked. To the people who’ve showed me the way, as we’ve laughed or have cried as we’ve walked.

I’m grateful to Hussein Ibrahim, who showed the culture of a community that had fled…

Hussein Ibrahim, an internally displaced person from the Somali region, demonstrates how the Oromo people make beehives by carving out logs of wood, to be hung in trees. Ibrahim lives in the Burka Dare IDP site, Ethiopia. © Albin Hillert

to the children who led the way to the river

Two Oromo children walk towards the river dry near Burka Dare IDP site in Seweyna woreda (administrative unit), Bale Zone, Ethiopia. © Albin Hillert

though what we saw was a dry riverbed.

A group of Oromo walk on the dry riverbed near Burka Dare IDP site. © Albin Hillert

To those who rise up in hope and in spirit…

A young girl reaches toward Jerusalem, holding a palm leaf cross, as on Palm Sunday, thousands gathered and marched from the Mount of Olives down to the Old City of Jerusalem. © Albin Hillert

who amid what’s a world full of challenges

Furniture maker Ali Dana runs a small shop in the Tulkarem refugee camp. The camp is integrated into the city, yet the refugees remain in a specific geographical area, as they otherwise risk losing their status as refugees, originally from Jaffa or other parts of present-day Israel, as they were forced to flee in 1948. © Albin Hillert

remember to proclaim who they are,

Fences mark off the area, as Carey Ballenger leads an Easter Sunday sunrise service at Jabal Allah (God’s Mountain) on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, held by the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer (English-speaking congregation). © Albin Hillert

and for the chance to see glimpses of life

A woman pumps water at one of the Gado refugee camps water points. © Albin Hillert

as it’s lived here at home or afar.

Two young girls walk through the Minawao camp for Nigerian refugees, located in the Far North region of Cameroon. © Albin Hillert

Of the small moments…

CAR refugee Mousa Usmanou pauses work in his farmstead in the Borgop refugee camp, Cameroon. © Albin Hillert

and of the big ones,

14-year-old CAR refugee Mariamou takes her fellow students through an exercise at the Ecole Publique de Borgop’ (Public School of Borgop), where children participate in ‘the Listening Club’, as today painter and consulting artist Dogari Samson leads a specific eight-day intervention to teach the children how to make drawings with images and messages of peace. © Albin Hillert

as the young ones are setting the tone.

For the chance to wind down and recharge then, in a place that feels almost like home.

I’m grateful if I can contribute, if only through means that are small…

Thomas Freeman, a diabetic patient at Ganta Hospital, rests in the arms of his caretaker Maibee Freeman. Located in Nimba county, the Ganta United Methodist Hospital serves tens of thousands of patients each year. © Albin Hillert

when people are praying through hardship

A man raises his arms in prayer suring Sunday service at the Finfinne Oromo Mekane Yesus Congregation of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, Ethiopia. The service takes place on the first Sunday following political turmoil in the country, claiming dozens of lives. © Albin Hillert

and see there’s a way after all.

Congregants rise to sing and pray. © Albin Hillert

I’m grateful to have not been run over…

A group of students at Ricks Institute play football in the schoolyard. © Albin Hillert

trying to be a fly on the wall.

Students gather to receive a hot meal during recess. Started as a school for internally displaced children during the First Liberian Civil War, Mother Tegeste Stewart Apostolic Pentecostal Mission School in Montserrado county, Liberia, currently teaches 486 students from kindergarten up through 12th grade. © Albin Hillert

And I’m grateful to those who are marching…

Faith-based participants join in as thousands upon thousands of people march through the streets of central Madrid as part of a public contribution to the United Nations climate meeting COP25, urging decision-makers to take action for climate justice. © Albin Hillert

to those who are still standing tall 

An indigenous woman holds a sign reading “Respect, Rights, Protect the Amazon,” at COP25. © Albin Hillert

to those who give space to each other

Press conference with Greta Thunberg and Fridays for Future, at COP25 in Madrid. “My story is already well known, so we are lending our voices today to others, whose stories need to be heard,” said Greta Thunberg, introducing other young climate activists to share testimonies from around the world. © Albin Hillert

claiming justice for Earth and for all.

As COP25 is about to draw to a close, hundreds of young people mobilize through Fridays for Future in a strike for the climate, inside and outside the venue of COP25 in Madrid, calling for urgent action for climate justice. © Albin Hillert

I’m grateful for landscape that’s frozen, where frost falls and trees are aglow…

Christmas. Frost. Home. © Albin Hillert

That Christmas is now to be dreamt of, and felt here at home in the snow. 

Merry Christmas, and talk soon,