For three years, I have been with the refugees who have gone underground. They fled by the thousands at night, in the rain, in the cold mist of the mountain tops. They hardly brought anything except their children. They prefer to live in the jungle, lacking almost everything, but free. There are times when we need more freedom than we need rice. There are perhaps 30,000 to 40,000 of them.
My family doesn’t say anything. They accept it. “They keep these things in their hearts,” like all the families of missionaries. That’s undoubtedly why their far-off sons can do something. The flowers and the fruits bud forth, but the root is thousands of miles away from there.
As a priest, I am alone. But there are all the people. Because of the war, I live very close to them. It is they who made my house, just like one of theirs: a rectangle of 8 x 6 m (26 x 20 ft.), with a dirt floor, a roof of leaves, walls of bamboo… Often I work with them. They know that I need them for food, for lodging, for protecting me in an emergency. In exchange, when the occasion presents itself, I am the nurse, the teacher, and I try to give them the Lord “always more abundantly.”
Interview of Blessed Jean Wauthier
for the review Famille Éducatrice, November 1966