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Friday, November 23, 2012

There and back...again!

On short notice (just having returned from Uganda), I (Scott) was invited and agreed to attend the Planning Retreat of the South Sudan Team on the shores of Lake Victoria near Kampala.  One flight, four taxi rides, and an outboard motorboat ride later (next time I'll try to work in the camel), I found the South Sudan Team, hard at work - thinking through complicated questions of strategic planning for the coming year(s).  Again, I came to listen, observe, represent, and chime in on issues of policy and experience.    This is a team which living in a remote, harsh, and hot (!) place striving to serve a new nation with a fantastic diversity of skills.  Engineers dominate the team, but they are engineers adept at teaching the Bible, playing the guitar, or discussing ethics in addition to their obvious skills in making stuff work.  Others are investing their lives in health, education, and agriculture.  The challenges of living in South Sudan (Mundri) boggle the mind.  No grid electricity.  Only solar.  So, no air conditioning despite the consistent temps over 100 F.  Drinking water from a water bottle left on the kitchen table tastes like it has come out of the hot water tap.  It's not uncommon to hear any of five languages spoken in the market: Arabic, Moru, Swahili, English, or Somali.  Most of the men on the team study Arabic, while a few of the women study Moru.  

This team has been on the ground in Mundri for just under four years and what progress they've made.  They have a fruitful trusting relationship with their host denomination, the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS). They have tasteful housing, welcoming friends, vibrant church homes, appreciative partner schools (primary, secondary, theological), many new and refurbished water sources developed for the community…and a thriving volleyball league!   But they want more.  They want to develop public health interventions,  develop computer science centers, train more teachers, provide more medicine, raise up and sponsor students for professional training….it's exciting.  And it's very, very hard.
The South Sudan Team 
They need much more money.  For more housing (the Sudan Housing Fund) - currently in a puddle of red ink.  For infrastructure (like Internet service - the Sudan Operation Fund) - currently in a LAKE of red ink.  For a vehicle for the Bishop of the Mundri Diocese of the ECS…for computer training, sponsorship of students, short-term loans for small business start-ups, for drilling more water boreholes…there is so much which needs to be done….

And while one could feel despair at the enormity of the need, I feel thankful for this amazing team 

our dorm at the retreat

dinner with the team

1 comment:

Joanna said...

Thakns for the good report, Scott. We will be PRAYING with you for the South Sudan team and we are so thankful for what God is doing through/in/with them.