HomeAuthor Archives: Br. Bill Firman

Author Archives: Br. Bill Firman

133. Food For The People

Photo_Agric Riimenze 2014 women at work

Amid all the unrest and conflict in South Sudan, progress continues in many parts of the country. Thanks to very generous support from Caritas Austria in partnership with Solidarity with South Sudan, our agricultural programme in Riimenze is making a great difference to the ability of the people to feed themselves. During the long years of war, many agricultural skills ...

Read More »

132. The Folly of Fighting

Man displaced by conflict in South Sudan builds shelter

Yesterday, I saw a group of South Sudanese, relaxed and laughing, and looking very much at ease, in a grassy park beside the road. They looked secure and confident.  There were four of them, and four cars parked next to them – not the latest cars but typical cars for young men owning their first vehicles. The problems of South ...

Read More »

131 Make Me Stronger

A boy brushes his teeth as his mother provides encouragement in a camp for internally displaced families in Yei, South Sudan. The camp holds Nuer families who took refuge there in December 2013 after a political dispute within the country's ruling party quickly fractured the young nation along ethnic and tribal lines. The ACT Alliance is providing psycho-social services in the camp, including safe places for children to enjoy being children.

The conflict in South Sudan grinds on pointlessly as Easter approaches. I don’t know why but the words of the philosopher and novelist, Albert Camus, come to mind: ‘What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger’. Yes, adversity can make survivors stronger and better able to cope with subsequent difficulties but that is not much consolation for those who are killed. ...

Read More »

A Healthy Future

Mid-wifery students with Sr Felistus

Recently, Fr Joseph and I drove from Juba to Yambio, then on to Wau, a journey of two legs, each of about 400 kms, for a Board meeting of our Catholic Health Training Institute (CHTI). The journey to Yambio took 13 hours – longer than usual caused by a closed bridge and water too deep to cross. In Yambio we ...

Read More »

Hold my Heart

Happy at Work

Two Spanish visitors and I, guided by Sr Dorothy from New Zealand, Director of our Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau, recently visited the wards of the Wau Teaching Hospital as well as the St Daniel Comboni Catholic Hospital where our registered nurse students are on clinical placement. I had visited these facilities before. I found it simply wonderful to ...

Read More »

North and South

Students from Nuba Mountains

Reflections from Brother Bill Firman, FSC -Director of Education 12 April 2012 The Sudan Tribune on April 9th reported as follows: ‘The Sudanese authorities at Khartoum airport on Monday prevented around 200 southern Sudanese from boarding their planes saying they can only do so now using travel documents issued by Juba. Paul Madut, a southerner at the airport, said he ...

Read More »

Affirmative Action

Br Geoffrey Kennewell FSC – Teacher Training Yambio

‘Which way to go?’ asks the Cheshire Puss in Alice in Wonderland. ‘Any direction is better than no direction’ comes back the reply. South Sudan is not quite like that but one does wonder, at times, exactly where the country is heading. The president, Salva Kiir, is reportedly very definite that he does not want to take the country back ...

Read More »

88. Relishing Ritual

New priests and deacon

December 8th, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, established a new personal record for me – and, I suspect, many others. Previously the longest continuous time I had been in Church was five and quarter hours in Malakal for the Easter Vigil where there were 400 baptisms and 200 confirmations. This time there were five new priests to be ordained for ...

Read More »

87. Time for God


On Monday morning, Sisters Rosa and Joana, and I, drove to Makpandu to the Congolese refugee camp where there are many desperately poor people. We joined them in 7:00am prayer in their grass-roofed church with rough-cut poles for support, construction-engineered not by calculation and precision but by the accumulated, practical skills of people who have learned how to cope and ...

Read More »

86. Waving a Flag of Hope

Sr. Felistus and students

The past three weeks have kept me pleasantly busy teaching Ethics, and also English, to thirty-three young women and men who each aspire to become a registered nurse or midwife in South Sudan. They constitute the third group, enrolled from widespread regions of South Sudan, taken into Catholic Health Training Institute (CHTI) in Wau. They come with hope and enthusiasm ...

Read More »