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Letters From South Sudan

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 ...

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85. We Can Make a Difference

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Enormous resources have been poured into South Sudan since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in January, 2005. What signs of genuine progress are there among the ordinary people as a result of this? Is there any evidence that there is more opportunity emerging for the people generally? Some things are very noticeable: more school buildings, more vehicles, more variety ...

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84. Companions on the Journey

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Solidarity with South Sudan (SSS) is a deliberately chosen name. After a recent visit to South Sudan, SSS Board member, Brother Jorge Gallardo, who has been involved in the project from the beginning, wrote: Just after the signing of the CPA, the Bishops Conference of Southern Sudan appealed to the leaders of Religious Institutes in Rome for help. The Union ...

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83. Worrying Times

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South Sudan has negotiated elections and the referendum, and achieved independence, with remarkable clam and stability. The fears of outbreaks of violence and lawlessness have been largely unfounded and the country has moved smoothly to becoming the world’s newest nation. There has been some inflation in prices and some shortages, especially in northern regions, but one can only say we ...

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82. Simple but Strong

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There was no priest available for mass last Sunday morning. So the communion service was led by the parish catechists. Gabriel, the senior catechist, preached the homily. He is known to be a man of strong faith and simple devotion to the Church he has served, for many years, including the years of war. The parish now has an active ...

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81. How Big is Your World?

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Here I sit in a rural setting in a somewhat remote part of Southern Sudan when two recent events, totally unrelated, got me thinking about the world in which we live. The first was a thoughtful email from one of my confreres in Australia informing me of the death of the captain of the school cricket team in which we ...

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80. Rain on the Roof

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It is only the relatively modern houses in South Sudan, which have galvanised iron or zinc-aluminium roofs. Most people still live in the traditional grass-roof tukuls. Tiled or slate roofs may exist somewhere but I don’t recall seeing them although I have seen roofs that are made from concrete. Those who live in tukuls with grass roofs never hear the ...

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79. Among the People

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The woman looked very worried. It was 6:30pm on a Saturday evening. I was in our outdoor kitchen – the only kitchen – of our Riimenze house preparing the evening meal when a woman carrying her small child appeared before me. I called Sr Joana who went immediately to her ‘clinic’ to dress the wounds on the hands of this ...

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78. Healing Hands

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I went ‘under the surgeons’ knife this week’. No it was not a major situation but simply the removal of an unsightly, non-cancerous lipoma on my neck. I had shown it to Sr Maria Martinelli, a surgeon who has been the leader of the Health Training section of Solidarity with South Sudan, who simply remarked: ‘It’s a lipoma. I’ll remove ...

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77. Education in South Sudan

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I have come to realise that a recurring question jumps into my mind almost every time I see little urchins happily running around the muddy streets of Malakal. They often wave gaily to me and occasionally call out ‘kawadja’ (white man) with big smiles on their faces. Do they think the whole world is like this? ‘Ignorance is bliss’ an ...

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